Summary Report for:
53-4012.00 - Locomotive Firers
Monitor locomotive instruments and watch for dragging equipment, obstacles on rights-of-way, and train signals during run. Watch for and relay traffic signals from yard workers to yard engineer in railroad yard.
Sample of reported job titles: Assistant Engineer, Assistant Passenger Locomotive Engineer, Fireman, Locomotive Engineer, Passenger Locomotive Engineer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Observe train signals along routes and verify their meanings for engineers.
- Monitor trains as they go around curves to detect dragging equipment and smoking journal boxes.
- Receive signals from workers in rear of train and relay that information to engineers.
- Observe tracks from left sides of locomotives to detect obstructions on tracks.
- Operate locomotives in emergency situations.
- Inspect locomotives to detect damaged or worn parts.
- Signal other workers to set brakes and to throw track switches when switching cars from trains to way stations.
- Check to see that trains are equipped with supplies such as fuel, water, and sand.
- Monitor oil, temperature, and pressure gauges on dashboards to determine if engines are operating safely and efficiently.
- Start diesel engines to warm engines before runs.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Ammeters — Clamp-on ammeters
- Battery hydrometer — Battery gauges
- Circuit breakers
- Desktop computers
- Diesel freight locomotives — Diesel powered freight engines; Dinkey engines
- Diesel generators — Diesel powered generators
- Electric freight locomotives — Diesel-electric freight engines; Electric powered freight engines; Gas turbine-electric freight engines
- Electrical control panels for generators — Generator electrical control panels
- Fire extinguishers — Dry chemical fire extinguishers
- Freight rail cars — Rail cargo cars
- Oil gauges — Oil pressure gauges
- Pilot valves — Cut-off valves
- Protective gloves — Safety gloves
- Rail switching systems — Manual rail switches; Track switches; Track switching systems
- Railway or tramway maintenance or service vehicle — Rail flaw detection machines; Rail flaw detector cars
- Safety boots — Steel toe boots
- Safety glasses — Protective glasses
- Safety horns — Air horns
- Safety vests — Reflective vests
- Screwdrivers — Philips head screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers
- Speedometers — Speed gauges
- Steam engines — Steam powered train engines
- Temperature gauge — Temperature gauges
- Train braking systems — Dynamic braking systems; Freight car air brakes; Hand brakes; Locomotive airbrakes
- Two way radios — Mobile radios
- Voltage or current meters — Load current indicating meters
Technology used in this occupation:
- 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.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Detailed Work Activities
- Monitor traffic signals.
- Monitor surroundings to detect potential hazards.
- Monitor equipment gauges or displays to ensure proper operation.
- Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
- Monitor engine operation or functioning.
- Operate locomotives or other rail vehicles.
- Receive information or instructions for performing work assignments.
- Inspect locomotives or other railroad equipment.
- Monitor availability of equipment or supplies.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 95% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 75% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 80% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 70% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 75% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 70% responded “Very important results.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 55% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Consequence of Error — 65% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 30% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Exposed to High Places — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Important.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 55% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|65||High school diploma or equivalent|
|15||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: RC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$22.47 hourly, $46,740 annual|
|Employment (2012)||2,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||500|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Railroad Occupations . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.