Locomotive Engineer

Be in charge of the rails by driving a train.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $75,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Locomotive Engineers do?

The long moan of the whistle, the clack of the wheels on the track, the rhythmic, soothing hum of the moving train…if we’ve ever found comfort or pleasure in these, we have the Locomotive Engineer to thank for it. Without the Locomotive Engineer, the train can’t get to its destination, distribute products across the nation, or transport passengers from one place to another.

As the Locomotive Engineer, you’re in charge of all the controls that make the train stop and go. You also take care of numerous other things, such as keeping the train on a timetable and following maintenance schedules. You begin your shift by looking over the train to make sure everything is in working order. Then you check the fuel, and make sure the cargo is secure. You also review the route, listen to weather reports, and gather updates on any obstacles, construction, or repairs that might affect your delivery.

Once the train is on its way, you monitor your gauges and watch out for warning lights. After all, it’s not just your safety you’re watching out for. You’re also responsible for any passengers on board, the crew, and the citizens of the towns you’re passing through. So you keep a vigilant eye on the pressure gauges and battery levels.

Because you’re familiar with your route, you know when to take it slow and when to go full throttle. You consider the weight of your load, the number of cars you’re pulling, and track conditions like sharp corners, steep hills, or railroad crossings. You arrive at your destination, drop off or pick up loads, then continue safely on your way.

Should I be a Locomotive Engineer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.

  • Also known as: Diesel Locomotive Engineer, Locomotive Engineer, Diesel, Locomotive Engineer, Electric, Lokie Engineer, Motorman See More

    How to become a Locomotive Engineer

    Most Locomotive Engineers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Master's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9waaba&chl=no+college+%2873%25%29|certificate+%2826%25%29|||master%27s+%282%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,73,73
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