Locomotive Engineers

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.

Tasks

  • Monitor gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brakelines or in main reservoirs.
  • Observe tracks to detect obstructions.
  • Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.
  • 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.
  • Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.
  • Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.
  • Respond to emergency conditions or breakdowns, following applicable safety procedures and rules.
  • Check to ensure that brake examination tests are conducted at shunting stations.
  • Call out train signals to assistants to verify meanings.
  • Inspect locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each run or to check for mechanical problems.
  • Prepare reports regarding any problems encountered, such as accidents, signaling problems, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Check to ensure that documentation, such as procedure manuals or logbooks, are in the driver's cab and available for staff use.
  • Inspect locomotives after runs to detect damaged or defective equipment.
  • Drive diesel-electric rail-detector cars to transport rail-flaw-detecting machines over tracks.
  • Monitor train loading procedures to ensure that freight or rolling stock are loaded or unloaded without damage.

Knowledge

Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Skills

Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Technology Design
Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Programming
Writing computer programs for various purposes.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Work Activities

Monitoring and Controlling Resources
Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Lay Titles

Conductor
Diesel Engine Operator
Diesel Engineer
Diesel Locomotive Engineer
Engine Pilot
Engineman
Freight Engineer
Locomotive Engineer
Locomotive Operator
Lokie Driver
Lokie Engineer
Motor Driver
Motor Operator
Motor Runner
Motorman
Narrow Gauge Engineer
Narrow Gauge Operator
Operator
Passenger Locomotive Engineer
Pilot
Rail Car Operator
Rail Detector Car Operator
Railroad Engineer
Railroad Operating Engineer
Relay Motorman
Train Engineer
Train Operator
Trainman
Trainmaster
Transportation Specialist
Trip Motor Operator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$25.13 hourly, $52,280 annual.
Employment (2008):
37,060 employees