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Locomotive Engineer Job Description

The job description of a locomotive engineer basically consists of managing passenger carrying trains. Here's more about the job in detail.
Charlie S
Experienced and talented technical graduates have always been in great demand in the United States. There are openings for various kinds of engineers in government as well as private sector companies, and the pay packages are getting more and more lucrative year after year.
One such in-demand engineering job is that of a locomotive engineer. There are many responsibilities which these engineers have to shoulder in the course of their daily work.

Duties and Tasks

  • Locomotive engineers manage, operate, inspect and maintain trains with the help of mechanics and assistants
  • They prepare a report on the technical faults in the trains, and ask for technical assistance immediately.
  • These engineers check the train controls, brakes and gauges, and measure the pressure in them.
  • The main focus of locomotive engineers is to make sure safety and efficiency of trains. For this, they hold discussions with senior management people and carry out the safety measures finalized in the meeting.
  • They have to be completely aware of the factors which affect locomotive movement such as the weather and rail quality.
  • Being technical graduates, locomotive engineers are experts in solving technical problems through effective troubleshooting.
  • They work closely with managers to make sure the schedule for trains is followed and railroad regulations are not neglected in any case.
  • They keep receiving alerts and instructions from the railroad station so that they can act instantly in case of any accident.
  • In this age of advanced technology, locomotive engineers make use of computer devices to receive signals and information for safe movements of trains.
  • They get information about delays in train running, stop instructions and oncoming trains from the rail traffic controlling people.
  • Locomotive engineers have to be alert even when initial technical issues have been solved and the train is running. They have to spot any obstructions in the train route and manage the situation with presence of mind and confidence to avoid accidents.
  • These engineers give guidance about train loading rules to make sure that loading and unloading of stock is done perfectly.
  • Once the train has reached its destination, the locomotive engineers observe for damaged parts, or defective equipment and get it repaired immediately.
  • They give a detailed report on any kinds of unplanned stops, delays or accidents that might have occurred in the course of the train's journey.
Most locomotive engineers have a high school diploma and are at least 21 years of age. Recruiters want their candidates to have high level of physical fitness, because they have to work for long and odd hours and during weekends. Candidates wishing to apply for this post should not have drugs and alcohol related issues. 
Licensing is required and can be done by clearing state license exams. Getting a certificate from the Certification from Federal Railroad Administration can add weight to your resume.
The salary of a locomotive engineer can be in the broad range of $46,000 to $97,000 depending on their experience and skills. In the initial stages of one's career, salaries can range between $38,000 to $50,000 per year.
With around five to eight years of experience, these engineers can draw anything between $62,000 to $97,000 per year. The average salary is around $62,000 per year.
Since many of these engineers work for local government, the jobs are stable and pay package is decent.