Locomotive Operator's School

Eastern Lackawanna County 
Agricultural and Technical University
 
Division of Continuing Education 
School of Railroad Crafts Technology
Locomotive Engineer Operator's Certificate

The job of locomotive engineer is sought out by railroad employees as the most demanding, responsible, and critical job on the railroad. Most Class one railroads do not hire engineers from  outside the company unless the applicant is already a licensed locomotive engineer having passed a rigorous course of training and has had some experience in the craft.

Contracts signed between the United Transportation Union and the Class 1 railroads stipulate that employees hired as trainmen will eventually be promoted to engineer and will be taught at training centers sponsored by the individual railroads. Under this contract, employees who are not ready or unable to take promotion after two attempts at passing the rigorous locomotive engineer's course are subject to termination.


In an effort to prepare the student for employment in the craft of locomotive engineer, The Eastern Lackawanna County Agricultural & Technical University, in cooperation with the Lackawanna Terminal Railway, conducts a curriculum designed to teach the locomotive engineer trainee all aspects of locomotive systems, including air brake, fuel, electrical and mechanical devices, as well as routine locomotive maintenance.


This curriculum, taken over two semesters at ELCA&TU, is open only to employees of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway and other participating railroads who meet all the requirements for promotion to locomotive engineer. Upon successful completion of this course, holders of the Locomotive Engineer Operator's Certificate will be eligible to apply for promotion to the craft of locomotive engineer with their sponsoring railroad. Once enrolled in this very difficult course those who fail to achieve a passing grade will be terminated by their sponsoring railroad.


This course is now available to all students matriculating at the Eastern Lackawanna County Agricultural and Technical University. Employment of graduates completing this course is not guaranteed.


The curriculum for the Engineer's Locomotive Operator's Certificate includes but is not limited to the following courses:


Course number DM101 
Rules class for the engineer:

In the Rules class for engineers, students learn the rules for the safe operation of trains as well as safety rules for employees operating on railroad property.  A score of 85% is required on daily quizzes and a grade of 85% or better is required on the final exam at the end of the course. A maximum of three re-tests will be allowed during the course to bring the students average up to 85%. A passing grade in this course is a requirement to continue working toward the Locomotive Engineer's Certification


Course Number DM103
 
Introduction to the locomotive:

This basic class includes a general but comprehensive look at the workings of a modern diesel-electric locomotive as used on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway. Students become familiar with the vocabulary of the engineer and the locomotive machinist so as to best communicate maintenance problems to the mechanical forces. This course also provides the student with a basis for understanding the course work that follows. A score of 85% is required on daily quizzes and a grade of 85% or better is required on the final exam at the end of the course including a field final taken on a working locomotive. A maximum of three re-tests will be allowed during the course to bring the students average up to 85%. A passing grade in this course is a requirement to continue working toward the Locomotive Engineer's Certification. Topics will include:

  • The locomotive cab environment
  • The walk around inspection
  • Filling out the daily locomotive inspection record
  • The prime mover
  • The main Generator
  • The air brake system
  • Applying traction
  • Learning the Lexicon of Railroad Invective

Course Number DM102
Introduction to locomotive control systems:

This comprehensive course immerses the student in the complexities of locomotive control systems.  A score of 85% or better is required on daily quizzes and a grade of 85% or better is required on the final exam at the end of the course including a field final taken on a working locomotive. A maximum of three re-tests will be allowed during the course to bring the students average up to 85%. A passing grade in this course is a requirement to continue working toward the Locomotive Engineer's Certification. Topics studied will include:

  • The control stand and it's gauges.
  • The throttle and related electro-mechanical devices.
  • The brake valve and associated reservoirs and piping.
  • The alertor/deadman.
  • The electrical control cabinet and circuit breakers.
  • The ATC/ATS and other federally required safety devices and seals.
  • The location of all valves, cocks, and the piping of the air system as related to the operation of the locomotive and train brakes.
  • Cab environment controls
  • The locomotive cab heater and it's relationship to train braking effort (TBE).
  • Communications equipment in the cab and the proper procedures for it's use.
  • The function of the alarm systems.
  • The event recorder.

Course Number DM103
Introduction to the locomotive prime mover:

This course takes the student around and inside the diesels primary source of power, the diesel engine.  Students will be required to pass daily quizzes with a score of 85% or better. Those failing to maintain an 85% or better average in the daily quizzes will be given three re-tests. Failure to achieve an 85% or better in the re-tests will result in dismissal from the course. A comprehensive final exam including a field final for identifying all parts and purposes of the locomotive diesel engine will be given at the end of the course. Failure to achieve an 85% or better test score will result in dismissal from the Locomotive Engineer's Certification Course. Course includes a comprehensive study of:

  • Power assemblies.
  • Fuel system.
  • The lubrication system
  • Air intake and exhaust systems.
  • The governor.
  • Protection devices and their resets.

