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How Much Does a Train Engineer Make?

A railroad engineer is ultimately accountable for the entire train during a run, rather than just driving it. Railroad engineers typically advance to the position through on-the-job training in other railroad jobs. Continue reading to learn more about job duties in this field, as well as employment opportunities and compensation potential.

How much does a Train Engineer make?

Train engineers are in charge of driving trains over short and long distances. Their mission is to safely transport their clients from A to B while operating our public transportation system.

Train engineers, also known as locomotive engineers, oversee the trains transporting goods and passengers between cities and states.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average locomotive engineer salary is higher than the national average salary for all occupations.

What Do Locomotive or Train Engineers Do?

A locomotive engineer runs the locomotive car, which provides forward propulsion, speed, and steering control for the entire train in a safe and efficient manner.

Although many passenger lines in the United States still use locomotive cars, locomotives are primarily associated with freight trains that operate across older, non-electric, non-magnetic rail lines.

The engineer drives the train from the locomotive, ensuring that speed and braking controls are appropriately applied and that the train is properly moved from track to track as needed.

Because trains travel on tracks, the engineer’s steering is often associated with speed control and an understanding of how the train’s weight and mass affect its momentum.

Throughout a freight voyage, the engineer checks the locomotive’s and engine’s performance using gauges and readouts, looking for potential problems such as overheating or underperformance.

Most rail routes have recommended safe speed maximums and/or minimums, and it is the engineer’s responsibility to keep the train within those restrictions.

The engineer also ensures that their train follows a fixed schedule and monitors fuel consumption. They communicate with controllers at stations along their route to ensure that the train is correctly switched from track to track as needed.

How Much Does a Train Engineer Get Paid?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s 35,520 locomotive engineers earned an average of $71,570 per year, or $34.41 per hour, as of May 2019.

The lowest ten percent of engineers earned less than $47,190 per year, or $22.69 per hour, while the wealthiest ten percent earned more than $101,060 per year, or $48.59 per hour.

Electric or diesel locomotives are driven by train engineers to convey commodities and people across the country.

The daily responsibilities of train engineers include inspecting and changing the condition of their vehicles.

Salaries for Train Engineers by Location

Nevada’s 190 locomotive engineers received the highest average salary: $99,520 per year, or $47.85 per hour.

With a yearly pay average of $89,100 ( $42.84 per hour), Washington was the second-most lucrative state for locomotive engineers.

California’s 1,770 locomotive engineers received the third-highest wages: $84,740 per year, or $40.74 per hour.

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Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Train Engineer Jobs?

On this list, Santa Clara and California tops the list, followed closely by San Francisco, California, and Marysville, Washington, in second and third place.

Marysville, WA surpasses the national average by $23,480 (20.3%), and Santa Clara, CA surpasses the $115,864 average by an additional $31,804 (27.4%).

Since the average salary in these ten cities is higher than the national average, there seems to be a great deal of potential for financial growth for Train Engineers who relocate.

The average salary for these top ten cities only differs by 10% between Santa Clara, California, and Antioch, California, which further emphasizes the little opportunity for significant wage advancement.

Here is the list of cities with the highest salary structures for Train Engineers:

  • Santa Clara, CA($121,833)
  • San Francisco, CA($121,797)
  • Fremont, CA($116,992)
  • San Jose, CA($114,460)
  • Alexandria, VA($113,614)
  • Oakland, CA($113,220)
  • Tanaina, AK($112,940)
  • Wasilla, AK($112,939)
  • Sunnyvale, CA($111,931)
  • Santa Maria, CA($111,194)

Train Engineer Salaries Per Region

Here is the list of salary structures for Train Engineer based on regions in the US:

  • Georgia $122,400
  • Massachusetts $116,000
  • Minnesota $114,333
  • Wisconsin $113,500
  • Maryland $110,000
  • Virginia $105,212
  • Nebraska $90,000
  • California $87,500
  • Washington $77,779
  • Louisiana $74,750
  • Utah $72,500
  • Colorado $72,500
  • New York $72,260
  • Texas $71,574
  • Kansas $69,750
  • New Mexico $69,000
  • Connecticut $68,416
  • Nevada $68,000
  • Illinois $66,222
  • North Carolina $65,000
  • Hawaii $63,678
  • Pennsylvania $63,160
  • New Jersey $58,771
  • Indiana $58,500
  • Ohio $57,025
  • Arizona $54,971
  • Idaho $53,664
  • Missouri $53,434
  • Florida $50,213
  • Tennessee $45,338
  • Kentucky $44,004
  • Oregon $40,238
  • Alabama $38,367
  • West Virginia $34,168

The Benefits of Working as a Train Engineer

Below are the things you stand to enjoy as a Train Engineer. However, the benefits are not limited to the following:

  • As a locomotive engineer, you travel a lot.
  • Train drivers can travel the country for free or even get paid.
  • They can see and experience many different places and cultures.
  • Working as a train engineer can be thrilling because you don’t have to do any hard lifting.
  • Train drivers don’t have to work outside in the cold.
  • They keep our system running. Most people will appreciate what you do.
  • You can work on your own.
  • If you enjoy trains, this is an excellent career for you.
  • As a train engineer, you may earn a respectable living.
  • A college diploma is not required to work as a train driver.

Finally, there are aspects of the job that may be enjoyable, and the pay is excellent for not requiring a college diploma, operating a large, lengthy freight train over the area does give you a sense of empowerment due to the amount of heavy iron under your control.

CSN Team.

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