Yardmasters are the traffic controllers of the yards and terminals in the railroad industry. Using computers and supervising switching equipment in the yard tower, they route trains and engines within the yard. The yardmaster reads switching orders and schedules to determine the time trains will arrive or depart, the sequence of movement and the routing of trains onto tracks. He or she receives and transmits switching orders to and from yard crews.
Yardmasters also supervise clerical staff in the yard offices.
Most yardmasters are promoted brakemen, switchmen, conductors and engineers. Employers generally require high school diplomas and a basic understanding of computers and record keeping. After training with established yardmasters and working odd hours, yardmaster candidates must demonstrate their proficiency before they can qualify for regularly available yardmaster positions.
Yardmasters generally work an eight-hour day and 40-hour workweek, with time-and-a-half for overtime.
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