Railroad Engineer
rating: 0+x

Basic Information

The Railroad Engineer is the "driver" of a train. He's responsible for the maintenance of the engine, controls its speed, and requires an intimate knowledge of the route and its peculiarities. Prior to 1950 and the invention of better braking systems, he would signal to the Railroad Brakemen when they needed to slow down the train. He is not, however, typically an actual engineer … this is, unfortunately, a linguistic abuse common in the English speaking world.

Famous Railroad Engineers:

  • Casey Jones - John Luther "Casey" Jones - died stopping a crashing train
  • Jesús García, the Hero of Nacozari - drove away a flaming train full of explosives so it wouldn't destroy the town

Not to be confused with the sort of Railroad Engineer who was responsible for building railway - this was a job for an actual engineer, and a much higher status job.



Game and Story Use

  • During the Train Robbery, the Wild West Outlaw has to Intimidate the Engineer into stopping the train, or else it'll be much harder to offload the stolen loot and possibly take you all the way to town.
  • Likewise, to steal a train, make sure you have someone who knows how to drive the type of locomotive that you're stealing.
  • If something bad happens to the Railroad Engineer, the train (and it's crew, passengers, and cargo) may be in danger.
    • This is the steam-age equivalent of "does anyone aboard know how to fly a plane" (although admittedly in this case you can "land" fairly safely by letting the steam come off).
    • More apposite then when the train is surrounded by hostile forces and needs to keep moving … or is on a steep downhill and dragging her brakes.
  • Maintenance of the train may become a much bigger deal in a survival situation - such as being aboard "the last train" after the end or during some other period of chaos such as the Russian Civil War, in which railway warfare was a significant issue and armoured trains roamed the country, sometimes deep in otherwise hostile territory. The adventures of the Czech legion along the trans-Siberian railway are particularly significant here.
  • In a pinch, maritime steam engine skills may be of use here - granted the "loco boiler" was never as popular at sea as it was expected to be, and marine steam engines were a lot bigger and more complicated, but a general understanding of high pressure steam probably helps. This may explain the tendency of armoured trains to be operated by sailors in a lot of conflicts.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License