Qualifications to Operate a Train

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Qualifications to Operate a Train

Being in charge of operating a train is a huge responsibility, and one that requires plenty of training before it is possible. The specific requirements depend on the type of train that is being operated. It may be a cargo train, passenger train, or one that carries hazardous materials. There are commuter trains as well in various cities to help reduce the amount of traffic on the roads.


There are some specific requirements though that apply to all types of trains. To help prevent the risk of problems while navigating a train, those on board must pass written testing, continue to engage in training offered by their employer, and pass a complete health exam annually. Those in charge of operating a train must have very good eyesight and hearing in order to fill the requirements of the job.

It is now required for all personnel operating a train to pass a background check and to show that they are a citizen of the United States in an effort to reduce the chances of terrorism involving trains. Many employers are also requesting a complete mental evaluation as well.

A full understanding of English both in the written and verbal forms are required. There are many different types of crew members on a train with the engineer being the one in charge. It takes more training, education, and credentials to hold such a position.

Various tests many be given to determine if someone is a good fit for a job operating a train. These tests are designed to evaluate their ability to make quick decisions, their navigational skills, their ability to follow instructions, leadership, and communication skills. All of these are very important for being successful at operating a train properly.

Any individual that wants to become an engineer has to be at least 21 years of age. There are plenty of areas of the job that need to be taken seriously when operating a train as a crew member or as an engineer. The train needs to be carefully inspected prior to taking a trip. The crew has to know how to manipulate the train in response to the load and weather conditions.

A great deal of the training for operating a train has to do with technology. Most of the controls are in place with the best possible technology behind them. Having a solid understanding of how a train operates and how to use computers is very helpful for anyone wishing to pursue such a career choice.

You will find excellent programs and most colleges to build a solid foundation in the area of engineering. Once you have earned a degree from an accredited school, you can contact the various railroad companies to find out about the available jobs. They will likely have you take part in their own training programs to teach you the specifics of how they operate their equipment. They will also want to ensure you know proper safety procedures to follow.

The average annual earnings for a train engineer is $61,850. This is very good pay for a job that requires plenty of attention to details. The forecast for jobs in the area of operating trains is one that is going to be lower in ten years than the demand for it now. While there will likely be more trains in use, it is believed technology will allow them to operate faster and more efficient so fewer humans will be needed in order to operate them.