Railway Maintenance Career Opportunities
Railway maintenance workers are essential to ensure that trains stay running and that the rails they run on are in good shape.
By carrying out routine inspections and performing maintenance tasks such as maintaining rail embankments, fences and bridges along the track, maintenance workers ensure that trains can operate on the rails in a safe and effective manner.
Some maintenance work involves simple tasks such as patrolling and observation of the tracks while other tasks require far more effort such as replacement of damaged or old rail sections and shoring up of eroded embankments along the tracks.
Without these very important railroad personnel, many train companies simply could not function.
Maintenance workers work outdoors in all sorts of weather and in all seasons. The work is usually performed as part of a small team, with some workers doing one part of the job and others doing another part. Protective clothing such as hard hats, gloves and high-visibility outerwear are mandatory when work is being carried out along ‘live’ tracks (where trains are running). Being aware of the dangerous environment the work is carried out in is very important for the safe performance of the work. Some work can involve the simple clearing of debris from tracks after storms while other tasks may involve a full team of workers and take several days or weeks of work in an area.
A lot of the maintenance work is carried out overnight or on weekends so as not to interfere with normal rail traffic.
You should be physically capable of doing the work, and have some degree of capability with hand tools. Many companies will train maintenance workers in the proper use of specialized tools such as rail clamping machines and welders. Training can take anywhere from one to four weeks and workers are paid while they’re on the training course.
Railway Maintenance workers start out with an annual salary of $52,300 and with experience or supervisory duties this salary can rise to $62,455 annual salary. As with any railroad job, this salary may change depending on the company and the area of the country you find work. Shift allowances and overtime work will also raise this salary.