A locomotive engineer is the operator of a locomotive engine. The job can involve working on a variety of different locomotives, from diesel-powered ones to electric engines. The locomotive engineer is responsible for interpreting the signals around the railroads, communicating with stations to prevent accidents, as well as maintain the locomotive in an operational condition as required. The particular way of operating the engine differs from company to company – with older engines, more mechanical operations are typically required, while newer ones are mostly computerized and require more electronic aptitude.
Becoming a locomotive engineer requires a lot of knowledge which is typically attained in the course of employment in the railroad industry, normally at lower-ranking jobs initially. Most locomotive engineers start out by assisting dispatchers in train control rooms as well as working other jobs around train stations, and some places offer specialized courses for locomotive engineers which can greatly boost one’s chances of getting hired.
Locomotive engineers are actually paid remarkably well, and the annual salary goes between $54,000 and $87,000. The difference comes mainly from the specific type of locomotive one operates, as those working on more complicated computerized engines tend to be paid more, mainly because they need more qualifications to perform the job properly. Additionally, the working hours are almost always solid and allow one to plan ahead carefully.