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Railroad Job Descriptions

Chief, On-Board Services
Clerk Operator
Construction Watchman
Crew Dispatcher
Customer Service Rep.
Diesel Electrician
Locomotive Engineer
Security Guard
Service Attendant
Service Attendant, Lead
Sheet Metal Worker


These descriptions are intended to be general descriptions only.  They are subject to modification on a position-by-position basis.  At some locations some of the specific job activities listed may be performed by someone with a different job title.

The physical requirements set forth in this job description represent the maximum physical requirements which may be encountered by an employee in this job classification. These physical requirements provide a basis for the uniform measurement of functional ability to perform a job and as such are to be used as an aid in determining the ability of an individual employee to perform a particular job. Factors other than the physical requirements enumerated herein are considered in making this determination. These factors may include, but are not limited to, the employees's individual circumstances, the actual requirements of the job, the employee's prior work history, the employee's seniority, the possibility of prescribing work limitations and the existence of physiological adaptation through a period of acceptable performance on a specific job.


Train service employees work outdoors as part of a train crew or yard crew. They perform duties associated with the direct movement of cars and locomotives.

Train service employees perform the coupling and uncoupling of cars and locomotives as the cars are classi?ed according to destination and industry. Using hand signals or radios, train service employees signal to engineers for the movement of locomotives or trains. They apply or release air and mechanical hand brakes, connect or disconnect air hoses and electrical connections, align knuckles on coupling devices, and release uncoupling levers.

Train service employees also operate track switches in order to reroute cars. Switches within terminals and yards are usually manually operated by throwing switch levers. Switches along main lines are usually electrically operated by remote control devices, but may also be manually operated.

Physical Requirements:
  Overall Strength  Job classified as heavy work.  Requires occasional lifting, carrying, frequent pushing and pulling of 100 lbs.
  Coordination  Climb steps and ladders on cars, engines and cabooses.  Balance required when standing or moving about, in or on moving equipment.  Stooping is required when bleeding and inspecting air brakes and when maneuvering hand operated switches.
  Range of Motion  Reaching required while climbing ladders and grasping hand holds. A wide range of motion is required for throwing ground and waist-level switches. Handling and fingering required for various coupling activities.
  Communication  Voice must transmit information and instruction clearly, whether in person or via electronic equipment. Requires ability to perceive auditory warning signals and sound of moving equipment.
  Visual  Requires good visual acuity, accomodation, field of vision and depth perception to successfully perform dties and for general safety.  Color vision is necessary for perceiving signals.
  Exposure  Basically outdoors; job requires a tolerance to extreme heat, cold and wet conditions. Performs activities in the proximity of moving equipment.


Carmen perform all the duties associated with the general inspection, maintenance, and construction of freight cars. Their responsibilities may require that they climb on, in, under, and between cars in the performance of their duties.

Actual tasks that carmen perform include welding, painting, cutting of metal, and sandblasting. They may repair and replace coupling elements, brakes, journal bearings, wheels, and other freight car parts using hand equipment such as wrenches, power saws, hammers, torches, etc. Carmen are also responsible for lubricating all journal boxes. Larger maintenance tasks such as wheel and door replacement or general car construction require use and operation of hydraulic jacks, car trucks, car movers, cranes, and derricks.

Carmen usually work in repair areas or shop areas, but occasionally are needed in the yard.

