Interesting facts about the profession of a locomotive driver

We often take care of our own comfort when traveling, but we don't think much about those who provide us with this comfort. But in vain. In order for your trips to be interesting and safe, Russian Railways employs a huge staff of specialists. One of the most responsible railway professions is a train driver. Can anyone become one? Where can I learn? What difficulties you will have to face while working. This is our article.

Who is this?

A locomotive driver is a specialist who manages a train on the railway. However, his duties include not only driving directly, focused on the indicators of control and measuring devices in the cabin. The drivers carry out shunting movements, control signals, are responsible for the safety of passengers and cargo, regulate the work of other members of the locomotive crew, promptly eliminate malfunctions detected en route. In addition, if necessary, it is the driver who must make an emergency decision and apply a stopcock. He is also charged with the duty of performing service repairs of the locomotive as part of a special team. This is such a difficult and very responsible job. The driver must know and be able to do a lot, but you can learn everything. The main thing is desire.

Where to learn


Specialists in locomotive management and maintenance (otherwise called machinists) are trained by colleges, technical schools and higher educational institutions. Not every city has them. The most popular educational institutions are in Ulan-Ude, Omsk, Kazan, Volgograd, Chelyabinsk, Novokuznetsk. You can enter a specialized educational institution after the 9th or 11th grade. You will have to study for 48 months or 36, respectively. The graduate first receives the specialty assistant machinist, and only after working for 2 years in this position and passing the appropriate qualification exams, can become a machinist.

You can study both on a budget and on a contract basis. The Russian Railways company is interested in hiring qualified employees, so it tries to create comfortable conditions for admission to such specialized educational institutions. For the same reason, there are always a lot of budget places in them.

Restrictions for women


It is better for a man to become a machinist. This specialty is not only not recommended for women, but until recently it was banned by the law of the Russian Federation. The changes came into force only in January 2021, respectively, so far the ladies-machinists had the opportunity to complete 1 course of study. And only in a few years we will see them in action. The work of a machinist is difficult and fraught with many difficulties, but now women themselves have the right to decide whether they should choose this profession. It is only necessary to remember about the loads that the male body tolerates more easily than the female.

Professional qualities of a machinist

The driver must be physically fit. Have high neuropsychic stability, good coordination of movements. The speed of reaction, efficiency of thinking, a well-developed eye are important. The candidate should be able to concentrate his attention, but switch it to the necessary processes in time. From personal qualities, the advantages will be intelligence, observation, determination, discipline, caution, organization. The driver must show self-control, vigilance and endurance.

Pros and cons of the profession

First, about the benefits. This is an honorable job. The driver is the main person in the entire locomotive crew. He is entitled to a package of benefits - workwear, insurance, free hot lunches during flights. If necessary, the Russian Railways holding can provide assistance with obtaining housing on preferential terms. The drivers are compensated for half of the cost of classes in sports sections, the full cost of rehabilitation and medical treatment not only of the employee himself, but also of his family members. Also, a railway worker can count on reimbursement from the state for fuel costs, even if it is necessary for their own needs.

Russian Railways supports employees financially in difficult situations. If an employee is injured during an emergency on the railway, he is paid a one-time payment. Vacations are paid on a regular basis, and before them the driver receives additional money for recovery.

Graduates of educational institutions in the railway direction do not experience problems with employment, unlike numerous economists, financiers, managers. The freight and passenger rail transportation industry is constantly developing. The profession of a machinist is one of the most popular in the labor market. The salary of such specialists is also, as a rule, an order of magnitude higher than the average in the field of industry. There is an opportunity for career growth and transfer to senior positions. In addition, Russian Railways employees have the opportunity to master other professions related to the railway.

And, of course, a machinist is one of the most romantic professions. Movement under the sound of wheels, new horizons, a lot of adventures and unexplored secrets are waiting on the way. You can travel the length and breadth of the country, visit abroad, learn a lot of new and interesting things. Many people are attracted to such work, so young people willingly go to study for machinists.

But it is worth mentioning the disadvantages. These include the duration of training. As already mentioned, first you need to get the specialty of an assistant machinist. The training takes about 4 years. Then 2 years of practice. Under the condition of trouble-free work, the driver's assistant is sent to 9-month courses. Then again 3 months of practice. After that, training at the road technical school is 1 month. After that, the rank of machinist of the 3rd rank is already awarded. In this rank, you need to work for at least 2 years to move to the next step. And again, training in a road technical school and a two-year internship. And only after that, after passing all exams and passing retraining courses, you can become a rank 1 machinist. Thus, a student has been studying his profession for about 10 years, that is, he studies longer than a doctor.

Further, we will attribute health risks to the disadvantages. Firstly, it is the lack of a certain rhythm in work, a regulated break and lunch. We have to adjust to the train schedule, which slightly disrupts the biological rhythms of the body. Secondly, during the flight, the driver experiences an increased load on the organs of vision. He is obliged to observe not only the readings of the instruments, but also the objects outside the train. Among them are fixed semaphores, traffic lights, crossings, station signals, warning boards, speed limit signs. And mobile pedestrians, vehicles, animals that may suddenly appear on the railway line. No less load goes to the hearing organs, since the driver must listen to the work of the mechanisms, making sure that there are no deviations. The driver's seat may experience vibration above the permissible level under certain conditions. In combination, all these factors can lead to a decrease in the concentration of the driver's attention, a slowdown in his reaction, a decrease in light perception.

Medical contraindications

There are a number of diagnoses in which even a candidate who has successfully completed his studies will not be able to become a machinist. These are diseases of the central nervous system, congenital malformations, disorders of consciousness, mental illnesses, alcoholism, drug addiction, substance abuse, malignant formations, blood diseases, diseases of the endocrine system, tuberculosis of any localization, chronic hepatitis, kidney and urinary tract diseases, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, recurrent eczema, hypertension of 2-3 degrees. Contraindications also include diseases of blood vessels, respiratory organs, coronary heart disease, some types of diseases of ENT organs. A person suffering from color blindness, farsightedness or myopia will not be accepted for work. The drivers undergo a medical examination before each departure. Blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature are measured. Tests are carried out for the absence of alcohol in the blood. As you can see, the list is quite impressive, so to become a machinist – one desire is not enough. You need to have excellent health. And if certain contraindications are identified, it is worth adjusting the training program so as not to waste time in vain. There are many other professions in Russian Railways where the health requirements are not so strict. There is a place for everyone. One has only to want to. If everything is in order with health, a person will never regret that he chose the profession of a machinist

Support Service
+7 (495) 269-83-67
Subscribe to our news