Signal Maintainer

Keep railroad lights and signs lit and signaling properly.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$32,000 – $67,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Signal Maintainers do?

Traffic and train signals force operators to play fair. No elaborate hand gestures are required. The operator simply looks at the signal to see whether or not it’s safe to enter an intersection. A Signal Maintainer’s job is to ensure that those signals are giving the correct information.

If you’re a Signal Maintainer, you’ll likely be given a company vehicle to drive, and you spend most of your workday in that vehicle. You drive along a route of track, stopping to check each signal in your path. Then you clean the glass on the signal, make sure it’s easy to read, and replace burned-out light bulbs.

You also test the electrical circuitry to ensure that the signal is working properly, and replace wires and circuits that are damaged. Additionally, you check the safety gates to see that they truly do come down and prevent traffic from crossing the tracks when a train is coming. On top of all this, you keep accurate records of every item you’ve checked and replaced.

If a signal breaks, this can be considered an emergency. Trains move quickly and are incredibly hard to stop. And operators can’t be expected to revert to traditional traffic rules. They must have the signal fixed, and fast.

As a Signal Maintainer, you may be called out of a deep sleep to fix a broken signal, and forced to drive miles to make the repair. If you’re incredibly careful, and perform methodical testing and repairs during your workday, you can reduce these nighttime interruptions.

Should I be a Signal Maintainer?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Railroad Crossing Protection Maintainer, Signal and Communications Maintainer, Signalman See More

    How to become a Signal Maintainer

    Signal Maintainers often have an Associate's degree. Chart?chd=s:as79ba&chl=|no+college+%2813%25%29|certificate+%2842%25%29|associate%27s+%2844%25%29|bachelor%27s+%281%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,44
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