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Locomotive Engineer » Learn More

Locomotive engineers may do some or all the following

  • drive trains to destinations according to a schedule
  • stop at stations to pick up or drop off passengers
  • shunt wagons (push or pull them) using a locomotive
  • check locomotives for problems before starting a service
  • read bulletins (information about track work in specific areas and rule changes) before departing the station
  • act promptly and comply with safety rules in emergency conditions or breakdowns
  • identify faults in breakdown situations.

Locomotive engineers need to have

  • understanding of the basic mechanics of locomotives, including the air brakes and electrics
  • knowledge of rail operating codes and signals
  • understanding of rules and regulations that cover the safe operation of locomotives
  • knowledge of procedures and protocols for operating radio equipment
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • communication skills.

If locomotive engineers drive freight trains, they should also have shunting skills (pushing and pulling wagons or carriages using a locomotive).


Locomotive engineers need to be

  • safety-conscious
  • alert at all times
  • punctual
  • able to think ahead and anticipate potential problems
  • able to work well under pressure.