Signal and Track Switch Repairer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Installs, inspects, tests, maintains, or repairs electric gate crossings, signals, signal equipment, track switches, section lines, or intercommunications systems within a railroad system.

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


A person in this career:

  • Installs, inspects, maintains, and repairs various railroad service equipment on the road or in the shop, including railroad signal systems.
  • Inspects and tests operation, mechanical parts, and circuitry of gate crossings, signals, and signal equipment such as interlocks and hotbox detectors.
  • Inspects switch-controlling mechanisms on trolley wires and in track beds, using hand tools and test equipment.
  • Drives motor vehicles to job sites.
  • Tightens loose bolts, using wrenches, and tests circuits and connections by opening and closing gates.
  • Inspects electrical units of railroad grade crossing gates and repairs loose bolts and defective electrical connections and parts.
  • Replaces defective wiring, broken lenses, or burned-out light bulbs.
  • Records and reports information about mileage or track inspected, repairs performed, and equipment requiring replacement.
  • Inspects, maintains, and replaces batteries as needed.
  • Lubricates moving parts on gate-crossing mechanisms and swinging signals.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • 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
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • 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
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Signal and Communications Maintainer --
  • Signal Inspector --
  • Signal Maintainer --
  • Signal Maintenance Technician --
  • Signal Supervisor --
  • Signal System Testing Maintainer --
  • Signal Technician --
  • Signalman --
  • Train Control Electronic Technician --
  • Train Control Technician --