What is a Locomotive Engineer?

Locomotive engineers, also known as train engineers, are responsible for driving trains safely from one destination to another. They ensure that freight trains and passenger trains stay on time and travel safely. Some locomotive engineers drive trains between stations, while others move trains within a rail yard.

What does a Locomotive Engineer do?

A locomotive engineer driving a train.

Locomotive engineers typically do the following:

  • Monitor speed, air pressure, battery use, and other instruments to ensure that the locomotive runs smoothly
  • Use a variety of controls, such as throttles and airbrakes, to operate the train
  • Communicate with dispatchers over radios to get information about delays or changes in the schedule
  • Check the mechanical condition of locomotives and make adjustments when necessary
  • Document issues with a train that require further inspection
  • Operate locomotive engines within or between stations

Locomotive engineers drive freight or passenger trains between stations. They drive long-distance trains and commuter trains, but not subway trains. Most drive diesel-electric engines, although some drive locomotives powered by battery or electricity.

Locomotive engineers adjust train speeds to account for weather conditions or sensitive cargo needs. They also work together with other railroad workers, monitor locomotive equipment, update train inspection logs, and ensure that trains remain on schedule.

Engineers need to be aware of the goods their train is carrying since different types of freight require different types of driving, based on the conditions of the rails. For example, a train carrying hazardous material though a snowstorm is driven differently than a train carrying coal though a mountainous region.

Are you suited to be a locomotive engineer?

Locomotive engineers have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

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What is the workplace of a Locomotive Engineer like?

Individuals can find locomotive engineer positions with government-run railroad agencies or with private railroad businesses. Many locomotive engineers are required to work weekends, nights, and holidays.

Locomotive Engineers are also known as:
Railroad Engineer Train Engineer Passenger Locomotive Engineer