A train engineer, or locomotive engineer, drives large locomotives that transport passengers or cargo. Locomotive engineers are some of the most highly trained and experienced rail employees. Locomotive engineers are trained to control an intricate and powerful machine, ensuring the safety of its passengers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, train engineers must be at least 21 years old, have previous experience being a conductor and undergo the Federal Railroad Administration's formal training program.
The mean hourly wage for locomotive engineers was £16.70, and the mean annual wage, or average salary, was £34,833, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Median annual wages for locomotive engineers ranged from approximately £21,729 to £57,648. The lowest 10 per cent of employees earned less than £21,729 and the top 10 per cent of employees earned more than £57,648.
PayScale lists the salary of locomotive engineers based on the years of experience. In October 2010, one to four years, £29,889 to £54,100; five to nine years, £41,548 to £55,992; 10 to 19 years, £45,374 to £61,222; 20 years or more, £52,770 to £70,023.
Rail transportation employed the largest number of locomotive engineers with an average salary of £34,989, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that employed large numbers were: the local government, £31,141; support activities for rail transportation, £23,530; iron and steel mills and ferroalloy manufacturing, £30,530; and scenic and sightseeing transportation on land, £22,873.
New Mexico paid the highest average salary above all other states to locomotive engineers, with £59,007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offered high pay were: California, £45,071; Colorado, £44,876; Oklahoma, £44,492; and Wisconsin, £44,336.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national employment for locomotive engineers and operators is expected to increase at a rate of 10 per cent from 2008 through 2018. In 2008, the top industries hiring for locomotive engineers included the transportation and warehousing industry and the government, according to O*Net, a website sponsored by the Department of Labor.