The best in freight: Railwayman with heart and soul for over 40 years


The best in freight: Railwayman with heart and soul for over 40 years

Wagon inspector Thomas Wolf is responsible for the safety of freight trains at Nuremberg marshalling yard.

For 120 years now, freight trains have been assembled at the Nuremberg marshalling yard and sent on their way to their destination. The wagon inspectors play a key role, and no train leaves the marshalling yard without their say-so. The team includes Thomas Wolf, who has been responsible for freight trains at the marshalling yard for over 40 years.

The safety inspector for freight trains at Nuremberg marshalling yard

As a wagon inspector, Thomas Wolf carries a great deal of responsibility for the trains leaving Nuremberg marshalling yard. Wolf checks the technical condition of the freight trains, the braking systems and the wagon sequence – and only if he gives everything the green light does the train set off on its journey. He walks an average of one kilometre per train. With up to seven trains a day, Wolf has already completed his 10,000 steps well before he clocks off – a real exercise regime. 

The task is the same as always, but now technology helps the wagon inspector do his job: "While we used to enter all the information by hand, today it's much faster with a tablet and app. The brake testers are also remote-controlled nowadays. In the past, a bake test meant "running to the brake tester to release the brakes, then running around the train again". This leaves more time for a thorough examination.

Fourth-generation railwayman

Thomas Wolf has been entrusted with this important task for 42 years now, with thousands upon thousands of kilometres under his belt at the Nuremberg marshalling yard. A career on the railway was the obvious choice for him: "My father was a train driver, my grandfather too and even my great-grandfather worked on the railway. Ours is a real family tradition. After my time in the army and my training, I started at the Nuremberg marshalling yard. I was born and bred in Nuremberg, so it wasn't far away, and working as a wagon inspector was fun." Everything fell into place and Wolf is still happy with his decision today.

The joy of responsibility

Wolf now also works as a trainer, teacher and examiner for DB Cargo. He is a railwayman with heart and soul: "I'm always out in the fresh air. It's just wonderful," says Wolf, who also appreciates the independence and huge responsibility of his work: "In this job, I'm an apprentice, journeyman and master craftsman all rolled into one, and I can organise my duties myself. I'm responsible for my train. It won't leave until I say it's OK."