jobs which are common throughout the railroad industry have major similarities from property to property.  While minor variations do exist from railroad to railroad, and sometimes from location to location on the same railroad, the underlying personnel req ' uircments of a specific job classification tend to remain relatively constant throughout the industry.  With this fact in mind, the Railroad Personnel Association has developed this job analysis consisting of three basic parts:


PART A - Duties and Res ponsibilitics; this is a list of core tasks which arc normally the "backbone"



PART B -    Critical Personnel Requirements; this list dstcincs the underlying behaviors that arc required of the incumbent to perform the core tasks.


PART C -    Job Setting Characteristics; this part describes the conditions under which most incumbents perform the job.


job information was supplied by a Task Force (PART D) made up of (1) jcb incumbents and (2) supervisors or others intimately familiar with the ' job; they were drawn from several different railroads.  Professional direction was provided by C. H. Lawshe, PhD, Licensed Industrial Psychologist, 1005 Vinc Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906.  General procedures used and technical data are included in Part E.


Prior to release for distribution to the railroad industry, the document was reviewed and approved by the Job Analysis Project Steering Committee of the Railroad Personnel Association.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




Job Summary.  The duties of signalman encompass the construc@ion, installation, repair, maintenance, testing, and inspection of signal systems.  These signal systems include automatic block signal systems, traffic control systems, train stop, train control and cab signal systems, interlocking systems, rail-highway grade crossing protection, automatic classification yards, hot box detectors, broken flange detectors, and other similar devices, appliances; and systems. (from Federal Hours of Service Act)


Dictionary of Occupational Titles.  The DOT lists one related job: 822.281-026 Sign Maintainer.


Progression.  Essentially all Signalmen begin as Signal Helpers, Assistant Signalmen, Student Signalmen, or in other classifications which are probationary and/or training jobs.  Those who are successful progress to the Signalman classification.




For information r copies contact Mr. H. Stephen Dewhurst, Assistant Vice President, Association of American Railro@,

American Railroads Building, Washington, D.C. 20036


1981, Railroad Personnel Association




The statements in this part arc work behaviors or actions performed to achieve the objectives of th'c job.  They were identified by the Task Force and arc sometimes called tasks oriob activities.  The Importance Degree following each statement was assigned by the Task Force and indicates its relative importance on an industry wide basis. (5 = Most Important)




1.       Operates rail or highway vehicle for transportation to wayside locations to install, inspect, test, maintain, or repair grade crossing warning systems, signals, and signal equipment, such as interlocks and hotbox detectors (Importance Degree: 5)


2.       Inspects, tests, and maintains batteries to insure proper operation. (Importance Degree: 4)


3.       Inspects and tests signal circuitry,, using standard electrical and/or electronic testing equipment (Importance Degree: 4)


4.       Replaces defective components, wiring, broken lenses, or light bulbs (Importance Degree: 5)


5.  Cleans signal equipment including signs and lenses with cloths and solvent (Importance Degree: 3)


6. Lubricates moving parts on mechanical equipment such as:

Switch machines, car retarders, and semaphore signals. (Importance Degree: 3)


7. Inspects, tests, and maintains signal equipment such as: grade crossing warning devices, power switches, and switch air unit controllers (Importance Degree: 5)


8. Installs, tests, and maintains retarder systems. (Importance

Degree: 3)


9.  Compiles reports including: mileage or track inspected, tests performed, repairs made, and equipment requiring replacement (Importance Degree,: 3)


10-  May utilize a range of chemical materials including herbicides, paints and solvents (Importance Degree: 2)






Each numbered and und@ed item in this put is a generic category of behavior (a) which can be observed and/or reports (b) which is common to a YaActy of jobs, and (c) which was judged by the Task Force to be critical for performing thisjob in a safe and satisfactory manner. it is sometimes caucd aperfor?nance do@in.


Listed under each gencralcategory is one or more specificjob elements identified by the Task Force (a) as commonly occurring and (b) as representative of the category.  CoRectively, those under a p@cular category constitute an operational d@ition of that category and delineate a personnel requirement of the job.




