Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostler Career

Job Description: Drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.


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Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostler Career

What Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers do:

  • Drive engines within railroad yards or other establishments to couple, uncouple, or switch railroad cars.
  • Confer with conductors and other workers via radiotelephones or computers to exchange switching information.
  • Apply and release hand brakes.
  • Signal crew members for movement of engines or trains, using lanterns, hand signals, radios, or telephones.
  • Observe water levels and oil, air, and steam pressure gauges to ensure proper operation of equipment.
  • Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
  • Receive, relay, and act upon instructions and inquiries from train operations and customer service center personnel.
  • Read switching instructions and daily car schedules to determine work to be performed, or receive orders from yard conductors.
  • Couple and uncouple air hoses and electrical connections between cars.
  • Pull knuckles to open them for coupling.
  • Operate track switches, derails, automatic switches, and retarders to change routing of train or cars.
  • Spot cars for loading and unloading at customer locations.
  • Inspect the condition of stationary trains, rolling stock, and equipment.
  • Inspect track for defects such as broken rails and switch malfunctions.
  • Observe and respond to wayside and cab signals, including color light signals, position signals, torpedoes, flags, and hot box detectors.
  • Provide assistance in aligning drawbars, using available equipment to lift, pull, or push on the drawbars.
  • Report arrival and departure times, train delays, work order completion, and time on duty.
  • Ride on moving cars by holding onto grab irons and standing on ladder steps.
  • Drive locomotives to and from various stations in roundhouses to have locomotives cleaned, serviced, repaired, or supplied.
  • Perform routine repair and maintenance duties.
  • Record numbers of cars available, numbers of cars sent to repair stations, and types of service needed.
  • Operate flatcars equipped with derricks or railcars to transport personnel or equipment.
  • Provide assistance in the installation or repair of rails and ties.
  • Operate and control dinkey engines to transport and shunt cars at industrial or mine sites.
  • Operate switching diesel engines to switch railroad cars, using remote controls.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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

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

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

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

Holland Code Chart for a Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostler