What does a Locomotive Firer do?

Median Pay $60,360
Growth Rate -3%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A locomotive firer has a vital position as they are responsible to monitor the instruments on their locomotive and watch for hazards, such as dragging equipment or obstacles on the track. They are observant and alert of traffic signals at all times. Additional titles this position holds include assistant engineer and fireman.

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How to Become a Locomotive Firer

Many large railroad companies offer their own distinct training programs and provide you with on-the-job training and employers request a high school diploma or equivalent. According to O*NET OnLine, over 60% of the locomotive firer’s surveyed had attained their high school diploma. About 20% had earned a certification after high school and about 15% stated they had some college but had not yet earned their degree.

Job Description of a Locomotive Firer

A locomotive firer must be attentive and have attention to detail. They are a vital safeguard for any railroad journey. They look for and report train signals to other crew along the route and monitor the train as it goes around curves. They are vigilant to look for any safety hazards on the train and on the track. In emergency situations, they may need to operate the locomotive as well.

Locomotive Firer Career Video Transcript

become a locomotive firer

A variety of railroad workers help ensure that passenger and freight trains are in the right place at the right time, operating safely. Rail yard engineers (also called hostlers) move locomotives between tracks to keep the trains organized and on schedule. They drive locomotives to and from maintenance shops or prepare them for the locomotive engineer. Some operate small locomotives called dinkeys. Other railroad workers focus on train safety. Brake operators help couple and uncouple train cars. Signal operators install and maintain the communication signals along tracks and in the rail yard. Switch operators control the track switches in rail yards to ensure trains move safely between tracks.

Locomotive firers monitor train instruments and watch out for hazards on the track. Most rail employees work full-time. Since trains operate 24/7, many railroad workers work nights, weekends, and holidays. Rail companies typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, and provide on-the-job training lasting from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the employer and the complexity of the job. Rail yard engineers, and switch or signal operators may advance to become conductors or yardmasters.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Railroad Workers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 53-4012.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.