1. Recognizing Colors


-   Distinguishes colors displayed by signals, informational signs, and apparatus, such as: lights, flags, reflectorized devices, colored placards


-   Distinguishes color coded wires while installing equipment and while performing trouble shooting activities


This performance domain is a component of each of the fol-

lowin@ "Duties-and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 3, 4, & 12



2.       Understanding rinted/Written Information


-   Reads rule books dealing with safety rules and maintenance of way


-   Reads timetables, special instructions, and book of standards or maintenance manuals


- Reads manufacturer's equipment manuals and catalogs

- Reads company job training manuals

This performance domain is a component of each of the fol-

lowing "Duties and Responsibilitiesol listed in PART A:

3, 4, 6, 7, 8, & 9                                                                             1, 2,



3. Understanding Oral                  Communications


- Receives oral instructions from supervisor


- Receives oral explanation of rules and regulations, sometimes one-on-one and sometimes in classroom


- Receives oral on-the-job training


- Coordinates work with co-worker(s) through discussion where effectiveness depends upon understanding others


3. Understanding oral Communications (continued)



Receives track, time, and direction information from dispatcher regarding train movements


This performance domain is a component of eac@ of the following "Dutiei-and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 3, 4, 6, & 7



4. Understanding/Applying Electrical and/or Electronic T-rinciples


- NOTE: All signal systems listed in the Job Summary are operated and/or controlled electrically/electronically; both high and low voltage is involved


- Makes adjustments to and determines source or cause of failure in electrical/electronic systems requiring understanding and application of basic principles


This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Dutie@and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 2, 3, 4, 7, & 8



5.  Making oneself Understood Orally


Co-ordinates work with coworkers) through discussion where effectiveness depends on being understood


Provides routine oral status or progress reports to supervisor and others, in person, by telephone, and by radio


Makes track and time requests from dispatcher by telephone or radio


Advises other railroad personnel, and sometimes the general public,.regarding track conditions and provides other information


This performance domain is a component of each of the followin Duties ani Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 3, 6, 7f & 8




6. Understandin2 Graphic Information


- Reads location circuit plans during initial construction, during troubleshooting, maintenance, and testing activities and while replacing components


- Reads pen recorder tapes to secure various kinds of information including signal operation history, hotbox evidence, and time intervals


- Reads track profile giving divisional layout of signal equipment and other information pertinent to signal work


- Reads schematic diagrams in maintenance manuals and instruction manuals describing circuits, mechanical components, and performance characteristics


This performance domain is a component.of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART.  A: 2, 3, 4, 7, & 8


7. Understanding Visual Displays


- Observes and understands signals governing train movment


- Observes and understands hand signals employed during construction, maintenance, and repair activities


- Reads test equipment scales and indicators


- Reads instrument panel indicators while performing .maintenance operations on equipment, including: centralized traffic control panels, generator room power and test panels, retarder control panels, and hotbox detector panels


This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, & 8



8. Judging Condition or Status of Objects/Parts


- Examines parts/objects for wear and defects while performing inspection or repair activities; included are a wide variety of items such as: rods and gears in power switches, retarder shoes, insulated joints, bond wires, relay contacts, and poles


This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8


9.       Understanding/ pplying Mechanical Principles


Makes adjustments of and determines cause or source of failure in mechanical components of those systems listed in Job Summary requiring understanding and application of basic mechanical principle s


Applies mechanical principles in the lifting and moving of signal equipment


This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1, 4, 6, 7, & 8



10.       Climbing and Balancing


                          - Climbs poles to a height of 45 feet with occasional

                          instances of greater height (Maximum height of poles

                          used by some railroads reaches approximately 100 feet)


