Railroad Operations

Railroad Operations (RAILR) Courses

RAILR 100 History of Railroading

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course covers the history and traditions of railroading and the industry's role in North American Economic Development. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to list and explain the significance of major events in North American Railroading. There is an alternate learning site for this class at the California State Railroad Museum. Admission may be charged to enter the California State Railroad Museum. If this causes a financial hardship, please contact your instructor.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • validate the top of the yard. (Required by Association of American Railroads UMLER interface).
  • calculate coupling speed of 4 MPH. (Required by industry council).
  • evaluate yard operations. (Required by industry council).
  • infer if a switch is normalled or reversed. Required by the Federal Railroad Administration under Emergency Order #24.
  • recall Standard Code Signals. (Required by industry council).
  • explain how basic hand signals are used to move, couple, and uncouple cars. (Required by industry council).
  • assemble cars in yard setting by coupling and uncoupling. (Required by industry council).
  • demonstrate an understanding of how passenger cars differ from freight cars. (Required by CFR 49 part 238).
  • master railroad vocabulary. Required by the Model Course Outline of Record.
  • demonstrate how a time claim is prepared. (This objective is required by Ed Code 78016 for the two year review) See The Curriculum Committee: Role, Structure, Duties and Standards of Good Practice.
  • correlate the Status of Fatality Analysis with safety rules learned in class. (Required by the Federal Railroad Administration SOFA Committee).
  • apply knowledge gained to complete a yard check. (Required by Federal Railroad Administration SOFA working Group).

RAILR 102 Railroad Technical Careers

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course includes information about technical careers in railroading, thereby, enabling students to choose suitable career paths. This course includes alternate learning sites that will demonstrate the relationship among technical work groups in day-to-day railroad operations. Students must provide their own transportation. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to describe basic technical job functions, requirements, and characteristics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • build a Marketing Plan. (Required by Union Pacific Railroad).
  • associate Timetable Special Instructions with the General Code of Operating Rules. (Required by Association of American Railroads).
  • simulate a Railroad Crew Board. (Required by industry).
  • master the 9 points of a Customer Relations program. (Required by industry).
  • demonstrate an understanding of Auxiliary Signals. (Required by Title CFR Title 49 section 218.21).
  • evaluate Clearance and Envelope vs. train size. (Required by the Railway Clearance Association).
  • calculate rehab railroad per mile of a typical railroad.
  • simulate actual railroad operations using Blackboard. (Required by industry).
  • recall 5 brake tests from Title 49 Part 238.
  • describe "Call to Departure" for a typical train.
  • demonstrate an understanding of work flow. (Required for individual and crew safety).
  • practice interviewing techniques. (Required by Union Pacific Railroad).

RAILR 120 Railroad Operations

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course includes information about the industry, its major assets, structures, and typical operations. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to define the current North American railroad industry characteristics, basic operations, components and processes, and industry structure and administrative processes.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the different types of rules. (Required by the Association of American Railroads).
  • understand and apply the hierarchy of rules modifications between the General Code of Operating Rules, Systems Special Instructions, Timetables, General Orders, and Track Bulletins. (Required by the Association of American Railroads).
  • understand and apply Restricted Speed. (Required by industry, the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Board).
  • understand the meaning of, and how to properly react to, "Trackside Defect Detector" transmissions or the lack thereof. (Required by industry and regulatory bodies).
  • demonstrate the application of the General Code of Operating Rules in train and switching operations scenarios. (Required by industry).
  • understand the application of the General Code of Operating Rules. (Required by the Association of American Railroads).
  • demonstrate an understanding of "Couplers, Coupling and Lacing". (Required by CFR 49 Part 232).
  • understand and explain the Railroad Crew Management system.
  • understand policies and placement restrictions when switching and transporting Hazardous Materials. (Required by the US Department of Transportation).
  • explain the "Operation Life Saver" Program and its use in the railroad industry. (Required by Federal Railroad Administration and the industry).
  • memorize and apply Union Pacific Block Signals in train movement scenarios. (Required by Union Pacific and other Railroads).
  • perform a Job Briefing and maintain a Job Briefing Book. (Required for Railroad Field Operations and the industry).
  • understand the symbols, usage, and potential drawbacks of "Fog Charts".
  • understand railroad industry terminology.

