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5 Skills That Every Professional Railroad Dispatcher Should Have

From checking traffic signals to communicating with train drivers, railroad dispatchers have various responsibilities. They work hard to ensure that the movement of railroad passengers as well as freight is smooth and efficient.


The profession of a railroad dispatcher demands focus, hard work and patience to succeed. There is no scope for mistakes. They have to monitor train movement, handle stressful situations, emergencies, departure and the arrival of trains.

In this column, we have compiled a list of skills that are essential for a professional railroad dispatcher. So, let’s move a step ahead and quickly go through this list of skills that makes train dispatchers successful in their workplace.



1. Knowledge of train movement – dispatchers should be highly skilled and aware of their responsibilities for ensuring safe train movement. Job responsibilities include completing the documentation work, communicating with appropriate personnel and monitoring the conditions that might affect train movement. There are several factors that are responsible for the uninterrupted flow of train movement. A dispatcher has to go through all the factors before its arrival and departure.


2. Federal safety rules - there are a set of guidelines, rules and regulations for the railroads. A dispatcher should have knowledge about the federal safety rules and the guidelines of the company. This will enable them to make decisions that comply with all the rules. Also, when things are done according to the guidelines, it ensures safety.


3. Handling an emergency – one of the major concerns of the railroad is handling emergency situations. There are some sudden happenings that may result in the loss of human lives or property. Dispatchers are trained to avoid such situations and in case a sudden situation arises, handling it with ease is a major task. Dispatchers should know the emergency protocols, skilled in crisis and emergency situations, and monitor the emergency alarm. Sometimes they have to be quick to respond to emergency calls and take instant decisions for public safety.


4. Right track usage – dispatchers should have knowledge about the different types of tracks, their uses and maintenance update. As we know, there are various railway tracks, but a train moves on a particular track. It is because dispatchers coordinate with the train crew and maintenance department to ensure the right, safe tracks are used.


5. Technological advancement – technology helps dispatchers and makes their work easier. It is essential for every dispatcher to be tech-friendly so they can use the various dispatching software, CAD and work efficiently to deliver better services. From communicating with various staff members and crew to monitoring the train movement, every task requires technical knowledge.


The final word


A railroad dispatcher is a railroad employee who ensures safe, smooth rail operations. A dispatcher should have all the skills mentioned above to perform his job better. It is a tough but extremely important job that only requires skilled, experienced and trained people.


You can rely on RailRCS for professional GCOR and NORAC-qualified train dispatchers. All our railroad dispatchers have gone through a rigorous railroad dispatcher training program to provide exceptional services.

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