What Do Track Equipment Operators Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Track Equipment Operators

Track Equipment Operators 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.

Salary
$57430
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality



Job Description

Job Description

Track Equipment Operators 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. They also patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported.

Other tasks include:

  • Repair or adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts.
  • Weld sections of track together, such as switch points and frogs.
  • 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 track wrenches to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together.
  • String and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled.

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

Job satisfaction

63%

How meaningful is this job

56%


63% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 56% 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 At Work

On a daily basis, Track Equipment Operators operate single- or multiple-head spike driving machines to drive spikes into ties and secure rails. They lubricate machines, change oil, or fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels.

A typical day for a Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operator will also include:

  • Patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported.
  • Adjust controls of machines that spread, shape, raise, level, or align track, according to specifications.
  • Observe leveling indicator arms to verify levelness and alignment of tracks.
  • Raise rails, using hydraulic jacks, to allow for tie removal and replacement.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.

We asked some Track Equipment 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? 75% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 61% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 89% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 14% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 6% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 43% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Track Equipment Operators also grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders. They may also repair or adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Track Equipment Operators Push controls to close grasping devices on track or rail sections so that they can be raised or moved. They might also String and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled.

In addition, they Engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.

To some Track Equipment Operators, it is also their responsibility to Raise rails, using hydraulic jacks, to allow for tie removal and replacement.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operator, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Track Equipment Operators work in an office-style work environment?

Never
70%


Once a year
21%


Do Track Equipment Operators work outdoors?

Every day
95%


Once a week
4%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like 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..

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

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Track Equipment Operators

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Related to Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes474061.htm


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