7531 Railway yard and track maintenance workers

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Lead statement

Railway yard workers regulate yard traffic, couple and uncouple trains and perform related yard activities. Railway track maintenance workers operate machines and equipment to lay, maintain and repair railway tracks. They are employed by railway transport companies.

Example Titles

  • ballast regulator operator – railway
  • car controller – railway
  • control tower operator – railway
  • equipment operator, railway
  • machine operator – railway
  • rail saw operator
  • section worker – railway
  • signal tower operator – railway
  • spike machine operator – railway
  • switch tender – railway yard
  • tie tamper operator – railway
  • towerman/woman – railway transport
  • track patroller, railway
  • trackman/woman, railway
  • yard coupler – railway
  • yard worker – railway

Main duties

Railway yard and track maintenance workers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate control panel switches from railway yard tower to set traffic signals and to activate train switches that regulate railway traffic in railway yards
  • Operate car retarders, turntables and track switches to align locomotives and cars as required for coupling, uncoupling or servicing
  • Operate machines and equipment to lay, maintain and repair railway tracks, align tracks, transfer, spread, level and tamp ballast around ties and rails and to clear snow from tracks
  • Switch cars according to instructions which indicate the location, disposition and number of cars
  • Lubricate moving parts of railway cars and locomotives
  • Clean and make minor repairs to machines and equipment
  • Patrol assigned track sections to identify and report damaged or broken track
  • Perform other track maintenance duties as directed.

Employment requirements

  • Some secondary school education is usually required.
  • Experience as a railway labourer is required.
  • On the job training is provided
  • Railway yard workers require a Canadian Rail Operating Rules certificate.

Additional information

  • Progression to a position such as brakeman is possible with experience.