Locomotive Engineers

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Conductor
  • Conductor/Engineer
  • Diesel Engineer
  • Diesel Engine Operator
  • Diesel Locomotive Engineer
  • Engineer/Conductor
  • Engineman
  • Engine Pilot
  • Freight Engineer
  • Fuel Pilot Engineer
View All

What They Do

  • Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.
  • 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.
  • Monitor gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brakelines or in main reservoirs.
  • Observe tracks to detect obstructions.
  • Call out train signals to assistants to verify meanings.
  • Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.
  • Check to ensure that brake examination tests are conducted at shunting stations.
  • Respond to emergency conditions or breakdowns, following applicable safety procedures and rules.
  • Inspect locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each run or to check for mechanical problems.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Working Conditions and Relationships in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.