Railroad Conductor
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Basic Information

The Railroad Conductor is the profession of the manager of a train and its crew. The conductor is responsible for all areas other than the engine, which is the responsibility of the Railroad Engineer. He makes sure all the freight is secure, and the train is cleared to move down the track. He signals the engineer when to start and stop the train. On passenger trains, the conductor also announces the route of the train, gives the "all aboard" and collects the passengers' tickets. (On large trains, the collection may be done by an assistant conductor.) While railroads were in their prime in the United States, the conductor traditionally rode in the last car of a train, the caboose. Modern trains have largely made the caboose obsolete, and the conductor is based near the front of the train. As manager of the train, the conductor will also be responsible, possibly through a deputy, for any hospitality staff such as porters, stewards and the like.

The caboose - known as a brake van on British and Commonwealth railways also contained at least part of a trains braking system and the conductor, or conductors crew were responsible for its operation. In pre-telemetry days the conductor('s crew) might also be responsible for detecting faults such as overheating bearings. The railroad brakeman was a distinct and specific job, but might well be combined into the same crew, especially on freight trains where there are fewer generic management jobs to do. They might also be responsible for physical security aboard (in the absence of professional guards) and for preventing unauthorised people boarding the train, either to sneak a ride or to rob or damage the stock. Indeed "train guard" is an alternative (and not always accurate) name for the same role….



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