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Summary Report for:
53-4013.00 - 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Engineer, Conductor, Railcar Switcher, Railroad Engineer, Switchman, Equipment Operator, Car Repairman, Switch Crew Supervisor, Transportation Specialist, Yard Engineer

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Tasks  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Confer with conductors and other workers via radiotelephones or computers to exchange switching information.
  • 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.
  • Inspect the condition of stationary trains, rolling stock, and equipment.
  • Observe water levels and oil, air, and steam pressure gauges to ensure proper operation of equipment.
  • Spot cars for loading and unloading at customer locations.

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Knowledge

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.

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Skills

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.
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.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Abilities

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.
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.
Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
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.
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).
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
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.

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Work Activities

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
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.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Work Context

Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

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Job Zone

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)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
79   High school diploma or equivalent Help
14   Some college, no degree
  Post-secondary certificate Help

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Interests

Interest code: RCI

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.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
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.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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Work Values

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.
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.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Related Occupations

47-4051.00 Highway Maintenance Workers
47-4061.00 Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators   Green Occupation Green
47-5013.00 Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining Green Occupation
47-5081.00 Helpers--Extraction Workers
53-3032.00 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook   Green Occupation
53-4011.00 Locomotive Engineers Green Occupation
53-4012.00 Locomotive Firers
53-4021.00 Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators
53-4031.00 Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Green Occupation
53-7032.00 Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $19.82 hourly, $41,230 annual
Employment (2012) 5,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Little or no change (-2% to 2%) Little or no change (-2% to 2%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 1,700
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "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.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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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 external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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