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Locomotive Engineer

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What is a Locomotive Engineer?

Job Description: 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.

A Day in the Life of a Locomotive Engineer

  • Prepare reports regarding any problems encountered, such as accidents, signaling problems, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Respond to emergency conditions or breakdowns, following applicable safety procedures and rules.
  • Call out train signals to assistants to verify meanings.
  • Drive diesel-electric rail-detector cars to transport rail-flaw-detecting machines over tracks.
  • Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.
  • Receive starting signals from conductors and use controls such as throttles or air brakes to drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas turbine-electric locomotives.

Locomotive Engineer Needed Skills

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.

  • Locomotive Engineer Supervisor
  • Engineman
  • Pilot Fuel Engineer
  • Trainman
  • Passenger Locomotive Engineer

Job Opportunities for Locomotive Engineers

In the United States, there were 38,800 jobs for Locomotive Engineer in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Locomotive Engineer. There will be an estimated 3,000 positions for Locomotive Engineer per year.

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 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.

How much do Locomotive Engineers make 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 to Become a Locomotive Engineer

What kind of Locomotive Engineer requirements are there?

Locomotive Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Locomotive Engineer Work Experience

Where do Locomotive Engineers Work?

Locomotive Engineer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Locomotive Engineers employed by various industries.

Locomotive Engineer Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Locomotive Engineer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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