                          - Climbs stationary ladders, sometimes to a height of 50

                          feet, and maintains balance while installing and work-

                          ing on signal equipment


             -             Maintains balance while installing and working on sig-

                          nal equipment on open track trestles and bridges


             -             Maintains balance while walking on uneven terrain


             -             Maintains balance on sloping right of way while in-

                          stalling and maintaining equipment and while cutting



This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 4, 5, 6, 7 & 10



Using Hand Tools


Performs a wide range of construction, installation, maintenance, and repair activities requiring constant/

             frequent use of hand             tools; included             are:


             terminal wrench             screwdriver             pliers

             pocket-knife             hammer             crescent wrench

             hammer             hacksaw             chisel

             punch             hand drill             soldering iron/gun

             wire strippers             eyelet crimper


This performance domain is a component of each of the followin Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, & 8


12.       Operating Motor Vehicle


-   Operates highway vehicle for transportation to wayside location


-   Operates on-track vehicles including "high rail" trucks and motor cars


This performance domain is a component of each of the following "Duties and Responsibilities" listed in PART A: 1



13. ExercisiaE Physical Strength,and/or Endurance


CHL's NOTE: The Task Force did not consider this performance domain to be a "critical personnel requirement"; in the initial evaluation procedure, after extensive group discussion, five of the sixteen members -rated it as 'critical." However, members of the Task Force unanimously agreed that the-following statements prepared byan earlier physical de-mands and environmental conditions task force* accurately describe the job:


-   Lifts cross arms (as much as 60 pounds) by rope to top of pole (25 feet or higher) while standing on climbers


-   Lifts, with assistance, such items as power switch machines, reels of cable, signal heads, and poles


-   Carries storage batteries' between job site and vehicle


-   Carries numerous other items between vehicle and job site including: relays, rectifiers, transformers, signal motors, case wire, switch circuit controllers, insulated joints, flashing light signals, and electronic equipment


Classified as heavy work (Def in,ad -by the U.S. Department of Labor as "Lifting 100 pounds ma:-.cimum with frequent lifting or carrying up to 50 pounds")








*These items and those on the following page which are starred were identified by an earlier Task Force.  Findings are presented in Consulting Report No. 60 by C.H. Lawshe, Ph.D., dated May 26, 1978, and distributed by the American Railroad Association.







Each itcm in this part is ajob setting characteristic.  It is a structural, physical, or psychological condition (normally extrinsic to the work behavior itsclo which impinges on the comfort, safety, or well being of the job incumbent. included are any conditions which clicit from the incumbent affective reactions which influence productivity/job performance or which otherwise have significant impact.  The Task Force identified these as normally being characteristic of the job.




1.   Job Schedule Characteristics


-   Schedule includes both day and night hours

-   Schedule is regular with the same basic hours each week but with the possibility of extended hours/overtime

-   Schedule includes some Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays


2.       Physical Environment Characteristics


-           Work is frequently performed out-of-doors involving exposure to weather conditions

-           Work involves occasional exoosure to noise/vibrations while working on or near car retarders


3. Job      Characteristics with safety implications


-           Works with high voltage equipment, exposing the incumbent to potential injury*

-           Performs job tasks on poles, ladders, bridges, and open track tressels, subjecting the incumbent to potential falls*

-           Performs job tasks on the ground while others are performing work activities and handling material overhead*

-           Works with storage batteries involving potential exposure to battery acid*


4.   Other Job Settjin Characteristics


-   Work requires extended time away from home

-   Work may require performance of duties in unfamiliar locations

-   Work involves constant/frequent interruptions, obstructions, or changes

-   Work may be performed in isolation with little or no contact with others (Signal Maintainer) or it may be performed as a member of a gang

-   Work requires protective clothing and/or devices including: hard hats, safety glasses, high voltage insulated gloves, and sometimes safety shoes




We, the undersigned, met at the place and on the date indicated below to develop this job analysis.  After extensive discussion we developed the attached document under the general guidance of Dr. CH.  Lawshe.


We individually and collectively certify that the duties and responsibilities, the critical personnel requirements, and the job setting characteristics presented in the document accurately and fairly describe the job as we know it.







