Train attendants work on trains to provide services to passengers such as welcoming passengers, answering their questions and serving meals.
Train attendants typically do the following:
- check the carriages are clean before the start of a journey
- make sure equipment, doors and controls are working properly
- greet customers and create a welcoming atmosphere
- walk through carriages during the journey to check tickets and travel documents
- answer passengers’ questions about routes, arrival times and connections
- make announcements over the public address system
- make sure passengers get on and off the train safely
- deal with unexpected delays or emergencies, for example a passenger falling ill
The following job titles also refer to train attendant:
train on-board staff member
train customer service representative
train on-board steward
train on-board customer service representative
train on-board stewardess
Rail companies typically require train attendants to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, employers may prefer to hire workers who have postsecondary education, such as coursework, a certificate, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Train attendant is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Train attendant career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to train attendant.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of train attendant. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of train attendant with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of train attendant.
- Health and safety measures in transportation: The body of rules, procedures and regulations related to health and safety measures intended to prevent accidents or incidents in transportation.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of train attendant.
- Comply with food safety and hygiene: Respect optimal food safety and hygiene during preparation, manufacturing, processing, storage, distribution and delivery of food products.
- Greet guests: Welcome guests in a friendly manner in a certain place.
- Serve food in table service: Provide food at the table whilst maintaining high level of customer service and food safety standards.
- Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
- Handle financial transactions: Administer currencies, financial exchange activities, deposits as well as company and voucher payments. Prepare and manage guest accounts and take payments by cash, credit card and debit card.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of train attendant. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Check carriages: Check train carriages to ensure cleanliness before the start of a train journey. Ensure that on-board services and entertainment (if any) are functioning as required.
- Distribute local information materials: Hand out leaflets, maps and tour brochures to visitors with information and tips about local sites, attractions and events.
- Assist passengers with timetable information: Listen to railway travelers and respond to their inquiries related to train times; read timetables to assist travelers with the planning of a trip. Identify in a timetable when a particular train service is scheduled to depart and arrive at its destination.
- Oversee guest laundry service: Ensure that guest laundry is collected, cleaned and returned to a high standard and in a timely fashion.
- Implement marketing strategies: Implement strategies which aim to promote a specific product or service, using the developed marketing strategies.
- Facilitate safe disembarkation of passengers: Assist passengers when they leave the vessel, aircraft, train, or other mode of transport. Keep the safety measures and procedures in mind.
- Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
- Give instructions to staff: Give instructions to subordinates by employing various communication techniques. Adjust communication style to the target audience in order to convey instructions as intended.
- Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
- Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
- Manage the customer experience: Monitor, create and oversee customer experience and perception of brand and service. Ensure pleasant customer experience, treat customers in a cordial and courteous manner.
- Assist passengers in emergency situations: Assist train passengers in emergency situations, following specific procedures to ensure their safety; minimise the damage that unexpected situations may cause.
- Service rooms: Offer room service and, where appropriate, service public areas, including cleaning surfaces, bathrooms, replacing linen and towels and restocking guest items.
- Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
- Apply transportation management concepts: Apply transport industry management concepts in order to improve transportation processes, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve schedule preparation.
- Show intercultural awareness: Show sensibility towards cultural differences by taking actions which facilitate positive interaction between international organisations, between groups or individuals of different cultures, and to promote integration in a community.
- Manage lost and found articles: Make sure that all articles or objects lost are identified and that the owners get them back in their possession.
- Demonstrate emergency procedures: Provide information on and demonstrate emergency procedures to passengers. Explain the use of emergency equipment and direct passengers to the nearest emergency exits.
- Assist clients with special needs: Aid clients with special needs following relevant guidelines and special standards. Recognise their needs and accurately respond to them if needed.
- Implement sales strategies: Carry out the plan to gain competitive advantage on the market by positioning the company’s brand or product and by targeting the right audience to sell this brand or product to.
- Read stowage plans: Read and comprehend content of stowage plans; basic knowledge of how to stow various types of cargo.
- Handle veterinary emergencies: Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.
- Assist passenger embarkation: Assist passengers when they embark vessels, aircraft, trains and other modes of transport. Keep safety measures and procedures in mind.
- Answer questions about the train transport service: Respond to all questions customers may have about the transportation services on a train. The conductor should posses a broad range of knowledge on fares, schedules, train services, passwords or web services, etc.
- Maintain stock supplies for guest cabin: Keep supplies of toiletries, towels, bedding, linens and manage supplies meant for guest cabins.
- Handle guest luggage: Manage, pack, unpack and store guest luggage on request.
ISCO group and title
5111 – Travel attendants and travel stewards
- Train attendant – ESCO
- Train conductor | Explore careers – National Careers Service
- Railroad Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Featured image: Photo by Jonny Rothwell on Unsplash