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Mechanical Service Operator

Think of the Mechanical Service Operator as part of the trains' pit crew. In this entry-level position, you will help get the locomotives back on the track, keep them clean and fueled, and keep the shop in shape. Mechanical Service Operators work with Diesel Mechanics to keep these locomotives running efficiently.


  • All employees must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must speak and read English because you will be asked to follow government regulations and instructions.
  • You must pass a Skilled-Craft Battery exam (see sample) to be considered for an interview.
  • Applicants with basic hand power tool training or experience are preferred.
  • Mechanical, high-voltage electricity, or electronics experience or education is desired.


  • Bailey Yard (North Platte, NE)
  • Hinkle Locomotive Facility (Hinkle, OR)
  • Davis Yard (Roseville, CA)
  • Jenks Shop (North Little Rock, AR)


As a newly hired Mechanical Service Operator, you can expect to make about $13.48 an hour, with actual pay depending on location and Union-negotiated agreements.


As a Mechanical Service Operator, also called a Fireman/Oiler, you will receive safety, locomotive and task-specific training during your first days of employment – and throughout your career. During your first year, you will learn how to use a forklift and special cleaning equipment for locomotives, and you will learn how to clean and service locomotive cabs. You will work toward being licensed to operate and move locomotives around the locomotive shop and other facilities.

Potential Career Path: Freight Car Repairer Career Path

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