View and Apply for Train Dispatcher Jobs.

Find out how you can land a job as train dispatcher in the railroad industry. Learn what a train dispatcher does, how to obtain train dispatcher training and understand the train dispatcher salary strucutre.

Like any other transportation dispatcher, a train dispatcher needs to pay attention to detail. A dispatcher position can be high stress. For larger railroads, dispatchers generally work in centralized locations, monitoring several trains at one time.

Train Dispatcher Job Description

A railway dispatcher directs and monitors the movements of all trains within a defined territory, much as an air traffic controller does with planes.

A dispatcher must be have comprehensive computer knowledge; familiarity with assigned territory; knowledge in the use of timetables and schedules; the ability to communicate with train crews via satellite and/or two-way radios in an effective and clear manner; excellent reading comprehension; and be able to multi-task. Since dispatchers play a safety role, they must submit to regular drug screening.

Train Dispatcher Training

A college degree in transportation, logistics, or engineering is preferred for dispatchers, but is not necessary. Larger railroads, such as BNSF and Union Pacific, offer training programs for dispatchers, covering safety, train operations and information systems. Training courses and classes are also available at many community colleges throughout the United States. Employers will look at previous dispatching experience, such as air traffic controllers or truck line dispatchers in place of a degree, although dispatcher training for the railroad is still required.

Dispatcher Salary

Dispatchers-in-training will generally receive a base wage, with a raise at the end of successful completion of the training period. Of course, this amount varies depending on previous experience, and the size of the railroad and territory assigned. Dispatchers with Union Pacific Railroad can make over $5000 a month.

Like most railroad jobs, dispatchers do not work a 9 to 5 schedule. Beginning dispatchers are usually placed on the 'extra board' until a permanent position becomes available. Permanent positions are then offered first to those "extras" with the most seniority.

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