Casper – Shunter

Location management

Shunter trainee in 2017

Subsequently hired as a shunter

“There is nothing better than enjoying the changing seasons outdoors – especially the spring and summer.”

Casper Lind Thomsen_EB

Casper recently completed the 14-month shunter trainee programme at DB Cargo Scandinavia. 
There is a lot to learn to become a qualified shunter. The aim of the programme is to teach the trainee to inspect wagons, shunt wagons, and operate a forklift.

Casper has always had an interest in trains, but when he began his training he did not have much technical knowledge about locomotives and freight wagons. However, Casper does not see this as a barrier for aspiring train preparers.

“You start from scratch and learn to understand all of the technical aspects of the job. Almost nobody has the technical knowledge about freight wagons at the start of the training programme. It’s a good idea to have an interest in trains, but since we work with so many different things, an interest in large machines could also be what motivates you. But the most important thing is that you like to work outdoors. We work outside, year round, in all kinds of weather.”

The trainee programme includes theoretical instruction indoors in the classroom, and hands-on training on the rails, where students start building practical experience early in the process. Casper says that this combination of theory and practice is perfect for trainees who are not interested in long days in the classroom.

“I’m not the type of person who can sit quietly in class all day. One of the best things about the programme was that when we learned something in theory, later that day we went out to the terminal and saw it with our own eyes. The classes were often conducted in offices at the combination terminal in Taulov, so the tracks are right outside the door. We had to learn the regulations that apply to our work, which takes some real studying, because there are so many rules and technical things to learn.”

Before Casper started at DB Cargo, he worked at the Danish hypermarket Bilka for eight years. He now has a completely different type of job, where there is always something new and it is never the same routine. He also really likes working outdoors.

“There is nothing better than enjoying the changing seasons outdoors – especially the spring and summer. It has been a very positive and interesting training programme.”

DB Cargo has train departures at all times of the day. A train cannot leave the station before a shunter has inspected and prepared the train. Therefore, the work performed by shunter is critical to ensuring that traffic can run smoothly and the trains depart on time. They have to perform technical inspections of the wagons, which includes ensuring that they are properly closed and checking for any damage. The train wagons also have to be placed in a certain logistical order, and they have to be “shunted”, which means moving them into the correct sequential order.

“I leave work in a good mood at the end of the day because I like my work. I don’t have anything against getting up very early to go to work. There’s nobody here looking over your shoulder, as long as you do your job. The job of a train preparer is definitely perfect for people who like working independently at a workplace where no two days are ever alike.”

The Shunter trainee programme at DB Cargo takes 14 or 16 months to complete, depending on the skills of the trainee prior to entering the programme and the training they require.  The training programme is conducted in cooperation with EUC Lillebælt. Classes are usually held in EUC’s classrooms in Fredericia or onsite at the company’s terminal in Taulov.