Working on the Railroad
(Job Descriptions)


A component of…

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Rivers, Manitoba

A Project of The Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee

Rivers-Wilson, Sir Charles

Working on the Railroad ( Job Descriptions)

Passenger Train Personnel

Station Master/Depot Agent:
 Oversees operations connected with railroad building adjacent to tracks, where passengers and freight may be located.
Ticket Clerk:
Stationed at the ticket window, this person provides tickets and tour information to passengers.

Baggage Clerk: 
Responsible for tagging baggage, loading, unloading and routing baggage en route between destinations.
Postal Clerk:

Survey and Construction Personnel

Civil Engineer:
 An engineer whose training or occupation is in the designing and construction of public or private works, such as railroads.

: One who applies geometry and trigonometry to determine the area of any portion of the earth's surface, the lengths and directions of the bounding lines, and the contour of the surface, and accurately delineates the whole on paper.
Track Layer:
 One who lays the rails in place on the rail bed.
 Grades and shapes the continuous, level, raised bed on which tracks and ties are laid.
: One who drives a team of horses, mules or other draft animals. Precursor to the Teamster's Union.

Train Crew

 Responsible for operating the locomotive.

 In charge of train in its entirety, and of the train crew at large.

Inspects the train, assists the conductor, operates the brakes and assists in switching.

Steam locomotive:  Crew who feeds the firebox with fuel. On diesel locomotives, the firemen would monitor controls and assist the engineer.

Yard or Field Operations

 Attends the switch in a railroad yard, switching trains from one track to another.

Signal Maintainer:  Maintains signals, including those of hot box detectors, dragging equipment detectors, railroading crossings, CTC and formerly telegraph lines.
Section Foreman:
 ndividual in authority over group of workers.

Section Crew:
 Group of workers responsible for assisting in yard operations.


1. Roadmasters report to, and receive their instructions from, the Division Engineer in respect to all engineering matters, standards employed, methods and manner of doing and prosecuting upkeep, repairs and renewals, and shall report to the Superintendent on all other matters.

2. They charge of the track, roadbed and right-of-way, and are responsible for keeping everything pertaining to the roadway on their territories in safe and proper repair.


1. Section Foremen receive their instructions from, and report to, the Roadmaster.

2. They have charge of the maintenance of track on their sections, and are responsible for its safety.

3. They shall carry a reliable watch, and when practicable, compare time each day with the clock at the nearest telegraph office, or with the Conductor of a train or Foreman of adjoining section.

4. They shall know the time of all regular trains at all points on their sections.

They, with their men, shall watch passing trains for dragging brake beams or rods, broken arch bars, couplers partially pulled and other easily visible defects on cars or coaches :


1. Men going out to watch track in storms or in ordinary track walking, shall have with them the prescribed signals with which to stop trains. (See Flagging Rules 64 to 81 inclusive). They shall have with them a copy of the current timetable, and must understand its use and know the times of all regular trains at any point at which they may be working. During, and for sufficient time after heavy rainstorms, all waterways shall be carefully watched and all obstructions removed therefrom.