What Do Signal and Track Switch Repairers Do?
The railroad system depends upon have a fully functional signal system that lets other vehicles know when a train will be coming. As a signal and track switch repairer, your responsibilities will include installing, testing and maintaining signal equipment and track switches so that trains get to where they are going safely. You will need to repair these pieces of equipment when they break down. No real growth is projected to occur with this specific position in the next decade. 210 job openings will be created annually, but that is not enough to see any real movement in either direction.
Signal and Track Switch Repairers Skills and Abilities
Many railroad signals are operated through computer systems, so you will need to be familiar with various types of computers and software. Any potential issues could be a result of a malfunction with the electronics, so you will need to know how to troubleshoot and repair processors, chips and other items. A background in engineering science can prove to be invaluable, but you will also need to familiarize yourself with public safety ordinances so that you know exactly how the signal systems should be operating. A big part of this job requires quality control and machine maintenance, so you need to have intimate knowledge of every relevant piece of equipment. You need to know how to use your tools inside and out so that you are able to identify issues immediately.
Signal and Track Switch Repairers Duties
Various types of railroad equipment will be your responsibility, and you will be tasked with installing and maintaining all of them. You will also regularly be testing this equipment to make sure it works because you can never be too careful. Part of this may include driving to a specific site to check a signal system or track switch. If one or multiple parts are not working as they should, then you will either need to fix the issue yourself or contact the proper source to get it fixed. Some of the corrections you should know how to implement include replacing faulty wiring and tightening loose bolts. You will also need to keep records of when a particular system was inspected or needed replacement. Other tasks include:
- Testing electrical circuits.
- Lubricating equipment.
- Adjusting tension of bolts and nuts.
- Cleaning your tools.
Signal and Track Switch Repairers Tools and Technology
Although some of your time will be spent in front of a computer, you will be spending most of your time physically working with switch and signal components. Therefore, there are various tools you need to know how to use at a moment’s notice such as:
- Audio spectrum analyzers
- Articulating boom lifts
- Hand wrenches
- Digital voltage meters
Education and Training for Signal and Track Switch Repairers
Having a background as an electrician can be useful, but generally, it is not required of you to have any extensive educational background. Most people enter this field with a high school diploma or less, so do not be concerned if you do not have a college degree.
Signal and Track Switch Repairers Salary
The bottom end of the scale for track switch and signal repairer is around $19.00 an hour. In certain areas, you may be able to make $29.00 an hour, and some of the highest paid repairers in the country make over $37.00 an hour.
Signal and Track Switch Repairers Jobs by Geography
The rail transportation industry is the biggest employer of signal repairers in the United States. The states where you are going to see the greatest number of these professionals are Illinois, Texas and California. More information can be gathered about the state you live in if you are interested.