What Does it Take to Be 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.
What Do Locomotive Engineers Do On a Daily Basis?
- Monitor train loading procedures to ensure that freight or rolling stock are loaded or unloaded without damage.
- 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.
- Inspect locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each run or to check for mechanical problems.
- Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.
- Inspect locomotives after runs to detect damaged or defective equipment.
- Check to ensure that documentation, such as procedure manuals or logbooks, are in the driver’s cab and available for staff use.
Locomotive Engineer Skills
These are the skills Locomotive Engineers say are the most useful in their careers:
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
- Railroad Operating Engineer
- Diesel Engineer
- Railroad Engineer
- Freight 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,000 job openings in this field each year.
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
The average yearly salary of a Locomotive Engineer ranges between $46,200 and $97,890.
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|
Tools & Technologies Used by Locomotive Engineers
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Locomotive Engineers:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Data entry software
- Route mapping software
- Time tracking software
- Electronic train management systems ETMS
How to Become a Locomotive Engineer
Education needed to be a Locomotive Engineer:
What work experience do I need to become a Locomotive Engineer?
Who Employs Locomotive Engineers?
Locomotive Engineers work in the following industries:
Those interested in being a Locomotive Engineer may also be interested in:
Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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