Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators

Description

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.

Tasks

  • Patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported.
  • Clean tracks or clear ice or snow from tracks or switch boxes.
  • Repair or adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts.
  • Lubricate machines, change oil, or fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels.
  • Dress and reshape worn or damaged railroad switch points or frogs, using portable power grinders.
  • Cut rails to specified lengths, using rail saws.
  • Raise rails, using hydraulic jacks, to allow for tie removal and replacement.
  • Adjust controls of machines that spread, shape, raise, level, or align track, according to specifications.
  • Drill holes through rails, tie plates, or fishplates for insertion of bolts or spikes, using power drills.
  • Grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders.
  • Operate track-wrench machines to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together.
  • Observe leveling indicator arms to verify levelness and alignment of tracks.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike driving machines to drive spikes into ties and secure rails.
  • Engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.
  • Clean or make minor repairs to machines or equipment.
  • Clean, grade, or level ballast on railroad tracks.
  • Drive graders, tamping machines, brooms, or ballast spreading machines to redistribute gravel or ballast between rails.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.
  • Drive vehicles that automatically move and lay tracks or rails over sections of track to be constructed, repaired, or maintained.
  • Turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to adjust guidelines for track alignments or grades, following specifications.
  • Spray ties, fishplates, or joints with oil to protect them from weathering.
  • Push controls to close grasping devices on track or rail sections so that they can be raised or moved.
  • String and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled.
  • Operate tie-adzing machines to cut ties and permit insertion of fishplates that hold rails.
  • Paint railroad signs, such as speed limits or gate-crossing warnings.

Knowledge

Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Philosophy and Theology
Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Skills

Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.

Abilities

Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Ballast Cleaning Machine Operator
Bridge Welder
Emergency Service Restorer
Line and Signal Technician
Machine Operator
Maintenance of Way Foreman
Oil Distributor Tender
Portable Grinding Machine Operator
Rail Maintenance Worker
Railroad Track Mechanic
Railway Equipment Operator
Section Crew Person
Section Gang
Section Hand
Section Laborer
Slab Lifting Supervisor
Special Equipment Operator
Stone Crusher Operator
Track Crew Member
Track Dresser
Track Equipment Operator (TEO)
Track Grinder Operator
Track Inspector
Track Laborer
Track Layer
Track Laying Equipment Operator
Track Laying Machine Operator
Track Machine Operator
Track Machine Operator Repairer
Track Maintainer
Track Man
Track Mechanic
Track Moving Machine Operator
Track Repair Person
Track Repairer
Track Service Person
Track Supervisor
Track Surfacing Machine Operator
Track Walker
Track Welder
Track Worker
Trackman
Way and Power Track Mechanic

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$22.08 hourly, $45,920 annual.
Employment (2008):
16,870 employees