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Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance 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.

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    Work Activities

    Work Activities

    • Clean or make minor repairs to machines or equipment.
    • Drill holes through rails, tie plates, or fishplates for insertion of bolts or spikes, using power drills.
    • Raise rails, using hydraulic jacks, to allow for tie removal and replacement.
    • Drive graders, tamping machines, brooms, or ballast spreading machines to redistribute gravel or ballast between rails.
    • Observe leveling indicator arms to verify levelness and alignment of tracks.
    • Lubricate machines, change oil, or fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels.
    • Operate track wrenches to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together.
    • Grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders.
    • Paint railroad signs, such as speed limits or gate-crossing warnings.
    • Operate single- or multiple-head spike driving machines to drive spikes into ties and secure rails.
    • Turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to adjust guidelines for track alignments or grades, following specifications.
    • Push controls to close grasping devices on track or rail sections so that they can be raised or moved.
    • Operate tie-adzing machines to cut ties and permit insertion of fishplates that hold rails.
    • Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.
    • Engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.
    • Weld sections of track together, such as switch points and frogs.
    • Patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported.
    • Clean tracks or clear ice or snow from tracks or switch boxes.
    • Clean or make minor repairs to machines or equipment.
    • Clean, grade, or level ballast on railroad tracks.
    • Drive graders, tamping machines, brooms, or ballast spreading machines to redistribute gravel or ballast between rails.
    • Drive vehicles that automatically move and lay tracks or rails over sections of track to be constructed, repaired, or maintained.
    • String and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled.
    • Spray ties, fishplates, or joints with oil to protect them from weathering.
    • Dress and reshape worn or damaged railroad switch points or frogs, using portable power grinders.
    • Clean, grade, or level ballast on railroad tracks.
    • Cut rails to specified lengths, using rail saws.
    • Repair or adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts.
    • Adjust controls of machines that spread, shape, raise, level, or align track, according to specifications.

    Skills

    • Equipment Selection

      Deciding what kind of tools and equipment are needed to do a job.

    • Management of Material Resources

      Managing equipment and materials.

    • Science

      Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.

    • Operation and Control

      Using equipment or systems.

    • Negotiation

      Bringing people together to solve differences.

    • Technology Design

      Making equipment and technology useful for customers.

    • Complex Problem Solving

      Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

    • Equipment Maintenance

      Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment.

    • Service Orientation

      Looking for ways to help people.

    • Time Management

      Managing your time and the time of other people.

    • Systems Evaluation

      Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.

    • Management of Personnel Resources

      Selecting and managing the best workers for a job.

    • Mathematics

      Using math to solve problems.

    • Operations Analysis

      Figuring out what a product or service needs to be able to do.

    • Troubleshooting

      Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work.

    • Active Learning

      Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.

    • Learning Strategies

      Using the best training or teaching strategies for learning new things.

    • Programming

      Writing computer programs.

    • Systems Analysis

      Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.

    • Coordination

      Changing what is done based on other people's actions.

    • Quality Control Analysis

      Testing how well a product or service works.

    • Persuasion

      Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.

    • Judgment and Decision Making

      Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.

    • Reading Comprehension

      Reading work-related information.

    • Active Listening

      Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

    • Installation

      Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs.

    • Management of Financial Resources

      Making spending decisions and keeping track of what is spent.

    • Social Perceptiveness

      Understanding people's reactions.

    • Instructing

      Teaching people how to do something.

    • Operations Monitoring

      Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.

    • Repairing

      Repairing machines or systems using the right tools.

    • Critical Thinking

      Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

    • Speaking

      Talking to others.

    • Monitoring

      Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.

    • Writing

      Writing things for co-workers or customers.

    WorkKeys®

    Applied Math
    3
    Workplace Documents
    3
    Graphic Literacy
    4

    Abilities

    • Written Comprehension

      Reading and understanding what is written.

    • Information Ordering

      Ordering or arranging things.

    • Memorization

      Remembering words, numbers, pictures, or steps.

    • Multilimb Coordination

      Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.

    • Finger Dexterity

      Putting together small parts with your fingers.

    • Stamina

      Exercising for a long time without getting out of breath.

    • Reaction Time

      Quickly moving your hand, finger, or foot based on a sound, light, picture or other command.

    • Speech Recognition

      Recognizing spoken words.

    • Inductive Reasoning

      Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.

    • Gross Body Equilibrium

      Keeping your balance or staying upright.

    • Hearing Sensitivity

      Telling the difference between sounds.

    • Glare Sensitivity

      Seeing something even if there is a glare or very bright light.

    • Sound Localization

      Noticing the direction that a sound came from.

    • Near Vision

      Seeing details up close.

    • Auditory Attention

      Paying attention to one sound while there are other distracting sounds.

    • Visual Color Discrimination

      Noticing the difference between colors, including shades and brightness.

    • Speech Clarity

      Speaking clearly.

