What Do Rail Transportation Workers Do?
There are many different occupations that fall into the rail transportation worker field. No matter the specific job, all of the workers toil together to ensure that trains, whether passenger or freight, stick to their schedule and travel safely. A rail transportation worker could include locomotive engineers, conductors, brake operators, rail yard engineers, train coordinators, signal operators and switch operators.This wide range of occupations is expected to see a 3 decrease in job availability in the United States.
Rail Transportation Workers Skills and Activities
In order to work as a rail transportation worker, you have to have a certain set of skills and abilities. No matter where you work, you have to have a technical knowledge of train mechanics. If you work on a passenger car, you have to have a desire to serve and good customer service skills. You should be able to communicate well because all of these positions are team based. You have to be able to talk to customers, coworkers and supervisors. Depending on your position, you may need to be physically able to lift heavy objects, move your hands quickly and have good coordination in order to stay safe.
Rail Transportation Workers Duties
Because being a rail transportation worker is inclusive of a lot of different occupations, the duties you have can vary widely. Typically, you will have to document issues that need to be looked into further. You will have to check the mechanical state of the train and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. You may also have to operate engines, whether it is just to move it in the yard or to actually go long distances. You may have to monitor gauges and other instruments in order to ensure the train runs smoothly. You may have to make announcements on passenger trains in order to inform riders what stops you are at. You may have to review schedules of trains in order to ensure that there are no traffic jams on the rails. Your duties will largely depend on what sort of position you have.
Rail Transportation Workers Tools and Technology
In order to do your duties, you have to be familiar with certain tools and technology. A yardmaster may have to know how to run scheduling software. Other rail transportation workers have to be able to use hand tools in order to complete minor repairs. You may have to know how to use hoists to move disabled cars and locomotives. The tools and technology that you use will make your job easier and safer.
Education and Training for Rail Transportation Workers
The education you need depends on the position that you want. Typically you only have to have a high school diploma, but to be a conductor or engineer you may need to go through some formal education. There will be on the job training for any and all rail transportation workers. This training will help you understand the team dynamic and the more technical side of the job. If you do take courses, you could take:
- Locomotive Technology
- Customer Service and Sales
- Railroad and Railway Transportation
- Safety Procedures
- Heavy Equipment Maintenance Technology
Rail Transportation Workers Salary
Due to the various positions, there is a wide range of salary for rail transportation workers. You can expect to make anywhere from $32,400 to $90,300. The average worker makes about $59,500.
Rail Transportation Workers Jobs by Geography
Geography is a big factor when it comes to rail transportation workers job availability and salary. There are states like New Hampshire, Iowa and Washington that are predicted to have more job openings in the coming years than the other states. Then there are states like California, Illinois and Iowa that have a higher salary average than other states. When you start considering a career field, you have to be aware of how geography and education can affect your success.