Profession shunter

Shunters move shunting units with or without wagons or groups of wagons in order to build trains. They manage the driving of locomotives and are involved in switching wagons, making or splitting up trains in shunting yards or sidings. They operate according to the technical features, such as controlling movement via a remote control device.

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Personality Type


  • Physical characteristics of railways

    Familiar with all physical aspects of the railway, including train stations, the incline and decline of the right-of-way and speed limits.

  • Dangers of marshalling activity

    Understand the dangers and difficulties that accompany marshalling activity, including noise, dust, ingestions or vehicle collisions.

  • Principles of mechanical engineering

    Understand principles of mechanical engineering, physics, and materials science.

  • Railway framework legislation

    Know and apply railway framework legislation where requirements for railways in the EU are established. Know legislation that applies to the field of cross-border freight transit.

  • Rail infrastructure

    Thoroughly understand the characteristics of railway infrastructure: rail technologies, track gauges, rail signalling, rail junctions, etc.

  • Train operating procedures

    The different practices, routines, and procedures regarding the safe operation of trains in order to prevent collisions, derailments, or unplanned exceeding of speed limits.

  • Mechanics of trains

    Possess basic knowledge of the mechanics involved in trains, understand the technicalities and participate in discussions on related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.


  • Operate railway warning systems

    Operate and maintain grade crossing warning systems, signals and railroad signal equipment such as hot box detectors and interlocks.

  • Perform wagon coupling

    Performs wagon coupling in marshalling yards. Use coupler mechanisms to connect rolling stock in trains.

  • Assess railway operations

    Review and study existing railroad equipment, facilities, systems and processes in order to improve railway safety and efficiency, increase quality, and reduce costs.

  • Shunt rolling stock in marshalling yards

    Shunt rolling stock to form trains in marshalling yards.

  • Operate railway control panels

    Operate various types of railway control panels such as Individual Function Switch (IFS), One Control Switch (OCS) or Entrance Exit (NX).

  • Use hand signal for transport procedures

    Use hand signals for transport procedures such as shunting loads and trains in long curves.

  • Operate railway communication systems

    Operate railway communication systems; make announcements over the public address system or communicate with central train administration.

  • Test the braking force of trains

    Test that the breaking force of trains functions as required after coupling.

  • Perform maintenance on locomotives

    Perform general maintenance of locomotive parts such as wheels, springs and brake rigging traction motors; test and repair safety appliances, air compressors, safety valves, fuel systems, shutters and radiators; install, assemble, disassemble, repair or replace locomotive diesel engine components.

  • Shunt outbound loads

    Shunt outbound freight loads to and from inbound and outbound trains.

  • Shunt inbound loads

    Shunt inbound freight loads to and from railcars for inbound and outbound trains.

  • Perform routine maintenance on railway engines

    Perform routine tasks to maintain railway engines, such as replacing oil and lubricating engines.

  • Read railway circuit plans

    Read and comprehend circuit plans during initial construction, during troubleshooting, maintenance, and testing activities and while repairing or replacing components.

  • Oversee operational safety on trains

    Oversee all operations in a defined area, as part of a team that manages operational safety and train services for a specific geographical location.

  • Operate radio equipment

    Set up and operate radio devices and accessories, such as broadcast consoles, amplifiers, and microphones. Understand the basics of radio operator language and, when necessary, provide instruction in handling radio equipment correctly.

  • Control train movement

    Control acceleration, braking, and overall operation of train in motion.

  • Comply with railway safety standards

    Ensure compliance with minimum safety standards for freight cars operated by railway companies subject to European legislation.

  • Drive vehicles

    Be able to drive vehicles; have the approapriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.

  • Perform rail track inspections

    Plan and implement regular inspections and investigations of the rail track system in order to provide optimal coverage of the railway network in a given area. Inspect aspects such as track alignment, features of the terrain, and existence of ditches, embankments, and loose rock debris on the network.

  • Follow switching instructions in rail operations

    Read and comprehend the instructions on switching rail cars and wagons, and perform switching operations accordingly.

  • Deal with challenging work conditions

    Deal with challenging circumstances in which to perform work, such as night work, shift work, and atypical working conditions.

  • Operate railway switches

    Operate railroad switches to control the direction of trains in order to route them to their destinations.

  • Operate railway vehicles

    Drive railroad vehicles or other railway equipment in a competent and safe manner.

  • Operate switching locomotives

    Operate locomotives for switching, coupling and uncoupling rail cars for loading and unloading freight.

  • Check train engines

    Ensure that train engines comply with regulations before commencing a journey.

  • Enforce railway safety regulations

    Promote and enforce safety procedures and EU regulations to ensure that railway safety is generally maintained and continuously improved, taking into consideration the development of European legislation.

Optional knowledge and skills

compare shipment contents with waybill electrical wiring plans ensure train stability after loading load animals for transportation keep written records of cargo assist in the movement of heavy loads electrical engineering

Source: Sisyphus ODB