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Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers - 53-4013.00

O*NET-SOC Description

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

Sample of Reported Job Titles

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

SOC Occupation Groups

53-0000 Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
53-4000 Rail Transportation Workers
53-4010 Locomotive Engineers and Operators
53-4013.00 Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers

Related Occupations


  • Apply and release hand brakes.
  • Confer with conductors and other workers via radiotelephones or computers to exchange switching information.
  • Couple and uncouple air hoses and electrical connections between cars.
  • Drive engines within railroad yards or other establishments to couple, uncouple, or switch railroad cars.
  • Drive locomotives to and from various stations in roundhouses to have locomotives cleaned, serviced, repaired, or supplied.
  • Inspect engines before and after use to ensure proper operation.
  • Inspect the condition of stationary trains, rolling stock, and equipment.
  • Inspect track for defects such as broken rails and switch malfunctions.
  • Observe and respond to wayside and cab signals, including color light signals, position signals, torpedoes, flags, and hot box detectors.
  • Observe water levels and oil, air, and steam pressure gauges to ensure proper operation of equipment.
  • 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.
  • Operate switching diesel engines to switch railroad cars, using remote controls.
  • Operate track switches, derails, automatic switches, and retarders to change routing of train or cars.
  • Perform routine repair and maintenance duties.
  • Provide assistance in aligning drawbars, using available equipment to lift, pull, or push on the drawbars.
  • Provide assistance in the installation or repair of rails and ties.
  • Pull knuckles to open them for coupling.
  • Read switching instructions and daily car schedules to determine work to be performed, or receive orders from yard conductors.
  • Receive, relay, and act upon instructions and inquiries from train operations and customer service center personnel.
  • Record numbers of cars available, numbers of cars sent to repair stations, and types of service needed.
  • Report arrival and departure times, train delays, work order completion, and time on duty.
  • Ride on moving cars by holding onto grab irons and standing on ladder steps.
  • 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.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Climb ladders or vehicles to perform duties.
  • Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
  • Connect cables or electrical lines.
  • Connect hoses to equipment or machinery.
  • Control equipment that regulates vehicle traffic.
  • Inspect locomotives or other railroad equipment.
  • Maintain locomotives or other rail equipment in good working condition.
  • Measure the level or depth of water or other liquids.
  • Monitor traffic signals.
  • Monitor vehicle movement or location.
  • Operate locomotives or other rail vehicles.
  • Position material handling equipment.
  • Receive information or instructions for performing work assignments.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Record service or repair activities.
  • Review work orders or schedules to determine operations or procedures.
  • Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Cannon Crewmember (Army - Enlisted)
  • Cavalry Scout (Army - Enlisted)
  • Combat Engineer (Army - Enlisted)
  • Railway Specialist (USAR only) (Army - Enlisted)
  • Unit Supply Specialist (Army - Enlisted)
  • Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

No information available.

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Dinkey Operator
  • Hostler
  • Laborer, Car Barn
  • Yard Engineer