A Day in the Life of a Train Engineer

Do you love trains?  Trains are amazing machines and are loved by people all over the world.  These huge pieces of machinery are fascinatingHave you ever wondered what it would be like to drive a freight train?  These magnificent beasts are used to transport cargo or freight from one station to another.  Freight trains have the ability to efficiently move goods all over the country.

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, Trains, Train engineer

Bo John

Have you ever wondered about the people that drive these trains?  These adventurous men and women who drive freight trains have a huge responsibility– not only to the companies whose freight they are hauling, but also to the people whose towns they pass though.  Much like the job of a truck driver, these people have a love for the “open road”.  There is an incredible opportunity for the peace and serenity that goes along with driving on the open road, or railroad, but there is also a huge responsibility that goes along with this profession.  The Engineer usually works alone and works long hours. 

The job of a Train Engineer is a very important one.  There are many factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding to pursue a career as a Train Engineer.  In order to be considered for a position as a Train Engineer, an individual must have at least two years of college and also attend an Engineer Training courseSafety is also an important part of this profession.  An Engineer must be concerned about the safety of his/her crew as well as the people who may be sitting at those railroad crossings waiting on the train to pass.

A Day in the life of an Engineer usually begins early in the morning.  The Engineer goes to the train station to prepare for the load.  He checks his paperwork, etc. and waits for the train to arrive so that he can switch places with the Engineer that is arriving at the station.  Once the train arrives, and the crew is switched out, it is time to move on to the next destination.  Attached to the engine are many cars containing all sorts of cargo.  Some trains carry fruit such as oranges, cars, coal, etc.  All of this cargo must be delivered to a company.

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, TrainsThe train starts moving off slowly and then picks up speed as it roars toward its destination.  The Engineer has lots of gauges and controls to monitor to ensure that the train is moving along at a proper speed and that the engine is running smoothly.  The Engineer is also responsible to use his/her radio to stay in contact with the station.  Once the train arrives at its destination, it is time to unload the cargo.  The Engineer must drop the cargo at each company by causing those particular cars to “break away” from the rest.  This maneuver must be done at each company.  When all of the cargo has been delivered, the job is done and it is time to return to the station.  The Engineer may be gone for days at a time, depending on how long it takes to go to the destination, deliver the cargo, and return.


2 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Train Engineer

  1. gflinn

    Nice story but I think your dad would tell you that you need to run the rail terminology past someone who is directly involved with railroading. Your dad was an engineer which is a completely different job than a conductor. There were a couple of other things but minor. If you write another story contact one of your dad’s coworkers.

  2. deltagirl35 Post author

    Hi gflinn,

    I agree with you that the terminology is more related to that of a conductor’s job. I truly wish that my dad was around to help me with the terminology and more of the day to day duties of an engineer. But he is no longer around to do that. He passed in 2005…..

    He started his railroad career as a conductor, and I remember the stories he used to tell about his job. I did a little research and tried to add in information about the engineer’s job.

    I appreciate your critique- I definitely want to get it right. Please continue to read my blog, and give feedback. I really appreciate it. It is all making me a better writer.



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