What does a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, and Hostler do?
Drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.
- Confer with conductors and other workers via radiotelephones or computers to exchange switching information.
- Signal crew members for movement of engines or trains, using lanterns, hand signals, radios, or telephones.
- Observe and respond to wayside and cab signals, including color light signals, position signals, torpedoes, flags, and hot box detectors.
- Drive engines within railroad yards or other establishments to couple, uncouple, or switch railroad cars.
- Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
- Apply and release hand brakes.
- Read switching instructions and daily car schedules to determine work to be performed, or receive orders from yard conductors.
- Inspect the condition of stationary trains, rolling stock, and equipment.
- Observe water levels and oil, air, and steam pressure gauges to ensure proper operation of equipment.
- Spot cars for loading and unloading at customer locations.
- Inspect track for defects such as broken rails and switch malfunctions.
- Ride on moving cars by holding onto grab irons and standing on ladder steps.
- Operate track switches, derails, automatic switches, and retarders to change routing of train or cars.
- Receive, relay, and act upon instructions and inquiries from train operations and customer service center personnel.
- Couple and uncouple air hoses and electrical connections between cars.
- Report arrival and departure times, train delays, work order completion, and time on duty.
- Pull knuckles to open them for coupling.
- Provide assistance in aligning drawbars, using available equipment to lift, pull, or push on the drawbars.
- Drive locomotives to and from various stations in roundhouses to have locomotives cleaned, serviced, repaired, or supplied.
- Record numbers of cars available, numbers of cars sent to repair stations, and types of service needed.
- Perform routine repair and maintenance duties.
- Operate and control dinkey engines to transport and shunt cars at industrial or mine sites.
- Operate flatcars equipped with derricks or railcars to transport personnel or equipment.
- Provide assistance in the installation or repair of rails and ties.
- Operate switching diesel engines to switch railroad cars, using remote controls.