What Is a Locomotive Engineer? (With Skills and Job Outlook)

Locomotive Engineer Q+A!

Job outlook for a locomotive engineer

Most people who want to become locomotive engineers start out in an entry-level position, like a crew member who ensures locomotive operability. It is uncommon for employers to hire candidates for this position who have prior engineering or railroad work experience. The majority of transportation businesses provide practical training that enables you to advance to jobs like locomotive engineer, conductor, dispatcher, field manager, or yardmaster.

What is locomotive engineering?

Train conductors manage the movement of goods and passengers between train stations in the field of locomotive engineering. Locomotive engineers frequently supervise this procedure by driving commuter or long-distance trains and making sure they arrive in good time and safety. Most locomotive engineers adhere to a strict schedule and make sure all employees adhere to safety protocols and practices. In addition, locomotive engineers complete several other tasks, including:

Typical requirements to become a locomotive engineer

Here are some steps you can take to fulfill the requirements for the role of locomotive engineer if you’re interested in pursuing one as a career:

Earn a high school diploma or equivalent

The minimum educational requirement for candidates seeking employment as locomotive engineers is frequently a high school diploma or its equivalent. Consider taking additional courses or doing volunteer work to learn about safety regulations if you want to become a locomotive engineer. A thorough understanding of safety procedures can help you improve your skills because locomotive engineers may handle emergency situations. Try to practice maintaining excellent records and conflict resolution, too. Locomotive engineering training programs are provided by some colleges or technical schools, which may increase your chances of finding employment in the future.

Pursue on-the-job training

Many businesses also conduct on-the-job training and give aspiring locomotive engineers the chance to tag along with an experienced engineer. Through this instruction, you can see how a knowledgeable locomotive engineer responds to various scenarios or difficulties. Additionally, they could provide information on specific routes, potential dangers, or railroad crossings. You can acquire the abilities required to work as a locomotive engineer through training.

Acquire certification

You can pursue certification in locomotive engineering from the Federal Railroad Association once you have gained sufficient experience to qualify as a locomotive engineer. Extensive coursework, frequently in a classroom setting, and role-playing of scenarios a locomotive engineer might encounter at work constitute the first step toward certification. After you finish your education, you can also take a written exam, along with a hearing and vision test.

Following certification, you can look for work as a locomotive engineer. Before you can operate a train alone, some companies might expect you to continue your training, but they rarely demand more than two to three months of additional practice. To keep your certification, you can also complete tests at regular intervals in the future.

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Locomotive engineering skills

Locomotive engineers routinely employ a variety of skills to keep their machinery in good working order, communicate changes to passengers, give accurate information to traffic control officials, and carry out any necessary inspections or maintenance. Various businesses and industries may have different requirements, but the following are some typical skills for locomotive engineers:

When necessary, locomotive engineers interact with railroad employees and customers, so they frequently use social skills like active listening and communication. For instance, they might inform a traveler who boarded the incorrect train of the best route to take to get to their intended destination. Having these skills will help you advance your career when looking for other jobs in this industry.

Additionally, locomotive engineers may keep records of the goods or products on their train. If their cargo must remain in a stable environment, this can assist them in adhering to proper safety and train management procedures, such as slower braking and smoother turns. They frequently travel for extended periods of time, so it’s advantageous for their job that they can stay focused and alert.


What does locomotive engineer do?

In order to make sure the locomotive runs smoothly, locomotive engineers typically monitor the following: speed, air pressure, battery life, and other instruments. Observe track for obstructions, such as fallen tree branches. Operate the train with a variety of controls, including throttles and airbrakes.

Is locomotive engineer a real engineer?

Onboard moving locomotives, train engineers—also known as locomotive engineers—perform their duties. They are in charge of running trains and navigating them safely between stations. Most train engineers begin as conductors, switch operators, or brake operators and advance through experience and education.

Are locomotive engineers in demand?

Since 2004, the overall job outlook for locomotive engineers has been favorable. Vacancies for this career have increased by 18. In that time, there was a 63 percent national increase, with an average growth of 1 16 percent per year. The number of jobs for locomotive engineers is predicted to decline by -10,490 by 2029.

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