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Train Engineers and Operators

Train Engineers and Operators
Quick Facts : Train Engineers and Operators*
2010 Median Pay$46,100
Entry Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 201267,100
Job Outlook1% (Little or no change)
Employment Change500

Train engineers and train operators ensure that freight trains and passenger trains stay on time and travel safely. Train engineers drive trains. Train operators work the brakes, signals, or switches. They are essential to keeping freight and passenger trains running properly.

What Train Engineers and Operators Do

  • Check the mechanical condition of locomotives and make adjustments when necessary
  • Document issues with a train that require further inspection
  • Operate locomotive engines within or between stations
  • Ensure that trains make it to their correct destinations
  • Communicate with dispatchers over radios to get information about delays or changes in the schedule

Work Environment

Train engineers include locomotive engineers who drive trains between stations and rail yard engineers who move trains around in a rail yard. Nearly all locomotive engineers work in the rail transportation industry. Rail yard engineers work in both rail transportation and support activities for rail. Nearly all brake, signal, and switch operators work in the rail transportation industry.
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Job Outlook

Employment of train engineers and operators is projected to experience little or no change, growing 1 percent from 2010 to 2020 .
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In May 2010 the average salary of train engineers and operators was $46,100.
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Train Engineers and Operators*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Train Engineers and Operators


Transportation Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Train Engineers and Operators*
Percent Change in Employment

Train Engineers and Operators


Transportation Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Train Engineers and Operators

Many rail companies require locomotive engineers to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some companies do not have education requirements for rail yard workers. Train engineers and operators are trained on the job through company training programs.
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