Train Operator


Work Tasks

TRAIN OPERATORS run trains that carry passengers and freight through cities and across the country. They work for freight, passenger, and urban transit systems. Locomotove Engineers operate large trains that carry cargo or passengers. Railroad Conductors coordinate freight train crews, review schedules, switching orders, and shipping records; they collect tickets and fares, and make announcements to passengers. Railroad Brakers couple and uncouple cars and operate switches. Subway Operators make announcements to riders, open and close train doors, and make sure passengers get on and off the train safely. Streetcar Operators drive electric-powered streetcars, trolleys, or light-rail vehicles that transport passengers around metropolitan areas.

Salary, Size & Growth

Entry Requirements

Most TRAIN OPERATORS who work for the railroad industry begin as laborers, brakers, or conductors after completing training on signals, timetables, operating rules, and related subjects. Although new employees may be hired as conductors, seniority determines whether an employee may hold a conductor position full-time. Employers almost always fill locomotive engineer positions with workers who have experience in other railroad-operating occupations. Subway, streetcar, and light-rail train operators with sufficient seniority can advance to station managers or other supervisory positions.