• Block Operators

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Lehighrrgreg
Does anyone have any specific info on Amtrak Block Operators? I always thought that looked like a decent job, especially in the Philly area. Are they extralist based or shift. Is it centralized or do you move from tower to tower? What are the specifics of their job anymore?
  by lowpost50
as a former block operator on the NEC its a good job. as in every job on the railroad you start on the extra board. you will HAVE to qualify at your 1st tower and will move to another to qualify,. unless your working.its not centralized. the extra board is based on seniority. the senior person gets the pick of jobs first, the lowest man takes whats left. open jobs will be posted and you can apply, even if your not qualified at that tower
your job is to operate signals & switches for trains & track equipment according to the schedule, and whatever the train dispatcher wants. after a year as a qualified block operator, you can be promoted to a train dispatcher. the training isnt easy you will have to learn ton's of rules, the territory in your block. and like engineers & conductors you will be tested on the rules every year
  by ExCon90
One thing worth keeping in mind is that the trend throughout the industry is to eliminate block stations and their operators in favor of centralized dispatching from control centers. It would seem prudent to try to qualify as a dispatcher as soon as possible before the towers close--there aren't too many left as it is.
As an afterthought--where will dispatchers be recruited from when there are no more block operators? I would think there's no better place than a block station to learn the things a dispatcher needs to know.
  by ExCon90
See also the posts on Re: Interlocking Towers--why abandoned?
  by 2nd trick op
And here's a link to another, from about a year ago:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... =2&t=65293

As a footnote: UNION Tower at Rahway, N J, next-to-last tower on Amtraks (nee-Penn Centeal, nee PRR) New York Divisiion, closed on September 26.