A rail yard engineer is a type of locomotive engineer (operator of a locomotive) who is specifically hired to work within the boundaries of a particular rail yard. The job duties of a rail yard engineer typically involve moving compositions between different areas of the rail yard, operating equipment that switches the rails within the rail yard, and aiding other engineers in getting locomotives and compositions in and out of the rail yard safely and hassle-free.
Getting a job as a rail yard engineer isn’t that difficult, though it does require several years of education in a course specifically designed for the job. Getting into that course takes a high school diploma in turn. A rail yard engineer must have excellent perception and senses, and quick critical thinking as well – despite the generally slow and safe nature of trains, operating them properly still takes a surprisingly high amount of skill and concentration in order to prevent accidents from happening.
Rail yard engineers earn more or less the same as other engineers, with an average annual salary of between $27,000 – $55,000 being the most common. The job doesn’t have flexible working hours for the most part, and the bonuses it comes with aren’t typically very attractive as well – but it does have a high sense of reward coming with it, according to many people who’ve chosen it as their career. In the end, it mostly depends on one’s personal opinion and views of their life when considering if the job is a worthwhile one.