Railroad Signal and Switch Operators


Salary Median (2017)


Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)

-1.6% (little or no change)

Most Common Level of Education

High School Diploma


What Railroad Signal and Switch Operators Do

Operate railroad track switches. Couple or uncouple rolling stock to make up or break up trains. Signal engineers by hand or flagging. May inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and hand brakes.

Other Job Titles Railroad Signal and Switch Operators May Have

Brakeman, Carman, Locomotive Switch Operator, Railroad Brakeman, Railroad Switchman, Switch Foreman, Terminal Carman, Trainman, Trains Service Conductor, Transportation Specialist

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • Signal locomotive engineers to start or stop trains when coupling or uncoupling cars, using hand signals, lanterns, or radio communication.
  • Pull or push track switches to reroute cars.
  • Observe signals from other crew members so that work activities can be coordinated.
  • Inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and handbrakes to ensure that they are securely fastened and functioning properly.
  • Raise levers to couple and uncouple cars for makeup and breakup of trains.

This page includes information from theO*NET 25.0 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.