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Women of Metra: Locomotive Engineers

Women of Metra Series

November 12, 2018

Locomotive engineers are among Metra’s most visible employees.  Who hasn’t glanced up from the platform to wave at the person in the cab?  When we do, however, we may not expect to see a woman at the controls.  Working in the cab of a moving train is a rare opportunity that few people will ever experience --- and one that even fewer women will take on.


The job of a locomotive engineer is to move passengers to their destinations safely and on time.  It may sound simple, but it’s a weighty responsibility. 

Locomotive engineers must successfully complete classroom and on-the-job training, pass hearing and vision tests, and obtain Federal Railroad Administration certification before they are qualified to operate Metra’s complex, 3,000 horse power, diesel-electric locomotives. The job requires mechanical know-how to operate and monitor the equipment and instruments, clear communication skills to interact with dispatchers to avoid accidents, and the ability to make decisions soundly and quickly.

Metra’s locomotive engineers move an average of over 215,000 riders every day in all manner of weather and operating conditions.  In today’s post, two of Metra’s female locomotive engineers share their experience at this challenging but rewarding job.

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