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Life As a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler

Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler Definition Drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.

Life As a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler: What Do They Do?

  • Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
  • Apply and release hand brakes.
  • Inspect track for defects such as broken rails and switch malfunctions.
  • Signal crew members for movement of engines or trains, using lanterns, hand signals, radios, or telephones.
  • Spot cars for loading and unloading at customer locations.
  • Operate track switches, derails, automatic switches, and retarders to change routing of train or cars.

What Every Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler Should Know

These are the skills Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers say are the most useful in their careers:

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Other Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler Job Titles

  • Larry Car Operator
  • Yard Hostler
  • Car Barn Laborer
  • Car Repairman
  • Switchman

Are There Job Opportunities for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers?

There were about 4,400 jobs for Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 200 new jobs for Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler by 2026. The BLS estimates 400 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler are South Carolina, Texas, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Minnesota, or Michigan. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler Salary

The salary for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers ranges between about $33,280 and $81,380 a year.

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Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers who work in South Carolina, New York, or Alabama, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $56,960
Arkansas $40,320
California $55,480
Colorado $36,980
Florida $54,890
Georgia $41,010
Illinois $58,140
Indiana $59,130
Kentucky $49,940
Massachusetts $61,180
Michigan $40,570
Minnesota $55,740
Missouri $44,900
Nebraska $58,090
New York $72,370
North Carolina $45,740
Ohio $56,780
Oklahoma $71,640
Pennsylvania $50,650
South Carolina $73,390
Tennessee $52,250
Texas $51,140
Utah $44,380
West Virginia $50,040

What Tools do Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers:

  • Web browser software

How to Become a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler

Education needed to be a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler:

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What work experience do I need to become a Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler?

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Where do Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers Work?

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The table below shows the approximate number of Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers employed by various industries.

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References:

Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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