Also called: Locomotive Engineer, Railroad Engineer, Transportation Specialist
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
Commuter trains gliding between stations… freight trains chugging across the heartland…. Every kind of train needs a steady, experienced locomotive engineer at the controls, and railroad conductors and yardmasters to keep track of passengers and cargo. Locomotive engineers drive freight or passenger trains between stations. They alter their methods and speed based on the type of freight they carry, weather conditions, and the quality of the rails themselves. These engineers monitor speed, air pressure, battery use, and other instruments to ensure that the locomotive runs smoothly. Keeping in contact with dispatchers over the radio helps them stay informed of delays and schedule changes. Railroad conductors help travelers onto the train, take tickets, make announcements, and stand by while the train is in the station. It’s their job to make sure people are safely aboard before signaling to the engineer to proceed. Conductors also coordinate the activities of the train’s crew, and on freight trains, if a yardmaster is not available, they oversee loading and unloading of cargo. Yardmasters stay at the station to oversee the activities of workers in the rail yard; moving cars for the right configuration of a train, loading freight, and making sure all equipment is safe. Especially before they gain seniority, these railroad workers work nights, weekends, and holidays. Most jobs require a high school diploma, along with several months of simulations and on-the-job training to get “on track” for a career on the rails.
What they do:Drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.
On the job, you would:
- Interpret train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives.
- Confer with conductors or traffic control center personnel via radiophones to issue or receive information concerning stops, delays, or oncoming trains.
- Receive starting signals from conductors and use controls such as throttles or air brakes to drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas turbine-electric locomotives.
- movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Safety and Government
- public safety and security
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Education and Training
- teaching and course design
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
- quickly decide if you should move your hand, foot, or other body part
- pay attention to something without being distracted
- do two or more things at the same time
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
- quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Self Control
- Stress Tolerance
You might use software like this on the job:
Expert system software
- Electronic train management systems ETMS
Word processing software
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
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