46- Locomotive engine drivers

Job Title: 

Locomotive engine drivers

Job Description: 

Drive, or assist in driving, trains to transport passengers and/or freight.


Locomotive engineers are among the most experienced and skilled workers on the rail network. Locomotive-engineers (train drivers) drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations. They are in charge of and responsible for driving the locomotive as well as the mechanical operation of the train, train speed, and all train handling. Rail network facilities include main tracks, sidings, towers, signals, buildings, fuel/ lube, sanding, and water points, workshops, engine houses, communications and information management systems. Maybe required to be licensed, registered or certified to be permitted to work by a government authority, agency or approved certifying body.


Job activities and tasks include:

  • driving or assisting in driving a steam, electric, diesel-electric or gas-turbine-electric locomotive engine
  • driving an underground or elevated passenger train
  • inspecting locomotives to verify adequate fuel, sand, water, or other supplies before each journey or to check for mechanical problems
  • interpreting train orders, signals, or railroad rules and regulations that govern the operation of locomotives
  • monitoring gauges or meters that measure speed, amperage, battery charge, or air pressure in brake lines or in main reservoirs
  • monitoring train loading procedures to ensure that freight or rolling stock are loaded or unloaded without damage
  • conducting brake examination tests at shunting stations
  • driving a locomotive to haul carriages underground or on the surface
  • watching for track hazards, observing signals and indicator gauges
  • acting promptly and complying with, safety rules in emergency conditions or breakdowns
  • identifying faults in breakdown situations
  • recognizing relevant rail laws, regulations, codes, standards and practices that apply when crossing different jurisdictions
  • operating communications systems to communicate with train crews and traffic controllers to ensure safe operation and scheduling of trains

Knowledge of relevant laws, policies, procedures, regulations, standards, codes and strategies pertaining to the rail transport systems and networks

  • Knowledge of principles, concepts and techniques of locomotives and their drive and braking systems
  • Knowledge of principles, concepts and techniques of handling trains, traction and routes to avoid train partings, derailments and track speed
  • Knowledge of principles, concepts and techniques of rail track systems and networks
  • Knowledge of principles, concepts and techniques of rail signalling systems including incline and decline of the right-of-way and speed limits
  • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications
  • Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology to rail systems, networks, tracks, locomotives, plant and equipment
  • Knowledge of materials, construction processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective and timely transportation of products and goods to destination
  • Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production and uses of maps, sketches, drawings including layout and multi-dimensional layouts, schematics, plans, models
  • Knowledge of power production, distribution and related processes of the locomotive engine to the remainder of the train (e.g. wagons, compartments; freezer containers)
  • Knowledge of hazard material transportation, emergency response and national security requirements
  • Driving the locomotive
  • Deploying designated response procedures emergency or national security situations
  • Using communication and IT information systems to report unusual incidents, malfunctioning equipment, or maintenance being performed on rail network
  • Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work
  • Identifying problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. Including troubleshooting and determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/assessing performance of oneself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of locomotive performance to evaluate quality or effectiveness of on-time delivery
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
  • Time Management - Managing one?s own time and the time of others
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly measure and estimate exact positions
  • English (Technical) Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the rail system and network related technical English terminologies
  • Information Communications Technology - Knowledge and use of relevant rail systems and network management information systems, applications and program
  • Team work or individual - job may require him/her to work alone or in conjunction with engineers, train crews, contractors, regulators, and logistic and transport personnel
  • Work Context: 

    The rail industry is typically, a highly regulated sector and drivers may require additional annual re-certification by a regulatory body, and may be required to undertake regular health checks. Rail networks deliver billions of tons of freight and millions of travellers per year to an array of destinations, while subways and light-rail systems transport millions of passengers around metropolitan areas. Typically, work irregular hours, including weekends and evenings.


    Secondary School Certificate, Certificate in locomotive engineering (driving) or related field of work, higher qualification or equivalent.

    Required Work Experience: 

    2 - 3 year and above

    Probable Employers: 

    Road Transport Authority of Dubai, ADNOC, ADAC, Souroh, Etihad Rail

    Occupational Size: 
    Less than 5,000
    Expected Earnings: 

    Above the industry average

    Projected Growth: 
    Very good
    Alternate Titles: 

    Examples of job titles:
    Locomotive driver - Metropolitan railway driver - Train driver
    Examples of some related occupations:
    Freight train locomotive engineers - Tram driver - Train operator - Locomotive engineer

    UAE Industry Groups: 
    International Careers(ISCO): 
    Source Of Info: 
    Occupations and Careers Handbook for UAE Nationals(Copyright NQA ). Referenced from New York University, Abu Dhabhi