Locomotive engineers are individuals responsible for driving trains from one destination to another. This requires individuals possess a certain amount of knowledge regarding trains and a basic ability to mechanically make small adjustments to the vehicle, as well as the ability to communicate to personnel on the railroad and conductors. In order to communicate successfully, locomotive engineers need to be knowledgeable in safety measures, railroad regulations, emergencies that might potentially arise, and signaling systems.
When it comes to being a locomotive engineer, it is also essential to have a basic knowledge of physics. This is due to the fact that the functioning of trains depends largely on the weight of the train, the track’s grade, and other external and environmental conditions.
Locomotive Engineers and Asbestos
Despite the fact that there is very little knowledge when it comes to trains and asbestos, trains produced before the 1970s contained large amounts of asbestos insulation. This form of insulation could be found in locomotives, boilers, and other equipment used on the railroad. Steam locomotives that were utilized throughout the 1950s contained asbestos insulation both on the outside of the train, under the coating of metal, and also in the lining found in the cab of the engine. Asbestos was also found as a covering on the boiler, heated pipes, ducts, and the firebox in steam locomotives. The majority of trains also possessed cabooses throughout the 1970s and both the heater and piping connected to the heater in this section of the train possessed insulation composed of asbestos. In addition, the majority of ceilings were also made of asbestos materials.
Locomotives that ran on diesel also possessed large numbers of asbestos gaskets that were not replaced until the 90s. OSHA found that just one gasket is able to release large amounts of asbestos dust that are far over the permissible levels. Within the 1990s, linings composed of asbestos were used within the brakes found on trains. Offices, railway company hotels, and ships also contained large amounts of asbestos insulation and were not made safer until the 70s and 80s. Any locomotive engineers who worked on trains and in rail yards before the 1990s most likely received some form of asbestos exposure during their career. This puts these individuals at an elevated risk for developing diseases related to asbestos exposure, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.