What do railroad workers actually do?

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Railroad track workers build, inspect, maintain, and repair more than three hundred thousand miles of railroad track across the country. Working in crews called road gangs, they inspect the rails, railroad ties, and roadbeds for signs of wear. Other crew members then rebuild washed-out roadbeds, replace railroad ties, and lay new sections of rail. They use power equipment, such as spikedriving machines and bulldozers, as well as picks and shovels. Regular crews maintain the tracks, also called the right-of-way, throughout the year. Extra crews are needed to repair large sections of track at certain times of the year, especially in the northern part of the country. The railroads in the Chicago area employ the greatest number of railroad track workers.

In addition to track workers, there are many other positions - electricians, signal maintainers, communications technicians, bridge workers, locomotive mechanics, train dispatchers, computer programmers, car cleaners, plumbers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, architects, and at least a dozen more fields. Describing the work of all the dedicated railroad workers on any major railroad can fill a small book.
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