Trackman Career

Job Description: 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.

*A job as a Trackman falls under the broader career category of Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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What Trackmans do:

  • Repair or adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts.
  • Cut rails to specified lengths, using rail saws.
  • Operate track-wrench machines to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together.
  • Lubricate machines, change oil, or fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels.
  • 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.
  • Clean, grade, or level ballast on railroad tracks.
  • Clean tracks or clear ice or snow from tracks or switch boxes.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike pullers to pull old spikes from ties.
  • Engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.
  • Grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders.
  • Patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported.
  • Operate single- or multiple-head spike driving machines to drive spikes into ties and secure rails.
  • Dress and reshape worn or damaged railroad switch points or frogs, using portable power grinders.
  • Adjust controls of machines that spread, shape, raise, level, or align track, according to specifications.
  • Observe leveling indicator arms to verify levelness and alignment of 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.
  • Push controls to close grasping devices on track or rail sections so that they can be raised or moved.
  • Turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to adjust guidelines for track alignments or grades, following specifications.
  • 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.
  • Operate tie-adzing machines to cut ties and permit insertion of fishplates that hold rails.
  • Paint railroad signs, such as speed limits or gate-crossing warnings.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Holland Code Chart for a Trackman

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