Dinkey Operators

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Dinkey Operators

Dinkey Operators - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, railroad brake, signal, and switch operators:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a medium to high level of social interaction with coworkers and the public. They spend time talking to others on the phone or face-to-face.
  • Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of passengers and other workers in the train yard.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
  • Usually work as part of a team.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Mostly work outdoors moving cars or loading and unloading freight. They work indoors when assisting passengers.
  • Are often exposed to hazardous equipment, conditions, and contaminants in the train yard.
  • Are often exposed to uncomfortable sounds and noises made by engines, train whistles, and rail car doors slamming.
  • Are regularly exposed to very hot or cold temperatures, depending on the weather.
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  • Regularly wear protective and safety attire and gear.
  • Are exposed to very bright or very dim lighting on a regular basis.
  • Sometimes must get into awkward positions to reach cramped work places.
  • Occasionally are exposed to whole body vibration.
  • Sometimes are exposed to hazardous situations that may produce cuts, scrapes, or burns.
  • Spend time in railroad cars, engines, and carts.

Work Performance

  • Must be exact and accurate in performing the job to ensure transportation safety. Errors could seriously endanger passengers or other workers in the train yard.
  • Often make decisions that affect passengers, coworkers, and their company's reputation. They may seek input before making important decisions.
  • Repeat the same physical activities.
  • Set some of their daily tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor first.
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  • Must meet daily and weekly quotas and deadlines. Keeping trains on schedule is crucial.


  • May work any shift, including evenings and weekends.
  • May work more than 40 hours a week during busy periods.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.