Locomotive Engineer Career

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.


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Locomotive Engineer Career

What Locomotive Engineers do:

  • Inspect locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each run or to check for mechanical problems.
  • 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 brake lines or in main reservoirs.
  • Observe tracks to detect obstructions.
  • Operate locomotives to transport freight or passengers between stations or to assemble or disassemble trains within rail yards.
  • 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.
  • Call out train signals to assistants to verify meanings.
  • Respond to emergency conditions or breakdowns, following applicable safety procedures and rules.
  • Prepare reports regarding any problems encountered, such as accidents, signaling problems, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Inspect locomotives after runs to detect damaged or defective equipment.
  • Check to ensure that brake examination tests are conducted at shunting stations.
  • Check to ensure that documentation, such as procedure manuals or logbooks, are in the driver's cab and available for staff use.
  • Monitor train loading procedures to ensure that freight or rolling stock are loaded or unloaded without damage.
  • Drive diesel-electric rail-detector cars to transport rail-flaw-detecting machines over tracks.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Holland Code Chart for a Locomotive Engineer