How to Become a Loco Pilot in India?

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loco pilot

Locomotive pilots play an important role in the Indian railway system by maintaining and operating train engines. Loco pilots have good job prospects and earning potential because the railway is in the public sector. Knowing more about this profession can help you decide if it is the right career path for you. This article discusses what a loco pilot is, what their duties are, and what skills and qualifications they need to do a good job.

Who is a Loco Pilot?

A loco pilot is a professional in charge of operating and driving trains as well as ensuring proper maintenance throughout the journey. Aspiring locomotive pilots begin their careers as assistants and advance to senior positions with time and experience. A locomotive pilot adheres to railway guidelines, instructions, and regulations that govern the locomotive operation.

Types of Loco Pilots

There are three major types of loco pilots. All of them are described in brief below:

  • Locomotive Engineer: On the proposed route, locomotive engineers will operate large rail services that will transport passengers and freight to various locations. To ensure that the train runs smoothly and on time, locomotive engineers must be familiar with the freight, schedule, and route for each trip. This profession occasionally necessitates working on weekends and nights.
  • Yardmaster: Railroad operators, also known as yardmasters, are in charge of coordinating train activities on behalf of their organization. They are in charge of facilitating the delivery and unloading of various items. One of their primary responsibilities is to complete rail-switching tasks on time. Yardmasters ensure that all goods and rail cars arrive at their destinations on time.

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  • Mechanical Engineer: A mechanical engineering career is a technical one. As a result, he or she must be in charge of the management of manufacturing products as well as other technical personnel. The mechanical engineer is responsible for researching, designing, and developing machine equipment, devices, and other materials. A mechanical engineer participates in all stages of development.

How to Become a Loco Pilot (Step-by-Step Guide)

To become a loco pilot, follow these steps:

Complete High School

A matriculation certificate is required to apply for assistant loco pilot positions. The certificate reflects the candidate’s performance on the tenth standard board exam. Most technical courses after Class 10 or 10 + 2 require a minimum of 50% in board exams. Science and mathematics as core subjects in school are advantageous.

Obtain a Diploma

Obtaining an associate degree or diploma is the next step in becoming a loco pilot. A diploma in engineering, with specialization in areas such as automobile engineering, electronics & communication engineering, or electrical engineering, can assist you in becoming a loco pilot. A diploma in railway engineering is another viable option for aspirants. A railway engineering course could help you learn more about the rules, regulations, operation, and history of railways.

Take a Vocational Course

This is an alternative to earning a diploma. Aspirants could either pursue a diploma in engineering or an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) program approved by the NCVT (National Council for Vocational Training) or SCVT (State Council for Vocational Training). Many institutes across the country provide vocational courses. Certifications from reputable organizations are valuable in the field and serve as a verifiable record of your professional abilities.

Pass the Entrance Exam

The final and perhaps most important step towards becoming a loco pilot is passing the RRB entrance exam (Railway Recruitment Board). This is a computer-based entrance exam with 120 questions. If you qualify, you will join as an assistant loco pilot under the supervision of a senior loco pilot after completing the necessary training. Assistant loco pilots may be promoted to the role of senior loco pilot after five to ten years of experience.

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Roles and Responsibilities

A loco pilot, in general, performs a variety of tasks to ensure the safety and security of passengers and cargo. Assistant loco pilots assist senior pilots in carrying out their duties. Loco pilots frequently collaborate with train and station managers. They examine the train route, the maximum train speed, the appropriate braking power, the safety parameters, and the risks. In an emergency, they are also responsible for repairing and maintaining the basic engine hardware. Other responsibilities of loco pilots include:

  • Operating the train
  • Preparing reports
  • Monitoring the engine performance
  • Repairing and maintenance

Skills Required

If you want to become a loco pilot, consider developing the following skills:

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Recommended Books

Railway Assistant Loco Pilot and TechnicianArihant Experts
Lucent’s General KnowledgeDr. Binay Kamra
General Science for RRB Junior Engineer, NTPC, ALP & Group D ExamsDisha Experts
Lucent’s General ScienceRavi Bhushan
A Modern Approach toVerbal & Nonverbal ReasoningR S Aggarwal

Loco Pilot vs Train Driver

The terms “loco pilot” and “train driver” are synonymous, and the two are frequently used interchangeably. The responsibilities of an assistant loco pilot and a senior loco pilot differ. Senior loco pilots make operational decisions for the train and thus may be considered train drivers. Assistants are typically responsible for taking readings, monitoring vital indicators, passive communication, record-keeping, and other minor tasks. As a result, until they are promoted, assistant loco pilots do not drive trains on their own. However, if senior officials require it, they may take on additional responsibilities related to driving the train.

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Pros and Cons

Before deciding if you want to pursue a career in Loco Pilot or not, look at the list of Pros and Cons given below:


  • Financial and professional stability are provided by employment because it is a government position. The average Loco Pilot salary in India is Rs 6.6 Lakhs per year for workers with experience ranging from 2 to 21 years. Moreover, loco pilots are entitled to benefits like PF, HRA, gratuities, and medical claims.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: While loco pilots occasionally have to spend three days in trains, sedentary behaviour goes unreported.
  • Professional Stability: Loco pilots are employed by the central government-run Indian railways or metro. It offers professional and financial security, and even after retirement, a loco pilot is still qualified for a number of other advantages.
  • Opportunities of Travel: A loco pilot’s employment requires them to travel, which might be thrilling for certain people.


  • Personal life invasion: For some airline pilots, travelling can be draining because it keeps them away from their loved ones.
  • Busy Schedule: Loco pilots work shifts that might last up to three days in a hectic work environment. As a result, their lifestyle occasionally gets frantic and stressful.

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Salary Scale

A loco pilot’s salary will vary depending on their seniority and experience in the profession. Loco pilots begin their careers as assistants to senior loco pilots and advance after five to ten years of service. A locomotive engineer’s annual base salary is ₹6,600,00.

Job Outlook

The total number of railway professionals employed is expected to fall by 3% between 2016 and 2026. The number of railroad jobs may decline when the demand for goods and services, such as renewable energy sources, declines. The demand for particular railroad career prospects, however, may expand due to a number of commodities-carrying factors.

Increased volumes primarily improve the requirements for passenger rail services such as people transportation and metropolitan transit systems. The salary of an Indian railway loco pilot is determined by a number of factors, including the loco pilot’s qualifications, skills, eligibility, and experience. A number of possibilities for urban rail networks may emerge as a result of significant developments in transportation infrastructure, as well as current population growth and rising commuting rates in many western countries.


Q1. What is the loco pilot salary?

Ans. For experience ranging from 2 to 21 years, the average Indian Railways Loco Pilot salary in India is 6.6 Lakhs. The salary of a loco pilot at Indian Railways India ranges from 0.4 Lakhs to 15.0 Lakhs. It is 32% higher than the average Loco Pilot Salary in Railway Companies, according to our estimates.

Q2. What is the qualification for the loco pilot?

Ans. The minimum educational qualification for Loco Pilot in Railway is a Class 10th qualification and ITI certification to fill out an ALP application form.

Q3. Can the 12th pass apply for the loco pilot?

Ans. After completing their 12th or equivalent examination, candidates from all fields can become loco pilots. To be eligible for the Loco pilot after the 12th, candidates must take a diploma in the engineering entrance examination for various streams such as mechanical, electronics, electrical, or automobile.

This was all about How to become a Loco Pilot in India. Stay tuned with Leverage Edu to discover various job opportunities in India. Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get regular updates regarding careers in India.

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