RAILR 122 Railroad Safety, Quality, and Environment

  • Units:3
  • Hours:54 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course covers the importance of safety quality, personal health, and environmental awareness to the railroad industry and emphasizes the basic tools and techniques for improving these conditions on the job. Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to define and explain the need for improved safety, quality, health, and environmental awareness, describe their basic principles, explain the elements of successful programs, and apply these elements to typical tasks on the job.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • evaluate the yard check and modify the yardmasters journal. (Required by shortline railroads)
  • demonstrate an understanding of the railroad locomotive and its interface. (Required by industry)
  • predict the outcome of air brakes and air brake tests. (Required by CFR 49 part 238)
  • apply rules within train and switching scenarios. (Required by industry)
  • demonstrate an understanding of Railroad Signal Rules. (Required by all railroads)
  • describe and understand the Railroad Crew Management System.
  • understand the basic design and function of a railroad yard.
  • understand the weight distribution methods and concerns of track systems.
  • evaluate the root cause of fatalities reported in the Switching Operations Fatality Analysis, describe the origin of the group involved and how it has affected safety.
  • report track and industry car location accurately. (required by industry and railroads)
  • describe and avoid driver-caused potential hazards at highway-rail grade crossings as a result of an Operation Lifesaver presentation.
  • describe Train Call to Train Departure events and procedures, and identify potential problems and prevention methods.
  • demonstrate an understanding of GCOR rules and their application in train movement. (Required by most railroads)
  • recognize proper and improper tie installations in track structures.
  • demonstrate an understanding of project work flow. (Required for individual and crew safety)
  • understand the operation of turnouts designed for different speeds.
  • understand how to mount and properly test the End of Train Device. (Required by CFR part 238)
  • describe proper actions when applying the General Code of Operating rules. (Required by the Association of American Railroads)

RAILR 140 Railroad General Code of Operating Rules

  • Units:4
  • Hours:72 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:RAILR 120, 122, and 120 with grades of "C" or better
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course provides instruction in the use and application of railroad rules, timetables, general orders, track bulletins, track warrants, and train orders. The students will learn their interpretation, origin, and use in the railroad industry. Students are required to pass the General Code of Operating Rules Examination and will be required to write and re-write general orders, timetables, and rules. This course provides an in-depth study of the GCOR. Upon completion of this course, the students should be able to apply the General Code of Operating Rules to safe and efficient train movement and operations. Students must pass the prerequisite courses prior to attending this course. See an instructor about special requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • apply and comply with basic General Code of Operating Rules.
  • understand and apply the requirements of Rule 6.27 and 6.28.
  • define the indication of signals from the General Code of Operating Rules and System Special Instructions.
  • be certified in the General Code of Operating Rules.

RAILR 142 Railroad Field Operations

  • Units:3
  • Hours:48 hours LEC; 24 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:RAILR 120, RAILR 122, and RAILR 140 with grades of "C" or better. Hold a valid General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) certification card.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course provides for use and application of: railroad rules, timetables, general orders, track bulletins, track warrants, and train orders. Students will apply these in the classroom and in a railroad setting. Students are required to show that they have passed the General Code of Operating Rules examination on their first day of class. Students not qualified in the rules will not be allowed to continue in the class. In addition to the lectures, students will go on a Saturday day and weekday evening field trips where they will participate in: making up trains, coupling and uncoupling cars and locomotives, hooking up air hoses, troubleshooting air brakes systems, getting on and off stationary equipment, removing and applying knuckles of cars (knuckles weigh up to 90 pounds), and lining up different types of switches. Students are required to wear lace-up boots that cover the ankle with defined heels, leather gloves, loose fitting jeans or coveralls that cover the legs and do not restrict movement, shirts with sleeves, and hearing and eye protection. Hats that provide protection from the sun and rain are recommended. Students should be prepared to work outside in all types of weather.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of switching operations and switchman/trainman duties in compliance with Federal Law and Railroad Rules.
  • switch, set out and pick up train cars and perform a safety inspection.
  • replace knuckles, air hoses, and gaskets.
  • properly secure rail equipment against undesired movement.
  • evaluate and assess the air brake system of a train for proper operation and do basic troubleshooting of the air brake system.
  • comply with railroad signals.
  • safely control train movements using standard hand lantern signals.

RAILR 144 Railroad Air Brakes

  • Units:3.5
  • Hours:54 hours LEC; 27 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Advisory:RAILR 120 and RAILR 122 with grades of "C" or better.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course offers an overview of the train air brake system from the rear of the engine to the flashing rear end device with a focus on the American brake valve. Emphasis is placed on Federal Railroad Administration requirements for Initial Terminal Brake Test, as well as industry Air Brake Rules on the use and application of the air brake system. The course includes inspection of the load, under carriage, air brake connections, hand brake systems, drain valves, and cut-out cocks.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • comply with required Federal Law.
  • obey railway Air Brake Rules.
  • select the proper course of action if the Initial Terminal Air Brakes fails.
  • identify air brake equipment that is misaligned, inoperative or not performing well.

RAILR 294 Topics in Railroad Operations

  • Units:0.5 - 4
  • Hours:8 - 72 hours LEC
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This course is designed to give students an opportunity to study topics in Railroad Operations not included in current course offerings. This course may be taken four times for credit providing there is no duplication of topics.


RAILR 295 Independent Studies in Railroad Operations

  • Units:1 - 3
  • Hours:54 - 162 hours LAB
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This is an independent studies course. The topics are to be arranged between the instructor and student.


RAILR 299 Experimental Offering in Railroad Operations

  • Units:0.5 - 4
  • Prerequisite:None.
  • Catalog Date:June 1, 2020

This is a specialized course developed in cooperation with industry to address emerging training needs in railroad operations. This course may be taken no more than three times for credit provided there is no duplication of topics.