Railroad engineer

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The cab of a New South Wales Xplorer diesel multiple unit Outback train 3 E.jpg
The cab of a New South Wales Xplorer diesel multiple unit
Inside the train driver's cab of a German ICE train Fuhrerstand 411.jpg
Inside the train driver's cab of a German ICE train

An engineer (American and Canadian), engine driver, loco pilot, motorman, train driver (British and Commonwealth English), is a person who drives a train. The driver is in charge of, and responsible for operating the engine, as well as the mechanical operation of the train, train speed, and all train handling.


For many American railroads, the following career progression is typical: assistant conductor (brakeman), train conductor and finally the engineer. In the US, drivers are required to be certified and re-certified every two to three years. [1] In American English a hostler moves engines around train yards, but does not take them out on the normal tracks; the British English equivalent is a shunter.

In India, a driver starts as a diesel assistant or electrical assistant (in case of electric locomotives). They then get promoted on a scale: goods, passenger, Mail/Express and Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto. [2]

In the United States and Canada, train drivers are historically known as "locomotive engineers", or "handlers". In the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia they are known as "train drivers", "engine drivers", "locomotive drivers", or "locomotive operators".

Notable railroad engineers

The United Kingdom based transport historian Christian Wolmar stated in October 2013 that train operators employed by the Rio Tinto Group to transport iron ore across the Australian outback were likely to be the highest-paid members of the occupation in the world at that time. [5] The most qualified engineer in the United States at this time is Karl Schmidt with almost 3000 miles of qualified line Feather River Oakland Ca to Salt Lake Ut, Doner pass Sacramento Ca to Reno Nv. LA subdivisions, Siskiyou mountains Roseburg Or to Weed Ca, New England Central New London Ct to St. Albdas Vt, and all branches and subdivisions.. Now working on the Ct CSO line .

See also

Related Research Articles

Union Pacific Railroad Class I railroad in the United States

The Union Pacific Railroad, legally Union Pacific Railroad Company and simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over 32,200 miles (51,800 km) routes in 23 U.S. states west of Chicago and New Orleans. The Union Pacific Railroad system is the second largest in the United States after BNSF and is one of the world's largest transportation companies. The Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of the Union Pacific Corporation, both headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.

Steam locomotive Railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine

A steam locomotive is a type of railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material – usually coal, wood, or oil – to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels (drivers). Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons (tenders) pulled behind.

Conductor (rail) Train crew member

A conductor or guard is a train crew member responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve actual operation of the train. The conductor title is most common in North American railway operations, but the role is common worldwide under various job titles. In Commonwealth English, a conductor is also known as guard or train manager.

2-8-8-4 articulated locomotive wheel arrangement

A 2-8-8-4 steam locomotive, under the Whyte notation, has two leading wheels, two sets of eight driving wheels, and a four-wheel trailing truck. The type was generally named the Yellowstone, a name given it by the first owner, the Northern Pacific Railway, whose lines run near Yellowstone National Park. Seventy-two Yellowstone-type locomotives were built for four U.S. railroads.

Glossary of rail transport terms Wikimedia list article

Rail terminology is a form of technical terminology. The difference between the American term railroad and the international term railway is the most significant difference in rail terminology. There are also others, due to the parallel development of rail transport systems in different parts of the world.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen was a North American railroad fraternal benefit society and trade union in the 19th and 20th centuries. The organization began in 1873 as the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, a mutual benefit society for workers employed as firemen for steam locomotives, before expanding its name in 1907 in acknowledgement that many of its members had been promoted to the job of railroad engineer. Gradually taking on the functions of a trade union over time, in 1969 the B of LF&E merged with three other railway labor organizations to form the United Transportation Union.

Motorman (locomotive) person who operates an electrified trolley car, tram, light rail, or rapid transit train

A motorman is a person who operates a tram (streetcar), electrified tram (trolley) car, light rail, or rapid transit train.