Course Number DM104
The locomotive electrical system:

This course will take the student into the electrical system from the front headlight to the rear markers. Students will be required to pass daily quizzes with a score of 85% or better. Those failing to maintain an 85% or better average in the daily quizzes will be given three re-tests. Failure to achieve an 85% or better in the re-tests will result in dismissal from the course. A comprehensive final exam including a field final for identifying all parts and purposes of locomotive electrical  systems will be given at the end of the course. Failure to achieve an 85% or better test score will result in dismissal from the Locomotive Engineer's Certification Course. Course will include studying the functions of:

  • The main generator.
  • The auxiliary generator.
  • The engine governor.
  • The traction system from the throttle to the traction motors.
  • The lighting system.
  • The circuit breaker panel.
  • Traction motor excitation.
  • MU cables and how they function.

Course Number DM105
The locomotive brake system:

Certification candidates will study the locomotive brake system from the brake valve to the brake shoes studying how each part functions to control the speed of the locomotive and train. A score of 85% is required on daily quizzes and a grade of 85% or better is required on the final exam at the end of the course including a field final taken on a working locomotive. A maximum of three re-tests will be allowed during the course to bring the students average up to 85%. A passing grade in this course is a requirement to continue working toward the Locomotive Engineer's Certification. Topics include:

  • The automatic brake valve including it's history and variations used in modern railroading.
  • The independent brake valve.
  • The air system from intake to exhaust.
  • Brake pipe, main reservoir, application, and equalizing hoses.
  • Foundation brake gear, it's parts and purposes.
  • Locomotive sanders and other traction enhancing devices.

Course Number DM106
Locomotive safety standards and the locomotive inspection:

In this course the student becomes intimately familiar with The code of Federal Regulations, Part 229 and it's chapters relevant to the locomotive engineer in the course of his duties. Topics include all Federal safety standards for all locomotives, except steam, used on today's modern railroads as well as fines levied for violation of the Code of Federal Regulations. Students will be required to pass daily quizzes with a score of 85% or better. Those failing to maintain an 85% or better average in the daily quizzes will be given three re-tests. Failure to achieve an 85% or better in the re-tests will result in dismissal from the course. Failure to achieve an 85% or better test score will result in dismissal from the Locomotive Engineer's Certification Course.

Course Number DM107
Comprehensive Field Final Study class:

This course provides the student with a week to study for the Comprehensive Field Final under the tutelage of Lackawanna Terminal Railway Instructor Engineers. Passing the Comprehensive Field Final is required of all Locomotive Engineer Certification Students to receive certification as federally licensed locomotive engineers. This class is not mandatory and is not part of the core curriculum and as such is not included in the course tuition. This class is, however, strongly recommended for all students if they want to pass the Comprehensive Field Final since the Comprehensive Field Final is given by the class's instructors.

Location: Lackawanna Terminal Training Center
Credit: None
Length of class: 9 hours, three classes during the week.
Cost: $1200 payable to the instructor at the first class.

The Locomotive Engineer's Operating Certificate Program is a component of the Associate of Science Degree in Railroad Management. You may be eligible to apply for Federal financial aid, veterans education benefits, other scholarships or low interest loans to help pay a part of the cost of tuition and fees. Active duty military personnel may be eligible to apply for military tuition assistance if they are able to complete the program while on terminal leave. Application and approval for financial aid often will take up to three months. Financial aid forms should be submitted well ahead of the start date of the program. Call (717) 555-3978 or 3917 if you have questions about applying for financial aid. The Railroad Conductor Training Program is no longer eligible for Title IV funding.

Monetary considerations paid to ELCA&TU employees to enhance the chances for acceptance to any School of Railroad Crafts Technology program are not tax deductible under any IRS code.

Please check the financial section of the Railroad School Home Page for further information concerning financial aid for students.

 For further information on employment opportunities in the railroad industry or the Locomotive Engineer Operator's Certificate Course in particular, please contact:

Gabrielle Botchalewsky
Human Resources Director
Lackawanna Terminal Railway
1 Lackawanna Plaza
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
Tel: (717) 555-6537

Office of the Dean of Admissions
Eastern Lackawanna County Agricultural and Technical University
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
Tel: (717) 555-7400, ex. 565

or

the railroad of your choice.

© Steven Kay 2013