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Details for 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 road bed tamping machine operators.

Tasks

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

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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • 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.

Skills

Related Careers

  • Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators
  • Highway Maintenance Workers
  • Logging Equipment Operators
  • Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators
  • Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators
  • Pile-Driver Operators
  • Shuttle Car Operators
Wages for this career
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