    • Written Expression

      Communicating by writing.

    • Mathematical Reasoning

      Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.

    • Oral Comprehension

      Listening and understanding what people say.

    • Flexibility of Closure

      Seeing hidden patterns.

    • Number Facility

      Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.

    • Gross Body Coordination

      Moving your arms, legs, and mid-section together while your whole body is moving.

    • Far Vision

      Seeing details that are far away.

    • Dynamic Flexibility

      Quickly and repeatedly bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

    • Depth Perception

      Deciding which thing is closer or farther away from you, or deciding how far away it is from you.

    • Night Vision

      Seeing at night or under low light.

    • Deductive Reasoning

      Using rules to solve problems.

    • Spatial Orientation

      Knowing where things are around you.

    • Wrist-Finger Speed

      Making fast, simple, repeated movements of your fingers, hands, and wrists.

    • Dynamic Strength

      Exercising for a long time without your muscles getting tired.

    • Speed of Closure

      Quickly knowing what you are looking at.

    • Manual Dexterity

      Holding or moving items with your hands.

    • Response Orientation

      Quickly deciding if you should move your hand, foot, or other body part.

    • Speed of Limb Movement

      Quickly moving your arms and legs.

    • Originality

      Creating new and original ideas.

    • Arm-Hand Steadiness

      Keeping your arm or hand steady.

    • Visualization

      Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.

    • Trunk Strength

      Using your lower back and stomach.

    • Selective Attention

      Paying attention to something without being distracted.

    • Rate Control

      Changing when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.

    • Static Strength

      Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying.

    • Perceptual Speed

      Quickly comparing groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

    • Time Sharing

      Doing two or more things at the same time.

    • Control Precision

      Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.

    • Explosive Strength

      Jumping, sprinting, or throwing something.

    • Extent Flexibility

      Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching with your body, arms, and/or legs.

    • Peripheral Vision

      Seeing something to your side when your are looking ahead.

    • Oral Expression

      Communicating by speaking.

    • Category Flexibility

      Grouping things in different ways.

    • Problem Sensitivity

      Noticing when problems happen.

    • Fluency of Ideas

      Coming up with lots of ideas.

    Knowledge

    • Economics and Accounting

      Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

    • Customer and Personal Service

      Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    • Production and Processing

      Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

    • Design

      Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

    • Building and Construction

      Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

    • Mechanical

      Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

    • Psychology

      Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

    • Education and Training

      Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    • Philosophy and Theology

      Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.

    • Sales and Marketing

      Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

    • Biology

      Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

    • Communications and Media

      Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

    • Chemistry

      Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

    • Fine Arts

      Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

    • Telecommunications

      Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

    • Administrative

      Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

    • Food Production

      Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

    • Computers and Electronics

      Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    • Engineering and Technology

      Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

    • Mathematics

      Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

    • Physics

      Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.

    • Therapy and Counseling

      Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

    • History and Archeology

      Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.

    • Geography

      Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

    • Foreign Language

      Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.

    • English Language

      Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    • Medicine and Dentistry

      Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

    • Public Safety and Security

      Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

    • Personnel and Human Resources

      Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

    • Transportation

      Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

    • Law and Government

      Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

    • Sociology and Anthropology

      Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.

    • Administration and Management

      Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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    Pay

    • Ohio Annual Salary 56480/yr
    • Typical Salary
    • Ohio Hourly Wage 27.16/hr
    • Typical Hourly Wage

    Ohio Employment Trends

    • Currently Employed 610
    • Yearly Projected Openings 50

    Typical Education

    Personality

    Realistic: People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.They do well at jobs that need:
    • Dependability
    • Attention to Detail
    • Concern for Others
    • Cooperation
    • Integrity
    • Adaptability/Flexibility

    Tools

    • Adjustable wrenches
    • All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled
    • Backhoes
    • Below the hook device
    • Blow torch
    • Bridge cranes
    • Calipers
    • Cold chisels
    • Dollies
    • Dump trucks
    • Ear plugs
    • Force or torque sensors
    • Forklifts
    • Global positioning system GPS receiver
    • Graders
    • Grease guns
    • Hard hats
    • Hedge clippers
    • Impact wrenches
    • Jacks
    • Light trucks or sport utility vehicles
    • Measuring tapes
    • Notebook computers
    • Picks
    • Pipe bending tools
    • Pneumatic drill
    • Pneumatic hammer
    • Pneumatic impact wrenches
    • Portable data input terminals
    • Power drills
    • Power grinders
    • Power saws
    • Precision file
    • Pressure or steam cleaners
    • Protective gloves
    • Pry bars
    • Pullers
    • Respirators
    • Safety glasses
    • Safety harnesses or belts
    • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine
    • Shovels
    • Spot welding machine
    • Sprayers
    • Tampers
    • Track bulldozers

    Technology

    • Enterprise resource planning ERP software
    • Office suite software
    • Spreadsheet software
    • Time accounting software
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