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Career and Education Opportunities for Track Layers in Palmdale, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for track layers in the Palmdale, California area. The national trend for track layers sees this job pool growing by about 14.8% over the next eight years. In general, track layers lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines.

A person working as a track layer can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,460 annually on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,220 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Track layers earn more than people working in the category of Paving generally in California and more than people in the Paving category nationally.

There are 210 schools of higher education in the Palmdale area, including one within twenty-five miles of Palmdale where you can get a degree to start your career as a track layer. The most common level of education for track layers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a track layer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Track Layer

Track Layer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, track layers lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. They also includes ballast cleaning machine operators and road bed tamping machine operators.

Track layers repair and adjust track switches, using wrenches and replacement parts. They also trim rails to specified lengths, using rail saws. Equally important, track layers have to operate track-wrench equipment to tighten or loosen bolts at joints that hold ends of rails together. They are often called upon to lubricate machines and fill hydraulic reservoirs to specified levels. They are expected to clean and make minor repairs to machines and equipment. Finally, track layers engage mechanisms that lay tracks or rails to specified gauges.

Every day, track layers are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to judge how far and close objects are from one another and themselves. It is also important that they lift, push and move large and heavy objects.

It is important for track layers to grind ends of new or worn rails to attain smooth joints, using portable grinders. They are often called upon to patrol assigned track sections so that damaged or broken track can be located and reported. They also operate single- or multiple-head spike driving equipment to drive spikes into ties and secure rails. They are sometimes expected to dress and reshape worn or damaged railroad switch points and frogs, using portable power grinders. Somewhat less frequently, track layers are also expected to turn wheels of machines, using lever controls, to modify guidelines for track alignments and grades, following specifications.

and string and attach wire-guidelines machine to rails so that tracks or rails can be aligned or leveled. And finally, they sometimes have to drive graders and ballast cleaning/spreading equipment to redistribute gravel and ballast between rails.

Like many other jobs, track layers must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Palmdale include:

  • Black Top Paver Operator. Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways, or equipment used for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.
  • Highway Maintenance Worker. Maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. May also mow or clear brush from along road or plow snow from roadway.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Track Layer Training

Rio Hondo College - Whittier, CA

Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601-1616. Rio Hondo College is a large college located in Whittier, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,505 students. Rio Hondo College has a two to four year program in Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Palmdale, California

Palmdale, California
Palmdale, California photo by Jamesb01

Palmdale is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 143,197, which has grown by 22.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Palmdale, 132, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Palmdale are priced at $218,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred seventy-four new homes were built in Palmdale, down from eight hundred thirty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Palmdale are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 43 minutes. More than 13.3% of Palmdale residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Palmdale is 15.6%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Palmdale residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Palmdale is home to the Ritter Ranch and the Palmdale City Library as well as McAdam Park and Tejon Park.