Great Western Railway (Ontario) historic railway in Ontario, Canada

The Great Western Railway was a historic Canadian railway that operated in Canada West, today's province of Ontario. It was the first railway chartered in the province, receiving its original charter as the London and Gore Railroad on 6 March 1834, before receiving its final name when it was rechartered in 1845.

EMD GP9 model of 1750 hp North American diesel locomotive

An EMD GP9 is a four-axle road switcher diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division produced between 1954 and 1959 and it is powered by a sixteen-cylinder engine which generated 1,750 horsepower (1.30 MW). The GP9 succeeded the GP7. The lettering "GP" stands for "general purpose". This locomotive type was offered both with and without control cabs; locomotives built without control cabs were called GP9B locomotives.

The South Simcoe Railway is a steam heritage railway in Tottenham, Ontario, north of Toronto. Operating excursions since 1992, it is the oldest operating steam heritage railway in Ontario and features the second oldest operating steam locomotive in Canada.

EMD Class 66 Co-Co diesel locomotive

The Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) Class 66 are Co-Co diesel locomotives built by EMD for the European heavy freight market. Designed for use in Great Britain as the Class 66, a development of the Class 59, they have been adapted and certified for use in other European countries. Outside Europe, 40 locomotives have been sold to Egyptian Railways for passenger operation.

Brakeman railroad worker

A brakeman is a rail transport worker whose original job was to assist the braking of a train by applying brakes on individual wagons. The earliest known use of the term to describe this occupation occurred in 1833. The advent of through brakes, brakes on every wagon which could be controlled by the driver, made this role redundant, although the name lives on in the United States where brakemen carry out a variety of functions both on the track and within trains.

Glossary of North American railway terms

This page contains a list of terms, jargon, and slang used to varying degrees by railfans and railroad employees in the United States and Canada. Although not exhaustive, many of the entries in this list appear from time to time in specialist, rail-related publications. Inclusion of a term in this list does not necessarily imply its universal adoption by all railfans and railroad employees, and there may be significant regional variation in usage.

Train dispatcher profession

A train dispatcher (US), rail traffic controller (Canada), train controller (Australia) or signalman (UK), is employed by a railroad to direct and facilitate the movement of trains over an assigned territory, which is usually part, or all, of a railroad operating division. The dispatcher is also responsible for cost effective movement of trains and other on-track railroad equipment to optimize physical (trains) and human resource (crews) assets.

Train horn powerful air horn that serves as an audible warning device on electric and diesel locomotives

A train horn is a powerful air horn that serves as an audible warning device on electric and diesel locomotives. The horn's primary purpose is to alert persons and animals to an oncoming train, especially when approaching a grade crossing. The horn is also used for acknowledging signals given by railroad employees, such as during switching operations.

One-man operation One man operation

One-man operation (OMO), also known as driver-only operation (DOO), one person operation (OPO), single person train operation (SPTO), or one-person train operation (OPTO), is operation of a train, bus, or tram by the engineer or motorman alone, without a conductor.

A runaway train is a type of railroad incident in which unattended rolling stock is accidentally allowed to roll onto the main line, a moving train loses enough braking power to be unable to stop in safety, or a train operates at unsafe speeds due to loss of operator control. If the uncontrolled rolling stock derails or hits another train, it will result in a train wreck.

Christine Gonzalez Aldeis is an American train engineer. She became the first woman to work as an engineer on a Class 1 railroad.


  1. "2003 CFR Title 49, Volume 4; Part 240: Qualification and Certification of Locomotive Engineers". Code of Federal Regulations. United States National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  2. "Train Crew". FAQ: Railway Operations. Indian Railways Fan Club. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  3. Waterson, D.B. "Chifley, Joseph Benedict (Ben) (1885–1951)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  4. López, Carlos Andres (14 March 2017). "US' First Woman Train Engineer Speaks in Las Cruces". Las Cruces Sun-News. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  5. Elisabeth Behrmann (3 October 2013). "Rio Replacing Train Drivers Paid Like U.S. Surgeons". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 October 2013.

Further reading

The following examine the role of the railroad engineer from 1890 to 1919, discussing qualifications for becoming an engineer and typical experiences on the job:

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