Senior Engineer Advisor for Railroad Technology

Washington, D.C
Sep 18, 2020
Sep 26, 2020
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time


This position is located in the Office of Railroad Safety within the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If selected, you will serve as the Senior Engineer Advisor for Railroad Technology and advise FRA leadership on matters related to the development, implementation of railroad technology, including safety and security.

Learn more about this agency


The Senior Engineer Advisor will provide advice and technical leadership for a wide range of program activities that are critical to assuring that the rapidly advancing and complex technology applied to the railroad system is advanced in a manner that will ensure the Nation's railroads maintain their capacity to safely carry railroad traffic without endangering the safety of persons or the environment.

As Senior Engineer Advisor for Railroad Technology, you will:

• Provide authoritative guidance for program implementation and program development concerning the development and implementation of railroad technology, with specific expertise in advanced communications technology, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and ground based positioning and timing systems, communications and cybersecurity and threat assessment processes and techniques.

• Based on state-of-the-art knowledge and technical expertise, evaluate new and advanced technologies, determining their degree of readiness for application in passenger or freight service. Ensure that appropriate technical and performance requirements are incorporated into FRA standards under periodic review. Facilitate the use of the new technology under
appropriate safeguards. Define and request contract or research support, as required, to develop safety analysis concerning emerging technology. Provide authoritative assessments and advance the adoption and implementation of innovative and emerging technologies.

• Assess a wide range of railroad safety issues, including changing technology and economic issues. This work relies on consideration of the immediate as well as the long-range effects of proposed railroad actions on the public or other government programs.

• Provide expert advice to all segments of the agency, other agencies, industry officials, railroad labor organizations, and manufacturers of new technology on the requirements of Federal rules and regulations.

• Deliver expert professional engineering consultation and advice to FRA, railroad industry representatives, and other railroad industry professionals and stakeholders on safety matters pertaining to railroad technology.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Occasional travel is required.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Submit application and resume online by 11:59 PM EST on the closing date.
  • Provide all required documents by closing date.
  • A Top Secret/SCI clearance is required.

  • FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Complete a Public Financial Disclosure report, OGE-278. You will need to provide the information annually.

FRA Conflict of Interest Prohibitions:

The FRA has determined that seniority rights, leaves of absence, and reemployment rights with or from a railroad generally constitute an actual or an appearance of a conflict of interest. New employees may be required to divest themselves of such rights immediately upon hire if these rights are determined to constitute an actual or appearance of a conflict of interest. No waivers of this requirement will be granted.

FRA employees (or spouses or minor children of FRA employees) are specifically prohibited from holding railroad stock (including shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., which owns 100% of BNSF), whether held outright, in an IRA, or in a 401 (k) or other plan. Employees may hold a mutual fund which invests in railroad stocks, so long as the mutual fund does not invest more than 30% of its assets in such prohibited investments. Employees having a prohibited financial interest must divest themselves of railroad stock within 90 days after their appointment to their positions. Neither the rule against holding railroad stock, nor the divestiture period, is in any way affected by the existence of re-employment rights which employees might have with railroad companies. Nor is there any monetary threshold for applicability of the rule against ownership of railroad stock; all dollar amounts are prohibited.


Your resume must provide information regarding your professional experience and accomplishments that demonstrate your ability to perform the duties of this position listed below.

TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQs): Below are the descriptions of the mandatory technical qualifications for this position. Your five (5) page resume must provide information regarding your professional experience and accomplishments that demonstrate you meet these technical qualifications.

1. Three years of specialized experience in or closely related to the field of railroad technology and safety. At least one year of this experience must have been in planning or executing difficult programs of national significance or planning or executing specialized programs that show outstanding attainments. One year of this specialized experience must be equivalent to experience at the GS-15 grade level in the Federal service.

2. Demonstrated experience assessing the safety of railroad equipment, infrastructure, and new technologies including familiarity with the design, construction, inspection, testing and maintenance of passenger cars, freight cars, locomotives, power brakes, train control, signal systems, track design, and other railroad systems.

3. Ability to provide expert professional engineering consultation and advice to FRA, railroad industry representatives, and other railroad industry professionals and stakeholders on safety matters pertaining to railroad systems, railroad equipment, high-speed rail equipment and new technology.


Positive Education Requirement: A Bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering school in a discipline applicable to the railroad industry (e.g. mechanical, electrical, electronic, civil engineering).

Additional information

Retirement/Pension Plan - You will be covered by a defined benefit, contributory Federal retirement system that provides benefits for both normal retirement (with as few as 5 years of civilian service) and for circumstances that might occur earlier, such involuntary retirement because of disability.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - You may participate in a retirement savings investment plan that offers before-tax savings and tax-deferred investment earnings. For more details, please visit the TSP website

Employee Assistance - Employees and their immediate families can take advantage of free confidential counseling with health professionals as part of the Federal Employees Assistance Program.

Transit Benefits - We subsidize up to $255 of mass transit commuting costs each month.

Telework - Determined by agency policy.

Information related to performance, suitability, and security will be verified. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be subject to fine imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

A reviewing panel will evaluate your application based on the quality and extent of your total accomplishments, experience, and education. Applicants determined to be highly qualified may undergo an interview and a reference check.

All applications must be completed and submitted electronically no later than midnight ET of the closing date. Final reviews will be performed after the announcement closing, and timely notice of the status of your application will be emailed to you. You may check the status of your application for this position at any time by logging into your USAJOBS account and selecting Application Status.

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Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Sensitive Compartmented Information

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

The following documents must be provided by the closing date:
  • RESUME - You must submit a resume which cannot exceed five (5) pages. Any information submitted in excess of five (5) pages WILL NOT be considered. The resume must provide evidence (such as related professional experience and accomplishments) that demonstrate you possess the technical qualifications. Include name on each page. No photos allowed.
  • COVER LETTER - You should submit a one-page cover letter highlighting key experience and interest in the position advertised.
  • SF-50 - Current & former federal employees should submit an SF-50 which shows your current (or most recent grade). DO NOT submit an award SF-50 as these often do not verify grade or eligibility. For consideration for a promotion, Box 4 of the SF-50 must show a date that is at least 52 weeks prior to the job announcement closing. We recommend submitting your last promotion SF-50, current SF-50 or within-grade increase SF-50.
  • TRANSCRIPTS - The transcripts need not be official, but must show that you meet the stated education requirements, including specific major or class requirements. Provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to submit any of the required documents by the closing date of the announcement will result in your removal from consideration for this position.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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