Also called: Assistant Engineer, Assistant Passenger Locomotive Engineer, Fireman, Locomotive Engineer
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A variety of railroad workers help ensure that passenger and freight trains are in the right place at the right time, operating safely. Rail yard engineers —also called hostlers— move locomotives between tracks to keep the trains organized and on schedule. They drive locomotives to and from maintenance shops or prepare them for the locomotive engineer. Some operate small locomotives called dinkeys. Other railroad workers focus on train safety. Brake operators help couple and uncouple train cars. Signal operators install and maintain the communication signals along tracks and in the rail yard. Switch operators control the track switches in rail yards to ensure trains move safely between tracks. Locomotive firers monitor train instruments and watch out for hazards on the track. Most rail employees work full time. Since trains operate 24/7, many railroad workers work nights, weekends, and holidays. Rail companies typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, and provide on-the-job training lasting from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the employer and the complexity of the job. Rail yard engineers, and switch or signal operators may advance to become conductors or yardmasters.
What they do:Monitor locomotive instruments and watch for dragging equipment, obstacles on rights-of-way, and train signals during run. Watch for and relay traffic signals from yard workers to yard engineer in railroad yard.
On the job, you would:
- Observe train signals along routes and verify their meanings for engineers.
- Monitor trains as they go around curves to detect dragging equipment and smoking journal boxes.
- Receive signals from workers in rear of train and relay that information to engineers.
- movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Safety and Government
- public safety and security
Engineering and Technology
Arts and Humanities
- English language
- keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- 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
- listen and understand what people say
- communicate by speaking
Hand and Finger Use
- keep your arm or hand steady
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
- Stress Tolerance
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Route navigation software
- Route mapping software
Time accounting software
- Time tracking software
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- Logging Equipment Operators
- Mixing & Blending Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders
- Pile-Driver Operators
- Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, & Still Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders
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