Home / Locomotive Engineer

Locomotive Engineer

As a Locomotive Engineer, you will operate trains carrying freight or passengers between stations. At most railways, Locomotive Engineers are promoted from the position of Conductor.


  • Operate diesel-electric locomotives, diesel railcars and passenger control-cars
  • Check the train’s mechanical condition and be on the lookout for possible problems
  • Monitor instruments that measure speed, amperage, battery charge and air pressure
  • Be constantly aware of what is going on with the train and how different elements affect its operation (i.e. cargo weight, grade, acceleration)
  • Work closely with Conductors
  • Be 100 per cent committed to safety

Typical Working Conditions, Hours & Salary:

  • Railways operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a Locomotive Engineer, you will not work a typical nine-to-five shift. You will be on-call, will work irregular hours and must be available to work weekends and holidays.
  • In some cases you will travel. This will usually be up to 320 kilometres from your home terminal.
  • Salaries for a Locomotive Engineer range from $80,000 to $105,000 a year.

Training Requirements & Qualifications:

Locomotive Engineers are typically promoted from the Conductor ranks. Some railways require two years of experience as a Conductor before candidates can apply to take the Locomotive Engineer Training Program. Training programs are generally four to eight months in length, and include theory and practical training in:

  • Canadian Rail Operating Rules
  • Locomotive operation, braking, inspection and troubleshooting
  • Train-handling strategies
  • Car air-brake systems and brake tests
  • Train marshalling
  • Crew Resource Management (CRM) awareness

By regulation, Locomotive Engineers must pass the Canadian Rail Operating Rules exam in order to be considered qualified. Depending on where they work in Canada, they will have to re-certify their credentials by passing this exam either every two or every three years.