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Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator

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All About Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators

Position Description 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.

Life As a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Raise levers to couple and uncouple cars for makeup and breakup of trains.
  • Refuel and lubricate engines.
  • Watch for and relay traffic signals to start and stop cars during shunting.
  • Provide passengers with assistance entering and exiting trains.
  • Connect air hoses to cars, using wrenches.
  • Record numbers of cars available, numbers of cars sent to repair stations, and types of service needed.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator?

These are the skills Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

  • Trains Service Conductor
  • Car Hopper
  • Track Helper
  • Car Rider
  • Railcar Brake Operator

Is There Job Demand for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators?

In the United States, there were 19,300 jobs for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator. There will be an estimated 1,700 positions for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator are Nebraska, Texas, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Louisiana, Tennessee, or Wisconsin. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator Salary

The average yearly salary of a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator ranges between $34,610 and $85,590.

Salary Ranges for Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators who work in South Carolina, Massachusetts, or Minnesota, make the highest salaries.

How much do Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $48,250
Arkansas $45,000
Florida $39,450
Georgia $54,570
Illinois $63,030
Indiana $51,600
Iowa $49,980
Kansas $63,980
Kentucky $49,850
Louisiana $54,650
Maryland $60,100
Massachusetts $70,560
Michigan $60,940
Minnesota $67,900
Missouri $63,610
Montana $56,520
Nebraska $61,200
New Jersey $57,610
New York $72,170
North Carolina $57,250
Ohio $58,440
Oklahoma $61,580
Oregon $65,970
Pennsylvania $56,080
South Carolina $72,930
Texas $57,890
Utah $49,270
Virginia $46,540
Washington $66,160
West Virginia $49,550
Wisconsin $65,780
Wyoming $58,390

What Tools do Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Data entry software
  • Route mapping software
  • Time tracking software
  • Electronic train management systems ETMS

How to Become a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator

Are there Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators education requirements?

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator?

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator Work Experience

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators Sector

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator might also be interested in the following careers:

References:

Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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