With train safety in the news lately, we thought it would be interesting to post about who is responsible for maintain the nation’s railroads.
The maintenance and repair of train tracks is typically handled by a specialized group of workers known as “track maintenance workers” or “track maintainers.” These workers are responsible for ensuring that the tracks are safe and functional for train travel.
At Amtrak, track maintenance workers are represented by the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART). They work in teams to inspect and repair tracks, replace worn out rails and ties, and ensure that the tracks are properly aligned and leveled.
Pay & benefits for “track maintainers”
The maintenance and repair of train tracks is a critical aspect of ensuring safe and reliable train travel, and the workers who perform this work play a crucial role in keeping the trains running on time.
The folks responsible for fixing and maintaining train tracks are a group of workers known as “track maintenance workers” or “track maintainers.” These workers are like the mechanics for train tracks, making sure they’re in good shape for trains to travel on.
At Amtrak, these track maintenance workers are part of a union called the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, or SMART for short. They work in teams to inspect and fix tracks, replacing old or damaged parts as needed and making sure everything is properly aligned and level.
And it’s not just the tracks themselves that need maintaining – Amtrak also has workers who take care of things like bridges, tunnels, and signals to make sure everything is working as it should.
According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for a Track Maintainer at Amtrak is around $25 per hour, with salaries ranging from about $19 to $34 per hour depending on factors like experience, location, and job performance. This translates to an annual salary range of roughly $40,000 to $70,000.
It’s worth noting that the actual salary for a Track Maintainer at Amtrak may vary depending on the specific job duties and location, as well as the collective bargaining agreement with the worker’s union. Additionally, some Track Maintainers may be employed by contractors rather than Amtrak directly, which can also affect their pay and benefits.
While the exact pay for a Track Maintainer at Amtrak may vary, it is generally a good-paying job with opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.
Amtrak vs.freight companies
Typically there are different sets of workers who maintain Amtrak railroads versus those who maintain railroads for freight companies. While some of the infrastructure, such as tracks and signals, may be shared, the maintenance and upkeep of Amtrak and freight railroads are often handled by separate teams with different job responsibilities and priorities.
At Amtrak, track maintenance workers and other infrastructure workers are responsible for ensuring that the tracks, bridges, and tunnels used by passenger trains are safe and well-maintained. These workers may be employed by Amtrak itself, or by contractors who work on Amtrak’s behalf.
Meanwhile, freight railroads typically have their own maintenance and infrastructure workers who are responsible for keeping their tracks and equipment in good condition. These workers may be employed by the freight railroads themselves or by contractors who work for them.
While there may be some overlap between the two groups of workers, the job requirements and priorities can be quite different. For example, maintenance workers for freight railroads may prioritize the movement of freight and keeping the tracks clear, while Amtrak workers may prioritize passenger safety and ensuring that the trains run on time.
It’s difficult to say definitively whether Amtrak railroads are safer than freight railroads, as safety can depend on a variety of factors, such as track conditions, equipment maintenance, and operational practices.
However, it’s worth noting that Amtrak is subject to stricter safety regulations than freight railroads. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulates both passenger and freight railroads, but it has stricter regulations for passenger railroads like Amtrak.
For example, passenger trains like Amtrak are required to have positive train control (PTC) systems installed, which can automatically slow or stop a train if it is going too fast or in danger of colliding with another train. Freight railroads were required to install PTC systems as well, but their deadline for implementation was extended several times.
Additionally, Amtrak’s safety culture and practices prioritize passenger safety, with a strong focus on training and communication among crew members. Freight railroads also have safety programs in place, but their focus may be more on the safe transportation of goods rather than passenger safety.
Ultimately, both Amtrak and freight railroads have safety programs and regulations in place to ensure safe operations, but the specific safety records can vary depending on a variety of factors.
While there may be some shared infrastructure, the maintenance and upkeep of Amtrak railroads and freight railroads are often handled by separate teams with different responsibilities and priorities.