Michael – Supervisor
Dispatching, planning & service design
Company employee since 1987
Supervisor for the Dispatching team
“I’m always happy and satisfied, and I’ve always been that way. I love my work and take pride in doing it well. It’s great to work in an environment where you’re juggling a lot of things at the same time.”
Michael’s role in Dispatching is to maintain an overview of freight traffic and maintain contact with other operators in Germany, Sweden and Denmark, while also serving as the link with Banedanmark (Rail Net Denmark) and Trafikværket (the Swedish Transport Administration). The Dispatching team monitors freight traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The team’s most critical task is ensuring that train traffic runs smoothly through the Scandinavian train corridor, working in cooperation with locomotive operators, Banedanmark, etc.
“I keep an eye on all of the trains running in and out of Denmark, and on all of the trains that only operate domestically in Denmark. It’s not so much about what cargo the trains are carrying, it’s staying on schedule that’s very important. If a train is delayed or cancelled along the way, my job is to find out why. We have to find a solution, which may involve a new loco driver to drive the train to its destination, or a new locomotive if there is a cancellation or breakdown.”
The department’s task is to solve all of the logistical and practical challenges that arise in rail traffic – in a responsible and economically sound manner.
“I feel like I make a difference because we always work things out. If there were never any problems in train traffic, then our department wouldn’t even exist. So when the trains are running well and everything is on time, I really feel like I’m making a difference. We always get the cargo to its destination. On our team, each of us has our unique skills, and we help each other.”
Experience is training
There is no formal training for the job of dispatcher. However, Michael says that it is important to have knowledge of the industry or experience from partner companies to perform the job of supervisor. It is also essential to have a strong understanding of how to manage delays, sickness absences, malfunctioning trains, etc.
“I can really feel the difference it makes that I have so much industry experience. For example, when a train is delayed I almost always know exactly what needs to happen to resolve the issue and get things back up to speed. It’s important to have experience, since no two situations are ever the same – and your experience helps you find solutions.”
The best thing about working at DB Cargo
“I feel that the company really takes care of you and makes sure that it’s a safe and secure working environment. I’ve been having shoulder problems for a while now, and the company helps employees get back on their feet again.”
Michael enjoys his work and his colleagues – as well as the freedom and responsibilities that come with the job.
“One of the best things about my position is the combination of freedom and responsibility. Obviously, we have a lot of standards and regulations that we have to observe, but we don’t have to ask for permission all the time, for example when we have some challenges with delays. I really like that about the job.”
“I’m always happy and satisfied, and I’ve always been that way. I love my work and take pride in doing it well. It’s great to work in an environment where you’re juggling a lot of things at the same time. And it’s really a job where you can see first-hand that you’re making a difference by getting the trains to run on time and tackling other challenges.”
A shift in Dispatching is often unpredictable. Michael knows for certain that he will be working for 12 hours, because that’s how the shifts are scheduled at DB Cargo, but that’s just about the only thing that is set in stone.
“You might arrive at work and see that a ton of trains are sitting still on the tracks. Later on, when you get off work and see the results of your work, and that you’ve helped the traffic get up and running again, then you go home with a really great feeling. A feeling that you’ve really accomplished something. I think that the greatest thing about my position is that no two days are ever alike.”