SMART represents workers on Amtrak, the largest passenger rail operator in the United States, as well as other smaller regional and local passenger carriers. Rail remains one of the most sustainable and efficient ways of safely transporting travelers to their destination, and recent national legislation has reaffirmed its key role in national infrastructure going forward.
Passenger engineers, like their freight rail counterparts, operate the locomotive in the cab and control starting, stopping and train speed, and keep in touch with other members of the crew as well as traffic control centers.
Passenger conductors receive and communicate train orders to other crew members, collect tickets and cash fares, help passengers board and exit and assist with safety checks. They also ensure safety and comfort and make announcements to keep passengers informed. During emergencies, all other employees are subject to the conductor’s instructions, as he or she serves as the initial responder before emergency personnel arrive. Passenger conductors must be able to handle complaints from customers in a tactful and pleasant manner.
Some train crews also have assistant conductors who help perform many of the same jobs as conductors.