Since the 1800s, thousands of men and women have participated in the age-old tradition of railroading. Today, at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, we preserve the art of vintage railroading with our collection of historic railroad cars and locomotives. A dedicated team of volunteers labors each weekend to operate our excursion trains for the public. You, too, can become a member of the San Diego and Arizona Railway’s operating train crews and help preserve America’s railroad history. Come out to the Museum at Campo, CA for our semi-annual hands-on Brakeman Class. At the Museum, we consider the term Brakeman to be gender-neutral – don’t let the term scare away any of our female railfans!
This two-day, hands-on class is your introduction to railroading at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. Our knowledgeable instructor, Stephen Hager, has several years of experience as brakeman, conductor, and locomotive engineer at the San Diego and Arizona Railway and is excited to teach you the skills you need to become brakeman. Class participants will meet at Campo on two Saturdays to learn railroading’s basic skills including coupling and uncoupling railroad cars, operating and testing of air brakes and air hoses, getting on and detraining from moving locomotives and railroad cars, and proper securement of railroad equipment.
In addition to the hands-on Brakeman Class, an additional sixteen hours of railroad rules classes and examinations are required to hold the title of brakeman for the Museum’s railroad arm, the San Diego and Arizona Railway (SD&A). These classes include: General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) class – the rulebook used by most North American railroads to govern safe and efficient work on the railroad (8 hours), SD&A Air Brake class (4 hours), and SD&A Safety and Security class (4 hours). Each of these classes will be offered on various dates listed below.
Participants in the Brakeman Class may begin the training process after completing the class and performing three ride-along “observation runs” with the qualified brakemen of the SD&A. Class participants must be over the age of sixteen to enroll. However, brakemen must be eighteen years old and have taken the required rules classes to become qualified to help operate our trains without the direct supervision of a brakeman trainer. It is not required for class participants to have taken and passed SD&A’s rules classes and examinations to begin training.
Completing the training process and becoming qualified to work without supervision is a time-consuming process and can be physically demanding at times. Brakeman trainees should expect to volunteer as a train crew member at least once a month to hone their skills and remain familiar with their job. All of these things should be taken into consideration before enrolling in the Brakeman Class.
The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum encourages you to try your hand at becoming a brakeman on the San Diego and Arizona Railway. The next two-day Brakeman Class is being held March 28 and April 4, 2020. Attendance at both days of the class is mandatory to begin training. For your safety, those enrolling in the Brakeman Class must hold a current museum membership. For class details and sign-up information, email the Brakeman Class Admins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Class size is limited, so please sign up soon as possible.
Rules classes and examinations will be held at Trinity Church, 3902 Kenwood Drive, Spring Valley, CA 91977. Federal law requires that we offer these classes to both new and returning members of our railroad. Passing the written exams at the end of each class allows crew members to legally work for the railroad. Class dates and times are as follows and are subject to change. Attendance at one session of each of the three classes is required in order for you to hold or maintain the title of qualified brakeman.
2020 Rules and Review Dates:
Safety and Security Class – 4 hours of instruction
- Dates TBD
General Code of Operating Rules Class – 8 hours of instruction, 1 hour lunch break
- Dates TBD
Air Brake Class (for Brakemen and Conductors) – 4 hours of instruction
- Dates TBD