Signal and Track Switch Repairers – Job Description, Training & Progression

Signal and Track Switch Repairers – Job Description, Training & Progression

Signal and track switch repairers work with servers, controllers, and railway equipment, ensuring all safety and signaling instructions are accurately transmitted. This article will give a detailed overview of the occupation, some examples of the job, and what training is required to get into the field and progress in it.

Job Description

Signal and track switch repairers work on railway systems to install, inspect, test, troubleshoot, maintain, and repair components that keep the trains moving safely and efficiently. It’s their job to keep the track switching systems on position while making sure the signals are working accurately. They also install and fix devices that control speed limits, prevent accidents and collisions, and detect defective equipment on the railway. Signal and track switch repairers must comply with state and federal safety guidelines and make each railways’s operation safe and secure.

Examples of the Job

Signal and track switch repairers use numerous tools and equipment for their work, including multimeters, oscilloscopes, and signal testing devices. Other examples of their job duties include:

  • Testing and inspecting circuits, connections, and infrastructures to ensure they work as designed.
  • Calibrating every signal and switch to meet the required settings.
  • Replacing and repairing electrical and mechanical wiring, sensors, and other control apparatus.
  • Troubleshooting signal and switching systems to identify and rectify faults.
  • Making necessary adjustments and repairs to signaling devices, switch machines, and other control apparatus.

Education and Training Required

To become a signal and track switch repairer, you’ll require at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Still, many railway companies prefer candidates with post-secondary education in electronics, mechanical maintenance, or a related field. Most employers offer on-the-job training for new recruits, including classroom education, safety orientation, and practical experience. Further, to progress in the field, employees can obtain certifications from the National Academy of Railroad Sciences.

Progression in the Field

The progression from novice to expert level in signal and track repair varies according to employer needs and the employee’s level of dedication and work quality. Initial trainee-level positions are available, and over the years, a signal and track switch repairer can work up to supervisory and management positions. Often, employees must complete training courses to become experts in specific skill areas of the job, making them eligible for advance-level positions or specializations. Further, employees can obtain industry standard certifications, which can open up new opportunities for advancement within the industry.

How to Enter the Field

Getting into the signal and track switch repairer field requires appropriate education and training. The best way to begin is by receiving a diploma or degree in electronics or electromechanical maintenance. Anyone interested should also gain knowledge and exposure in railway operation through internships or apprenticeships with rail companies. Lastly, being aware of railway industry developments, technological advancements, and regulations can increase the likelihood of obtaining a job in this field.

As per the salary data provided for the occupation of Signal and track switch repairers in the US, the national average salary ranges from $75,649.60 to $82,763.20 per year. The salary ranges for full-time workers and union workers are slightly higher compared to the national average, with not able to be leveled workers earning the highest salary.

The job level for Signal and track switch repairers is not able to be leveled, indicating that salaries are not directly tied to experience, skills, or education. Instead, most of the pay packages are based on time-based pay, and the salaries are determined based on the number of hours worked.

The occupation of Signal and track switch repairers is significantly influenced by unions. Union workers earn a higher salary range compared to non-union workers. The effect of a union on a job role can be positive as it represents collective bargaining, providing better job security, increased benefits, and better working conditions.

The geography of employment for Signal and track switch repairers also significantly affects their salaries. The highest average salaries for Signal and track switch repairers are found in District of Columbia and Hawaii, with salaries ranging from $87,250 to $94,760 per year. Meanwhile, the lowest average salaries for this occupation are in Arkansas and Montana, with salaries ranging from $52,090 to $57,200 per year.

In conclusion, Signal and track switch repairers are earning a decent salary, but it is mainly attributed to time-based pay. However, unions play a significant role in providing better salaries and job security to such workers. Furthermore, geography is an important factor influencing the salary of Signal and track switch repairers, with some regions offering higher pay scales than others.