Train Dispatcher

Juggle the train schedules to make sure they reach their destination.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $76,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Train Dispatchers do?

Did you like to play with toy trains and electric models when you were a kid? There’s something so alluring about the power and freedom that they represent, the sheer joy of moving quickly from place to place. The Train Dispatcher takes this love and turns it into a job.

As a Train Dispatcher, you’re in charge of making sure that trains get where they’re going safely and efficiently. Using sophisticated computer systems and communication equipment, you keep the rails running smoothly.

Trains are fast, cost-effective ways to move large numbers of people and goods between points. Unfortunately, the nature of rail travel is such that only one train can occupy a given section of track at any given time. The Train Dispatcher’s primary daily task is to keep trains running safely and on time on unoccupied tracks. It’s like juggling, but with trains.

You have a detailed understanding of your coverage area, knowing where the switches, passes, bridges, and tunnels are. You also know the habits and skills of the various Engineers you work with. Balancing these elements in your head, while always keeping the schedule in mind, forms the basis for how you do your job.

Needless to say, communications skills are the most important thing you need for this job. You’re in constant contact with the trains under your watch, and also work closely with a team of professionals inside the dispatch office. Taking orders from a Supervisor and coordinating your activities with Safety Officers and other personnel are part your daily routine.

There may also be times when you work shifts alone. Most workers in these positions are in a union, meaning wages are usually good and hours are steady. However, overtime during peak traffic seasons or staffing shortages (vacations, etc.) may be necessary.

Should I be a Train Dispatcher?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • Also known as: Car Dispatcher, Railroad Dispatcher, Trainman, Trains Dispatcher Supervisor

    How to become a Train Dispatcher

    Most Train Dispatchers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9caaaa&chl=no+college+%2896%25%29|certificate+%284%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,96,96
    Schools close to

    You May Also Like

    Careers Similar to Train Dispatcher