I   It) e @@              9


G. W.  Franklin, Signal Supervisor

EdWin Merl Matticks, Signal Inspector


Marshall S. Casler, 8igna-I Supervisor

Keith L. Fezekas, CTC Ma3- ai@er


J@ Ho lada, Engineer S&C

Gerald M. Moore, signalman


Gerald V. Hat7away, &           a    ainer

Zogeph F. N@fsinger, Supervisor, Communication & Signals


Ansel E. Littlejohn@signal Design     Test Supervisor


Harry Cornell, Signal Foreman

Herb Cross, Lead Signalman

LOUIS                     ILROAD

R. H.-Bruce,





C. C. Catron, Signal Maintainer

MbLrvin Giger, Si@nal VCommunicaEion Supervisor


R. E. McClellan, Personnel & Labor Relations Coordinator

I 0








E. L. Butler, Division Personnel officer






400 West Madison Street

Chicago, Illinois


July 31, 1980



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


This job analysis identifies the major duties/responsibilities, personnel requirements, and job setting characteristics which are common to most railroads.  It has been reviewed and approved for distribution by the Job Analysis Project Steering Committee of the Railroad Personnel Association.  It is the province of individual railroads to determine the completeness and adequacy of this description for thei own property.



Date                         Robert L. Wilson for the Committee




The first three parts of this document include all of the information provided by members of the Task Force.  PART E does not contain additional data about the job itself-, instead, (1) it outlines in general terms the procedures employed in generating the information and (2) it provides technical information that supports the validity of the results.  More detailed information on these topics is presented in the publication R i ro I d t job


- T-he a t ad tt us ry        Analysis Project: A

Final Report, distributed by the Association of American Railroads.





Note No. 1: The Task Force


The Task Force which provided the job information for this job analysis was composed of five job incumbents and eleven officers intimately familiar with the job from ten different railroads.  They met July 31, 1980, at the offices of the Chicago and North Western Transportation Co., 400 West Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois.


Note No. 2: Task Analysis (PART A)


Members of the Task Force were supplied with a first draft list of tasks which had been developed in prior study of the job.  In conference fashion, they reviewed and analyzed these statements.  Indicated modifications and additions were made, and inappropriate ones were deleted.  The resulting consensus of the group provided the ten tasks in PART A of this document.


Importance Rat Once the list was finalized, members of the Task Force, independently, rated each task in terms of its importance to the job, using a zero to five rating scale.  Subsequently, individual ratings for each task were averaged and rounded; these means appear as "Importance Degree" values after the listed tasks.  Reliability coefficient: r = .95.


Note No. 3: Personnel Requirements Analysis (PART B)


Initial Criticality in Members of the Task Force were supplied with a personnel requirements questionnaire listing the "performance domains" which appear in Table 1 on the next page.  They rated each of these as "C" (critical for the safe and satisfactory performance of the job), "H" (helpful but not critical),, or "N" (not involved in the job).  Ratings were tabulated and twelve of the domains were retained for further consideration.  A domain was retained if at least twelve of the sixteen members said It critical" and the remainder said "helpful." Reliability coefficient = .96.


Relative Criticality Rating.  The twelve performance domains whic survived the initial rating process were again submitted to members of the group.  Following extensive discussion, each member distributed 100 points among the twelve domains based upon personal judgment of relative criticality.  Individual point awards for each domain were averaged.  Reliability coefficient: r .94.





