Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators

What they do:

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.

On the job, you would:

  • 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.

Knowledge

  • Mechanical
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Transportation
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • 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.
  • English Language
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • Education and Training
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics
  • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Production and Processing
  • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring
  • Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control
  • Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Troubleshooting
  • Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Repairing
  • Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management
  • Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Abilities

  • Manual Dexterity
  • The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Control Precision
  • The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Multilimb Coordination
  • The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Depth Perception
  • The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness
  • The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Reaction Time
  • The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Static Strength
  • The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Far Vision
  • The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Near Vision
  • The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Work Activities

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Getting Information
  • Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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.
  • First Interest High-Point
  • Primary-Rank Descriptiveness
  • Second Interest High-Point
  • Secondary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness
  • Third Interest High-Point
  • Tertiary-Cutoff/Rank Descriptiveness

Work Styles

  • 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.
  • Concern for Others
  • Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence
  • Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.