Signalers and Signal Maintainers
Railroads are very dependent on the use of signals (sounds and lights) for their operations. Not only in the way that the public is notified of when a train is coming down the tracks but also when crossing a road or highway.
The job of signaler is a very important position on a train as the operation of every railroad depends on the way that each train communicates with the general public while the trains are in motion upon the tracks.
This is especially important at railway grade crossings where the tracks cross public roadways. It's at these locations that the work of signalers is most important. Vehicles approaching a railway crossing where a train is approaching must be made aware of this by way of the flashing red signal lights and bells at each crossing. It's the responsibility of the signaler on each train to make sure that these warning lights and bells are functioning properly.
To say this position means the difference between life and death wouldn't be far off the mark at all.
What a Signal Maintainer Does
Signal Maintainers are responsible for testing and maintaining all signal and other communication apparatus that every railroad needs to have in place to function safely and effectively. By installing, maintaining and testing all signals, the Signal Maintainer makes sure that all aspects of the train's operation is carefully monitored and communicated to the engineer and conductor of the train as well as the railroad company.
By carefully keeping track of the train, the railroad company can better monitor how schedules can be altered to more effectively operate the train. Signal Maintainers are also responsible for all the signal lights and communication apparatus in the railway yard. This can include everything from the lights on the train instrument panels to the many signal lights along each track. Signal Maintainers are part of the repair and maintenance teams that every railway company has in place to ensure the trains stay running safely and effectively.
Signal maintainers generally earn anywhere from $15.75 to $27.45 an hour depending on the company and the location of the work.