Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers

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About the Job

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

It is also Called

  • Yard Switcher
  • Yard Motor Operator
  • Yard Hostler
  • Yard Engineer
  • Work Car Operator
  • Transportation Specialist
  • Train Operator
  • Switchman
  • Switcher
  • Switch Engineer
View All

What They Do

  • Operate switching diesel engines to switch railroad cars, using remote controls.
  • Provide assistance in the installation or repair of rails and ties.
  • Operate flatcars equipped with derricks or railcars to transport personnel or equipment.
  • Operate and control dinkey engines to transport and shunt cars at industrial or mine sites.
  • Perform routine repair and maintenance duties.
  • Record numbers of cars available, numbers of cars sent to repair stations, and types of service needed.
  • Drive locomotives to and from various stations in roundhouses to have locomotives cleaned, serviced, repaired, or supplied.
  • Provide assistance in aligning drawbars, using available equipment to lift, pull, or push on the drawbars.
  • Pull knuckles to open them for coupling.
  • Report arrival and departure times, train delays, work order completion, and time on duty.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RCI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional and Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Relationships and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $48,570 with most people making between $35,860 and $61,820

Outlook

1.15%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 260 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 290 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 3 openings due to growth and about 7 replacement openings for approximately 10 total annual openings.

Industries that Employ this Occupation

Industry breakdown is not available for this occupation



Pennsylvania Department of Education