What Do Railroad Operators Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

Stanley TanLeave a Comment



daily life of a Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operator
are Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators happy with their job

Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators

Other names for this job might include Air Brake Operator, Air Hose Coupler, Brake Holder, Brake Rider, Brakeman, Car Coupler, Car Hopper, Car Rider, Car Runner, Car Shifter


  • $53990
    Salary
  • 61%
    Job satisfaction
  • Easy
    Becoming one
  • Bad
    Job growth
OwlGuru Rank

D



Being A Railroad Operator: What You Really Do


In this job description guide, you will find out what do Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operator or not.



Job summary

Railroad Operators operate railroad track switches. Couple or uncouple rolling stock to make up or break up trains. Signal engineers by hand or flagging. May inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and hand brakes.

We asked Railroad Operators how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

61%

How meaningful is this job

47%


61% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical day

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On a daily basis, Railroad Operators Signal locomotive engineers to start or stop trains when coupling or uncoupling cars, using hand signals, lanterns, or radio communication. They Pull or push track switches to reroute cars.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Railroad Operator is to Observe signals from other crew members so that work activities can be coordinated.

Some may also Inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and handbrakes to ensure that they are securely fastened and functioning properly.

In a normal work day, another thing that Railroad Operators do is they Raise levers to couple and uncouple cars for makeup and breakup of trains.

In addition to that, they Receive oral or written instructions from yardmasters or yard conductors indicating track assignments and cars to be switched..

A typical day for A Railroad Operator look like this:

Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
Control equipment that regulates vehicle traffic.
Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.

We asked some Railroad Operators a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?54% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?16% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?73% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?75% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?61% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?19% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?14% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?57% said yes



Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Railroad Operators do, they Answer questions from passengers concerning train rules, stations, and timetable information.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Provide transportation information to passengers or customers.



Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)


In a typical work week as A Railroad Operator, you can expect to work More than 40 hours per week.

Do Railroad Operators work in an office-style work environment?

Everyday
1.05%

Once a week
0%

Once a month
0%

Once a year
1.06%

Never
97.89%

Do Railroad Operators work in a warehouse-style work environment?

Everyday
47.9%

Once a week
1.25%

Once a month
0%

Once a year
0%

Never
50.85%

Do Railroad Operators work outdoors?

Everyday
100%

Once a week
0%

Once a month
0%

Once a year
0%

Never
0%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers


You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the careers require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

You also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.



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Rank: D
Salary: $55820

They coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight trains. Yardmasters review train schedules and switching orders and coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains and yard switching.
Rank: D
Salary: $44810

They drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.
Rank: C
Salary: $57000

They drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.
Rank: C+
Salary: $51540

They operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. May also perform similar services in mining exploration operations. Includes fishing-tool technicians.
Rank: C
Salary: $50740

They 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.






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Career type

Transportation
Transportation Operations

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Salary
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Related to Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators Job Description

Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators job description, what do Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators do, typical day for Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators, what is it like to work as a Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operator, how many hours do Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators work, day to day work of a Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operator

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/transportation-and-material-moving/railroad-occupations.htm
http://www.amtrak.com/
https://www.aar.org/

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Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators
Written by: Stanley Tan
Railroad Operators operate railroad track switches. Couple or uncouple rolling stock to make up or break up trains. Signal engineers by hand or flagging. May inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and hand brakes.
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