Rail Car Repairer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Rail Car Repairers Career Video



Diagnoses, adjusts, repairs, or overhauls railroad rolling stock, mine cars, or mass transit rail cars.

This career is part of the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics cluster Facility and Mobile Equipment Maintenance pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Repairs or replaces defective or worn parts such as bearings, pistons, and gears, using hand tools, torque wrenches, power tools, and welding equipment.
  • Tests units for operability before and after repairs.
  • Records conditions of cars, and repair and maintenance work performed or to be performed.
  • Removes locomotives, car mechanical units, or other components, using pneumatic hoists and jacks, pinch bars, hand tools, and cutting torches.
  • Inspects components such as bearings, seals, gaskets, wheels, and coupler assemblies to determine if repairs are needed.
  • Inspects the interior and exterior of rail cars coming into rail yards to identify defects and to determine the extent of wear and damage.
  • Adjusts repaired or replaced units as needed to ensure proper operation.
  • Performs scheduled maintenance, and cleans units and components.
  • Repairs, fabricates, and installs steel or wood fittings, using blueprints, shop sketches, and instruction manuals.
  • Repairs and maintains electrical and electronic controls for propulsion and braking systems.

Related Careers


Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Maintaining a body position that prevents falling when in an unstable position
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Rail Car Maintenance Mechanic --
  • Rail Car Mechanic --
  • Rail Car Repairman --
  • Rail Car Welder --
  • Railroad Car Repairman --
  • Train Car Repairman --
  • Rail Car Sandblaster --
  • Freight Maintenance Specialist --
  • Locomotive Repairman --