Locomotive mechanics inspect, repair and maintain diesel locomotives. Those
are the engines that move massive freight and passenger trains. Locomotives
cost as much as $1 million each. The work mechanics do to extend the working
lives of these powerful machines is essential to the success of railroads
In short, locomotive mechanics keep the trains running. They use their
mechanical ability and skills with tools to repair and maintain the massive
engines that power both freight and passenger trains.
Locomotive mechanics say that safety is their first concern. In fact, most
locomotive mechanics have the ability to take locomotives out of commission
if they feel they are unsafe.
Usually, though, the mechanics keep locomotives running smoothly.
Mechanical ability and good hands are essential. Locomotive mechanics often
find themselves working on very large and heavy equipment.
They operate precision machines such as drill presses and metal lathes.
They should be comfortable with mechanical lifts used to hoist the diesel
locomotives. Those locomotives can weigh upwards of 20 tons.
Railroads run around the clock. Mechanics that keep them working can expect
to work some night and weekend hours. With seniority, however, a regular 40-hour
workweek -- with the option of overtime -- kicks in.
Most mechanics work in large hangars where locomotives are brought for
repair. Sometimes they must venture out into the elements when a train breaks
down in transit.
Locomotive mechanics pride themselves on maintaining safe and clean work
environments. In fact, many people love trains so much that after working
on them all day, they also make them their hobby.