How many people are in a freight train crew these days?

Is there still a fireman? A conductor? In the old days there was a caboose at the end of a long freight train, which I assume contained a conductor or a relief crew or something (?). What is there now? Are trains ever run with just the engineer and nobody else? And how did crews in the caboose ever communicate with the engineer and fireman, in the days when that existed? I'm mainly interested in American railroad practices.

Asked By: Techwing - 4/1/2010
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Good questions. When I first hired out, there were still cabooses in use (BN, now BNSF. I'm on my third railroad now). The cabooses served as the Conductor's mobile office. And often the Rear Brakeman was there too. The caboose also served to have someone always at the rear of the train to watch for overheating rail... More
Answered By: Derail - 4/2/2010
Additional Answers (2)
Now days just two crew members usually.An engineer and a conductor.On some local freight service there is a brakeman.We also get students doing training trips along with us from time to time.In the old days before radios they used hand signals to communicate.The engineer also used whistle signals to alert the other... More
Answered By: Andy - 4/2/2010
Generally two, The locomotive Engineer and the Conductor, although some trains will go with a trainman if it has lots of work to do!!!
Answered By: Petero - 4/2/2010
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