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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the literature on expertise in railroad operations and how it contributes to overall safety and productivity. The chapter is informed by research conducted across multiple continents, including Australia, Europe, and the United States. While the primary focus is on locomotive engineers, expertise in other railroad positions (e.g., conductors, dispatchers) is also covered. The chapter begins with an overview of railroad operations and how expertise fits into the railroad enterprise. Methods used to uncover expertise in railroad research are summarized, followed by a review of the types of strategies that railroad workers exhibit. This includes cognitive as well as teamwork strategies that contribute to overall system safety and resilience. This is followed by a discussion of the impact of ongoing technological changes on the requirements for expertise, and the chapter ends with speculation on longer term changes in railroad technologies and the nature of expertise.

Keywords: railroad, locomotive engineer, strategies, teamwork, distributed teams, meta-cognitive strategies, technology

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