Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers

Drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.

Median Annual Wage: $43,880

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (79%); Some college, no degree (14%); Post-secondary certificate (5%)

Projected Growth: Little or no change (-2% to 2%)

Related Job Titles: Engineer; Conductor; Equipment Operator; Car Repairman; Transportation Specialist; Railroad Engineer; Railcar Switcher; Switchman; Switch Crew Supervisor; Yard Engineer

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers.

More Transportation and Material Moving Careers

  • Signal crew members for movement of engines or trains, using lanterns, hand signals, radios, or telephones.
  • Observe and respond to wayside and cab signals, including color light signals, position signals, torpedoes, flags, and hot box detectors.
  • Drive engines within railroad yards or other establishments to couple, uncouple, or switch railroad cars.
  • Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
  • Apply and release hand brakes.
  • Read switching instructions and daily car schedules to determine work to be performed, or receive orders from yard conductors.
  • Spot cars for loading and unloading at customer locations.
  • Observe water levels and oil, air, and steam pressure gauges to ensure proper operation of equipment.
  • Inspect the condition of stationary trains, rolling stock, and equipment.
  • Inspect track for defects such as broken rails and switch malfunctions.
  • Ride on moving cars by holding onto grab irons and standing on ladder steps.
  • Operate track switches, derails, automatic switches, and retarders to change routing of train or cars.
  • Receive, relay, and act upon instructions and inquiries from train operations and customer service center personnel.
  • Couple and uncouple air hoses and electrical connections between cars.
  • Report arrival and departure times, train delays, work order completion, and time on duty.
  • Pull knuckles to open them for coupling.
  • Provide assistance in aligning drawbars, using available equipment to lift, pull, or push on the drawbars.
  • Drive locomotives to and from various stations in roundhouses to have locomotives cleaned, serviced, repaired, or supplied.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers.

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers.

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