Physical Requirements:

  Overall Strength Job classified as heavy work.  Requires occasional lifting, carrying, frequent pushing and pulling with a force of 100 lbs. (often with the aid of mechanical devices).
   Coordination Climbs ladders and scaffolds.
Balance required while moving between, under, in, or on cars when making repairs; also when walking on uneven ground carrying tools and equipment. Stoops, kneels, crouches, and crawls to perform various tasks around and under cars. 
  Range of Motion Reaching required while climbing. Handling and grasping necessary when using heavy equipment and/or hand tools. Fingering and feeling required when working with small hand tools, bolts, nuts, etc.
  Communication Voice must transmit information clearly, whether in person or via electronic equipment. Good hearing is required to receive information and instruction, personally or via electronic equipment. Ability to perceive auditory warning signals.
  Visual Requires good visual acuity, accomodation, and field of vision for performing inspections, reading blueprints and instructional material and/or operating large cranes and other mechanical equipment. Depth perception and color vision necessary for perceiving signals, moving equipment and for general safety.
  Exposure Indoors and out; job requires a tolerance to heat, cold and wet conditions. May be required to perform tasks in the presence of moving equipment.

Chief, On-Board Services

Summary of Duties:

Works on assigned trains to ensure high level of service for Amtrak passengers; directs and coordinates on-board service personnel, supplies, and equipment; resolves passenger complaints; checks cleanliness and basic mechanical functioning of cars and equipment; reports problems and recommends improvements to supervisor.


Works 100% time on assigned trains to supervise daily activities of subordinates to maintain high performance; briefs crew before and during trips about important matters (e.g., tours, special passengers, new procedures); gives training on sanitation, safety, passenger assistance, and other procedures; reassigns duties during trips to handle service needs; evaluates crew appearance and conduct; counsels crew on ways to improve performance; initiates disciplinary action as needed; approves time sheets.


Checks inventory of supplies and equipment before and during trips; maintain control and meet needs of passengers; order additional supplies and equipment enroute as needed; oversees handling and record keeping of cash receipts.

Checks cleanliness and basic mechanical operation of cars and equipment before and during trips; reports problems and takes other corrective action as appropriate.


Meets with passengers to hear comments and resolve complaints

regarding on-board service.

Reports to Train Manager responsible for that particular train.

Work Environment:


Willingness to travel; work away from home for up to 6 days; work rotating shifts, weekends, and holidays; work odd days or shifts; accept authority; wear Amtrak uniform; serve passengers; accept frequent layoffs and recalls; refrain from using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco while on job. Must work long hours, most of it standing, adapt to frequently changing conditions, initiate own work without being told, work cooperatively with other coworkers; arrive at work on time and cope with unforeseen events.


Employee interacts with conductor/trainmen and other management personnel in the performance of their duties.

Physical Requirements:

Good health; no motion sickness; good physical fitness; good physical appearance; emotional stability; good personal grooming and hygiene.  .


Must have the ability to pass a satisfactory job related physical examination.

Technical Skills Required:


Must have acquired skills in service related areas and prefer equipment background.

Work Experience Requirements:

Prior public contact experience preferred.


Prefer knowledge of Amtrak Food and Beverage Manual; Amtrak Manual of Service Instructions for Club Cars when applicable; Amtrak Manual of Service Instructions for Conventional or Superliner Equipment; Amtrak organization and structure; Amtrak reservation system; Amtrak Rules of Conduct; food preparation, emergency fire and safety procedures; FDA sanitation regulations; first aid; supervision; union contract for on-board personnel.

   Should be skilled in the operation of Coach Car, Club Car, Dining Car, kitchen equipment, and Sleeper Car. 

Educational Requirements:


High School diploma or equivalent.

Supervisory Skills:


Supervises: Steward, Chef, Food Specialist, Lead Service Attendant, Service Attendant, Train Attendant.

Other Requirements:


Must be honest.

   Must have knowledge of basic math.
   Must write legibly in order to write simple reports and correspondence.  Must be able to read complex reports and correspondence and understand how to read train timetables. Good oral communication skills needed because the incumbent must give talks before groups of people and must encourage sales of Amtrak goods and services.
   Must anticipate needs of passengers and co-workers, talk to passengers and co-workers in a friendly, courteous manner; analyze problems quickly and take appropriate action under stress.
  Applicants for this position may be required to complete a job related selection instrument to assist in the assessment of their specific knowledge and abilities.