Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers


Salary Median (2020)


Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)

-6.8% (decline)

Most Common Level of Education

High school diploma or equivalent


What Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers Do

Drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.

Other Job Titles Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers May Have

Carman, Engineer, Hostler, Rail Yard Engineer, Railcar Switcher, Railroad Engineer, Switchman, Yard Engineer

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • Observe and respond to wayside and cab signals, including color light signals, position signals, torpedoes, flags, and hot box detectors.
  • Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
  • Apply and release hand brakes.
  • Signal crew members for movement of engines or trains, using lanterns, hand signals, radios, or telephones.
  • Confer with conductors and other workers via radiotelephones or computers to exchange switching information.

This page includes information from theO*NET 26.1 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.