Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators

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About the Job

Lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. Includes ballast cleaning machine operators and railroad bed tamping machine operators.

It is also Called

  • Trackwalker
  • Trackman
  • Track Welder
  • Track Walker
  • Track Surfacing Machine Operator
  • Track Supervisor
  • Track Service Worker
  • Track Service Person
  • Track Repairer
  • Track Repair Worker
View All

What They Do

  • Spray ties, fishplates, or joints with oil to protect them from weathering.
  • Paint railroad signs, such as speed limits or gate-crossing warnings.
  • Operate tie-adzing machines to cut ties and permit insertion of fishplates that hold rails.
  • Push controls to close grasping devices on track or rail sections so that they can be raised or moved.
  • Turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to adjust guidelines for track alignments or grades, following specifications.
  • Drive vehicles that automatically move and lay tracks or rails over sections of track to be constructed, repaired, or maintained.
  • Drive graders, tamping machines, brooms, or ballast spreading machines to redistribute gravel or ballast between rails.
  • Engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.
  • String and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: R.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Relationships and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $52,120 with most people making between $32,930 and $72,450

Outlook

0.68%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 440 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 470 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 3 openings due to growth and about 7 replacement openings for approximately 10 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education