Heavy Duty Mechanic

Heavy Duty Mechanics play an important role in maintaining one of rail’s most important assets: our locomotives. Keeping the fleet in a safe and reliable condition is their daily responsibility.

In the Running Shops, Heavy Duty Mechanics keep the locomotive fleet rolling reliably out on the line. In the Main Shops, Heavy Duty Mechanics work on major overhaul programs for locomotives, freight cars and their parts.

A typical shift begins with a Job Briefing – a safety and job orientation session with the Shift Supervisor who then assigns the Mechanics to their jobs for that shift. Most of the work done by Heavy Duty Mechanics is on locomotive diesel engines – troubleshooting the oil, cooling, fuel, air and exhaust systems. Once a problem is diagnosed, the Heavy Duty Mechanic will replace any faulty parts, then recheck to ensure the problem has been fixed.

Another important job of a Heavy Duty Mechanic is preventive maintenance inspections, which involves checking all locomotive operating and safety systems. Defects noted during inspections are then repaired using a wide variety of tools – from power and hand tools to onboard computers. Heavy Duty Mechanics also check locomotive wheels and correct any defects with an under-floor, wheel milling machine.

Railroad equipment is extremely large and heavy, so working on locomotives often involves the use of ‘lifting jigs’ and overhead cranes to handle large heavy components.

As with any rail job, safety is paramount. Observing safe work practices is a huge part of the daily routine for Heavy Duty Mechanics.

Whether they work in the Running or Main Shops, once the Heavy Duty Mechanics’ shift is over, they can ‘call-it-a-day’ knowing they played a critical role in the reliability and safety of our car and locomotive fleet.

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