A train engineer operates a freight or passenger train. This includes navigating toward a station and maneuvering within a train yard. The train engineer must make sure that the locomotive is operating at standards decided by company policies and applicable laws. This involves keeping the train at a good speed and monitoring gauges and signals on the train to make sure that nothing is wrong. It is also important to ensure the safety of the vehicle prior to embarking on trips. This involves carrying out frequent inspections of the locomotive, making minor fixes, and obtaining the help of technicians and engineers to fix major problems.
In some situations, the ability to make quick decisions in high-pressure situations is important. Strong communication skills are important, in order to provide clear instructions and to accurately receive warnings and signals from other railroad workers. Most train engineers must have prior experience with operating a locomotive. However, some entry-level positions with on-the-job training may be available. Often, a train engineer is promoted from a lower position. However, some positions require having certification as a certified engineer prior to being hired. Generally, a minimum of a high school diploma is required.
The train engineer may work with another engineer, so teamwork is important. Proficient computer skills are necessary in order to carry out daily reports. Some positions require that the train engineer also have train conductor duties. The job may involve working long hours, depending on the destination and specific duties of the job.
Train Engineer Tasks
Ensure high-functioning signal and radio communication across a network of trains.
Create design drawings and bids for rail construction and upgrade contracts.
Oversee design, upgrade and installation of communication, signaling and rail infrastructure.
Review existing infrastructure and create recommendations to improve reliability, safety, and efficiency.