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Life As a Locomotive Engineer

Locomotive Engineer Definition Drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.

Locomotive Engineer Responsibilities

  • Check to ensure that brake examination tests are conducted at shunting stations.
  • Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.
  • Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.
  • Monitor gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brakelines or in main reservoirs.
  • Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.
  • Inspect locomotives after runs to detect damaged or defective equipment.

Qualities of a Locomotive Engineer

When polled, Locomotive Engineers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Locomotive Engineer

  • Narrow Gauge Engineer
  • Operator
  • Through Freight Engineer
  • Rail Car Operator
  • Locomotive Engineer

Locomotive Engineer Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 38,800 jobs in the United States for Locomotive Engineer. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Locomotive Engineer. The BLS estimates 3,000 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Locomotive Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Locomotive Engineer are South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas. Watch out if you plan on working in Louisiana, Oregon, or Minnesota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Locomotive Engineer Average Salary

Locomotive Engineers make between $46,200 and $97,890 a year.

Salary Ranges for Locomotive Engineers

Locomotive Engineers who work in Washington, Delaware, or New York, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Locomotive Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $64,670
Arizona $66,350
Arkansas $66,410
California $80,330
Delaware $75,030
Florida $62,520
Georgia $56,090
Idaho $60,160
Illinois $71,000
Indiana $59,180
Iowa $68,110
Kansas $69,420
Kentucky $58,160
Maryland $75,270
Massachusetts $74,190
Michigan $65,030
Minnesota $66,340
Missouri $71,260
Montana $64,700
Nebraska $66,760
New Hampshire $45,100
New Jersey $61,310
New Mexico $75,490
New York $77,150
North Carolina $58,670
Ohio $65,400
Oklahoma $51,650
Oregon $58,690
Pennsylvania $71,890
South Carolina $60,420
South Dakota $77,640
Tennessee $70,970
Texas $65,660
Utah $57,290
Virginia $69,990
Washington $85,160
West Virginia $60,730
Wisconsin $63,520
Wyoming $80,610

What Tools do Locomotive Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Locomotive Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Data entry software
  • Route mapping software
  • Time tracking software
  • Electronic train management systems ETMS

How do I Become a Locomotive Engineer?

Are there Locomotive Engineers education requirements?

Locomotive Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Locomotive Engineer Work Experience

Who Employs Locomotive Engineers?

Locomotive Engineer Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Locomotive Engineers work:

Locomotive Engineer Industries

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Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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