The job of a conductor varies by the railroad service they are preforming. Passenger service the conductor is in the train collecting revenue and working with passengers. Freight or work trains the conductor and most likely the brakeman are up on the head end with the engineer.
Some freight railroads have Conductor Engineers who are trained to do both jobs (but never both at the same time).
The type of locomotive here is an EMD GP40PH-2. Originally built as a GP40P for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. It was rebuilt into a GP40PH-2 for New Jersey Transit in the early 90's. Its road number is currently NJT 4108 and it spends most of its time pulling Passenger Trains on the Hoboken Division of NJ Transit.
As for the rails being blurry, that was done with depth of field. I could have gotten the rails in focus too, but that would require a tight aperture which requires longer exposure time. That would have ruined the photo.
No SES system present on the Southern Tier. In fact, no cab signaling system at all. SES is a "beefed up" cab signaling system that is more of a pain in the ass then anything else and the only good thing about it is it's being removed from everywhere on the system.