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Diesel Mechanic

 What Will You Do? 

  • Inspect, repair and maintain the engine and mechanical parts on diesel electric locomotives
  • Diagnose diesel engine, air compressor, and other locomotive mechanical system malfunctions
  • Use machine tools, welding equipment and other shop to fix 
  • Work safely around large equipment such as railcars, locomotives and cranes

What Will You Learn?

We take pride in the efficiency of our diesel locomotives, and our diesel mechanics play a huge role their their performance.  We'll teach you how to inspect, repair and maintain of the engine and mechanical components of diesel electric locomotives.  Union Pacific locomotives can get 400 ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel. If your automobile was that efficient, you could drive from Seattle to Miami and back on a single tank of gas.


  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have verifiable work or mechanical education experience with trucks, ships, farm equipment, airplanes, trains or a current journeyman's mechanical card.
  • We prefer you have a two-year technical degree in diesel mechanics or at least one year of work experience in this field. Large motor-generator or large diesel engine experience is a plus.
  • You must pass a Skilled-Craft Battery exam (see sample) to be considered for an interview.


As a newly hired Diesel Mechanic, you can expect to earn about $27.37 an hour, with actual pay depending on Union-negotiated agreements. Apprentice Diesel Mechanics can expect to earn about $17.90 an hour, with actual pay depending on location and Union-negotiated agreements.


In your first few months as a Diesel Mechanic, you will receive safety training, and you will begin to learn about locomotive mechanical systems and maintenance. Over the course of your first year, you will get more in-depth training in specific mechanical systems. Your training will continue as your job changes and as the railroad adopts new technology.

As an Apprentice Diesel Mechanic, you will receive formal classroom and hands-on training as part of a three-year apprenticeship. You will learn primarily by performing specific tasks under the guidance of a journeyperson. 


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