                Table 1





                             Results of Task Force Criticality Ratings






                Number                    Critical



                     b        Personnel Requirement


        job        orig.                 Yesc No




        9        1            Understanding/applying mechanical principles        x


        2        2            Understanding printed/written information        x


        3        3            Understanding oral communication        x


        5        4            Making oneself understood orally  x


                5            Understanding quantitative information        x


        7        6            Understanding visual displays        x


        8        7            Judging condition or status of objects/parts        x


        6        8            Understanding graphic information        x


                9            Exercising fine physical coordination/dexterity        x


                10           Recognizing sounds/changes in sounds        x


        10        11           Climbing and balancing        x


12   making logical choices and/or drawing logical


13     Exercising physical strength and/or endurance

14   Taking actions and/or making decisions affecting

                  security/well being of others     x

          15     Performing mathematical computations     x

          16     Recalling information required for work activity     x

          17     Making oneself understood in writing     x

     .L     15      Recognizing colors

          19     Processing data/information (by hand)     x


20   Judging speed and/or distance of moving objects/


21   Estimating quantity/size without precise infor-

                  mation       x

     4     22     Understanding/applying electrical and/or

                  electronic principles     x

          23     Using mechanical measuring devices           x

          24     Dealing with customers/clients/public       x

          25     Handling money      x

     11     26     Using hand tools     x

     12     27     Operating motor vehicle     x


28   Discriminating fine visual detail at eight


inches or less



29   Typewriting verbal and/or numerical materia


             30             Performing stenographic activityd                 x


             31             Performing general clerical activity                  x


             32             Performing administrative activitiesd             x

             33             operating office machines/equipmentd             x

             34             Performing computer related activitiesd             x

             35             Exercising eye-hand coordinationd             x

             36             Planning/directing work of others d             x



a.   These numbers correspond to those in PART B.

b.   These are the numbers in the original questionnaire.

c-   The relative criticality of each is reflected in the graph on the next page-

d.   Not included in questionnaire used with this job.





Critical Personnel Requirements.  Each performance domain receiving five percent or more of the total points assigned was considered to be critical to the satisfactory performance of the job.  Because all met this minimum, none was eliminated.  Re-


sulting percentages are shown in the graph below and reflect the relative criticality of the critical personnel requirements.





Numbers outside the

circle correspond to the

numbers of the respective                  12%


requirements listed in








5 12





             Percentage values in

             the segments reflectthe

             relative criticality of                        7

             the critical personnel             9

             requirements.              8





Operational Definition.  Each performance domain is "a generic category of behavior that is common to a variety of jobs." For a particular job it needs to be "operationally defined"; that is, specific work behavior elements characterizing the performance domain need to be identified.  Members of the group agreed on work behavior elements (a) which are commonly occurring in this job and (b) which are representative of the generic category.  These are listed under the several performance domains in PART B.


Component Analysis.  Following the operational definition of a performance domain, each member independently examined that domain against the tasks in PART A. Using an answer sheet, each member record "is" or "is not" a component of each of the tasks.  Results were subsequently tabulated, and a domain was considered to be a component of a specific task if twelve or more of the sixteen task force members so indicated.  Results were recorded after the elements for each performance domain in PART B.





Note No. 4: Job Setting Analysis (PART C)


Those structural, physical, or psychological conditions in which or under which the job activity is performed were identified by the Task Force.  This was accomplished with the aid of "a thought starter" check-list of characteristics which were extensively discussed and analyzed.  Those listed in PART C represent the group consensus as to what is normally characteristic in the job.


Note No. 5: Reliability of Results


Any job analysis activity is subjective in nature in that it utilizes the judgments and/or perceptions of human beings.  For this reason, the consistency of the judgments of the Task Force members was examined.  Members were assigned to two sub-groups, and the various statistical values discussed in the above notes were determined separately for each group.  The degree of agreement between the sub-groups was examined by computing the Pearson product-moment coefficient of correlation between the two sets of values.  The resulting coefficient can range from zero (no agreement between the groups) to 1.00 (perfect agreement between the groups).  A standard statistical adjustment (Spearman-Brown formula) was applied to the coefficient in order to estimate the degree of agreement between the entire group of sixteen and another group of the same size.  Results obtained in this manner are reported as reliability coefficients (r) in Note 2 and Note 3 above.  All obtained reliability coefficients (rls = .95, .96, and .94) are extremely high and exceed generally accepted professional standards.  Coefficients of this magnitude indicate a very high degree of rater consistency (or agreement), and lead to the conclusion that the Task Force members are either "all right" or "all wrong" in their judgments and/or perceptions about what is important in the job and what the critical personnel requirements are.  With a Task Force composed of both incumbents and officers, with members drawn from several different railroad properties, and with the demonstrated high degree of agreement between the members, there is no reasonable basis upon which to refute their findings.  All of these facts combine to give credibility to these job analysis results.



C. H. Lawshe, Ph.D.

Licensed Industrial Psychologist


April 22, 1981

West Lafayette, Indiana