Profession rail switchperson

Rail switchpersons assist in the tasks of the traffic controller. They operate switches and signals according to rail traffic control instructions, according to regulations and compliant with safety rules.

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Personality Type


  • Signal box parts

    Know and understand the structures located besides railway tracks known as signal boxes, interlocking towers, signal posts, and signal cabins, from which signals, points, and other equipment are controlled.


  • Shunt outbound loads

    Shunt outbound freight loads to and from inbound and outbound trains.

  • Follow switching instructions in rail operations

    Read and comprehend the instructions on switching rail cars and wagons, and perform switching operations accordingly.

  • Operate switching locomotives

    Operate locomotives for switching, coupling and uncoupling rail cars for loading and unloading freight.

  • Apply signalling control procedures

    Control train movements; operate railway signals and block systems to ensure that trains operate safely, on correct routes, and on time.

  • Keep task records

    Organise and classify records of prepared reports and correspondence related to the performed work and progress records of tasks.

  • Operate railway switches

    Operate railroad switches to control the direction of trains in order to route them to their destinations.

  • Manage rail yard resources

    Manage rail yard resources in order to ensure maximum efficiency. Prepare resource usage in advance in order to limit the time trains spend in yards.

  • Use handbrake

    Use the handbrake as the most effective method to correct high-speed understeering. Use handbrake to diminish danger and increase confidence on uneven roads.

  • Handle stressful situations

    Deal with and manage highly stressful situations in the workplace by following adequate procedures, communicating in a quiet and effective manner, and remaining level-headed when taking decisions.

  • Shunt rolling stock in marshalling yards

    Shunt rolling stock to form trains in marshalling yards.

  • Follow given instructions

    Follow instructions to achieve goals and meet deadlines.

  • Use waterway traffic control systems

    Operate various systems of waterway traffic control; cooperate with traffic control operators, lockkeepers and bridge keepers.

  • Cooperate with colleagues

    Cooperate with colleagues in order to ensure that operations run effectively.

  • Operate railway lever frames

    Operate mechanical lever frames housed in signal boxes. Understand different applications of levers such as interlocking or signal receiving; read and comprehend the track diagram and signalling layout mounted above the lever frame. Operate hand-powered interlockings, power frames, mechanical, pneumatic or electric levers.

  • Shunt inbound loads

    Shunt inbound freight loads to and from railcars for inbound and outbound trains.

  • Ensure compliance with railway regulation

    Ensure compliance with all railway rules, procedures, and legal regulations relating to safety, operations, and EU frameworks.

  • Use rigging tools

    Employ rigging tools such as cables, ropes, pulleys and winches to safely secure high structures.

  • Enforce railway safety regulations

    Promote and enforce safety procedures and EU regulations to ensure that railway safety is generally maintained and continuously improved, taking into consideration the development of European legislation.

Optional knowledge and skills

follow strict level crossing operating procedures level crossing regulations

Source: Sisyphus ODB