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Railroad Safety Series 2121

Railroad Safety Series, 2121

Individual Occupational Requirements

Education And Experience Requirements

The following table shows the amounts of education and/or experience required to qualify for positions covered by this standard.

GS-5 3 years, 1 year of which was equivalent to at least GS-4 None 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree
GS-7 None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-5 None
GS-9 None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-7 None
GS-11 None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-9 None
and above
None 1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level None

Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for positions at the GS-5 level only.

General Experience (for GS-5 positions):

Experience that provided:

  • Knowledge of the construction, operation, overhaul, maintenance, repair, or installation of mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment used in an industrial setting;
  • Ability to read and understand written material; and
  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints, specifications, or related technical material.

Qualifying general experience may have been gained in work such as:

  • Machinist, electrician, switchtender, brakeman, fireman, or gang foreman with a railroad.
  • Electrician in an industrial setting that involved evaluating blueprints for accuracy and tracing defects in circuitry.
  • Repairing or installing industrial type diesel engines or electric motors.
  • Engineering technician work that involved preparation of blueprints and testing or design of mechanical, electrical, or electronic equipment.
  • Maintaining, inspecting, or testing bulk containers used to transport hazardous materials such as explosives, compressed gases, poisons, or radioactive material on any mode of transportation.
  • Installing or repairing mechanical, electronic, or electrical equipment, such as track or signal systems, on rapid transit systems.
  • Firefighting or fire inspection involving industrial-type equipment in oil refineries or chemical plants.


Education (for GS-5 positions only):

Major study -- engineering, electronics, physics, occupational or industrial safety, or other fields related to the position.
Education is not creditable for positions above the GS-5 level. The superior academic achievement provision is not applicable to positions in this series.

Specialized Experience (for positions above GS-5):

For GS-7: Experience that demonstrated:

  • Knowledge of basic safety practices and techniques related to the railroad industry; and
  • Basic inspection techniques.

For GS-9 and above: Experience that demonstrated:

  • Knowledge of the railroad industry, including economic and operating considerations and equipment;
  • Knowledge of the general safety and health principles and practices applicable to the railroad industry;
  • Knowledge of railroad accident investigation techniques; and
  • Skill in written and oral communication.

In addition, applicants for inspector and specialist positions must demonstrate possession of the knowledge, skills, and abilities for the specialization for which application is made to the degree required by the position. Only those elements required by the position to be filled, as identified below, will be used in evaluating candidates' specialized experience.

Hazardous Materials:

  • Practical knowledge of the typical reactions of different hazardous commodities to various environmental conditions and of safe procedures for containing or controlling fires, leaks, or explosions of these materials;
  • Knowledge of the construction, testing, and retesting of containers used to ship hazardous materials by rail; and
  • Knowledge of Federal regulations and standards governing the shipment of hazardous materials by rail, including containerization, loading, handling, documentation, and placarding.


  • Knowledge of railroad track system construction, maintenance, testing, or inspection techniques;
  • Knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of various track system configurations; and
  • Knowledge of Federal railroad track safety standards.

Signals and Train Control:

  • Knowledge of the design, installation, maintenance, testing, or inspection of signal and train control systems and their capabilities and limitations;
  • Knowledge of applicable Federal laws and regulations pertaining to railroad signaling and train control systems; and
  • Knowledge of locomotive braking systems and their relationship to and interface with train control or automatic train stop systems and braking distances.

Operating Practices:

  • Knowledge of railroad operating practices, rules, and procedures, especially as they relate to safety issues; and
  • Knowledge of Federal regulations and standards relating to railroad operations and requirements in such areas as hours of service, accident reporting, blue signal protection of workers, rear end markers, radio communication, railroad employee qualifications, and railroad employee testing.

Motive Power and Equipment:

  • Knowledge of the design, maintenance, or inspection of various types of locomotive and freight cars currently in use and their capabilities and limitations;
  • Knowledge of the installation, maintenance, or testing of railroad safety appliances and power brakes, their capabilities and limitations; and
  • Knowledge of the applicable Federal laws and regulations pertaining to inspection and testing of locomotives, freight cars, safety appliances, and power brakes.

Qualifying specialized experience may have been demonstrated in work such as:

  • Government railroad safety work.
  • Signal maintainer, gang foreman, locomotive engineer, conductor, maintenance-of-way inspector, or yard master for a railroad.
  • Inspector of work methods, final work products, or safety practices for a railroad equipment manufacturer.
  • Hazardous materials work for other modes of transportation that involved interface with the railroad industry.


Applicants may be required to demonstrate in a pre-employment interview that they possess the personal characteristics necessary for Railroad Safety work.

Requirements For Motor Vehicle Operation

Incumbents of positions in this series must possess and maintain a valid State motor vehicle operator's permit while they are employed in order to perform the duties of the positions.

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