Locomotive engineers drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. They interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.
The role of a locomotive engineer is to ensure the safe operation of freight or passenger trains before as well as during operations. Their main task is to safely drive trains between stations. Some of the functions of the locomotive engineer job include inspection of all locomotive instruments before and after use, using the manual as well as computerized train controls, and keeping track of key instruments such as speed, power or air pressure. They also communicate with traffic control centres via radio to keep up with essential operating information such as delays or stops.
Locomotive engineers must be familiar with the contents of their trains, the schedule, and the routes to ensure smooth and punctual operations. They are needed to be thorough with all safety guidelines and operating procedures, should the need arise during an emergency or unexpected situation. Depending on whether one works freight or passenger trains, the engineer may be expected to work weekends or long shifts and over forty hours a week. A typical locomotive engineer salary is higher than the nationwide average salary across all occupations.
To be successful in a locomotive engineer job apart from the main skill of ensuring the safety of the train and its contents and surroundings, a locomotive engineer must be reliable with electrical and mechanical skills. They should also possess adequate communication, diagnostic, and problem-solving skills and be able to concentrate for long periods.
Every career requires an element of study and academic qualification, and there can be several study routes and pathways you can take. In following any academic pathway you will study subjects that contribute to the specialised knowledge required to achieve your career goals. These qualifications provide a future employer with the evidence that you have the desired knowledge, understanding and experience of their industry, so it’s important to consider the various types of qualifications available to you and to understand how they can boost your career and create opportunities for you.
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