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Track Laborer

The wondrous achievement of the transcontinental railroad wasn't in building the trains. It was in laying the track. And it's still our track that keeps us in business. Everything we do depends on our more than 32,000 miles of track. Union Pacific has invested more than $1 billion each of the last six years on track improvements.

In this entry-level position, you will make those improvements. This is outdoor work – removing and replacing ties, pulling and driving spikes and shoveling rock ballast. You will handle equipment that weighs up to 75 pounds and help others handle even heavier equipment – like a track replacement train, the TRT 909. The TRT 909 pulls up old wooden ties and rail and replaces them with concrete ties and new rail all in one pass.

You will be responsible for keeping the track and trackbed in good shape. That means checking for broken rails, defective switches, deteriorating trackbed, track obstructions and weather-related problems. Even the trains themselves are partly your responsibility. You will watch for shifted loads or spillage. In your work, you will use air hammers, air- or gas-powered wrenches, rail drills and portable abrasive saws.


  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must speak and read English because you will be asked to follow posted bulletins, regulations, rule books, timetables, switch lists, etc.
  • This is heavy, physical work. You must have stamina and strength and pass a Physical Ability Test to be considered for an interview.
  • You must pass a Workplace Practices Test (see sample) to be considered for an interview.
  • Two years of welding experience is preferred.


  • Bailey Yard (North Platte, NE)
  • Hinkle Locomotive Facility (Hinkle, OR)
  • Davis Yard (Roseville, CA)
  • Jenks Shop (North Little Rock, AR)


Newly hired Track Laborer/Welders can expect to earn about $15.90 an hour, with actual pay depending on location and Union-negotiated agreements.


As a Track Laborer/ Welder, you must complete mandated training related to safety, company policies and work procedures. Specific training – welding, track work, machine operation, crane operation, bridge work, etc. – is available if you wish to be promoted within the Engineering Department.

Potential Career Path:

Track Laborer Career Path 


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