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What Does a Motorman Do?

A motorman operates and maintains the engines of trains, trams, or subway cars, ensuring safe and efficient transportation. They are the unsung heroes of our daily commute, keeping cities moving smoothly. But what does a typical day look like for these professionals?
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A motorman might work in one of two very distinctly different fields: the oil field or the transportation field. A motorman who works in the transportation field will be tasked with operating an electric trolley, tram, or other mass transit unit. Motormen who work in the oil field operate, maintain, repair, and diagnose the motors that run various pieces of equipment on an oil rig. The job responsibilities are quite different, which means the qualifications one will need to hold such positions will vary as well. Motormen in the transportation industry generally do not need more than a high school education plus job training.

Conversely, a motorman who works on an oil rig may need to earn a college degree, though many also only earn a high school diploma and continue with on the job training. Safety and first aid training are always required for all candidates who want to become motormen; these candidates are likely to work on an oil rig before getting the chance to become a motorman. This gives each candidate plenty of experience in the field and allows them to complete job training that will prepare them for the more advanced position. The candidate will then undergo a lengthy apprenticeship, during which time he or she will work under the direct guidance and supervision of a more experienced employee who can teach the necessary skills.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Part of the motorman's job can be quite physically strenuous, as he or she may need to climb, crawl, lift, and otherwise move components when diagnosing and repairing various types of motors. While operating the machinery, he or she is likely to sit in a control booth, but the physical aspect of the job can often be constant and very strenuous.

Training to become a motorman who operates a trolley or tram will also be somewhat extensive, though probably not as extensive as oil rig training. The trolley or tram operator is also likely to need first aid and safety training, and he or she will also need to undergo a traineeship or apprenticeship under the guidance and supervision of a more experienced operator. The duration of the training can vary depending on the environment in which the operator will work. The operator must be trained in proper use of the vehicle, emergency procedures, inspection and maintenance procedures, and much more. The operator may also need specific training in crowd management or even self-defense.

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