How Much Does a Loco Pilot Make? (Duties and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 September 2022

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A loco pilot is responsible for operating trains in transit. The railway recruitment board (RRB) recruits assistant loco pilots (ALP) through the RRB exam. Those assistant loco pilots get promoted to loco pilots after few years of experience. If you are expecting a career as a loco pilot, you may benefit from learning about the loco pilot. In this article, we answer the question, "How much a loco pilot make?", how to become a loco pilot, understand their role and explore their work environment.

How Much Does A Loco Pilot Make?

To answer the question, "How much does a loco pilot make?" it's important to look at current salary data. A loco pilot comes under level six, pay band ₹9,300-₹34,800. The pay scale of a loco pilot is between ₹35,400-₹1,12,400. This salary excludes dearness allowance (DA), house renting allowance and other allowances. An assistant loco pilot comes under level 2, pay band ₹5,200-₹20,200. The base pay of an assistant loco pilot is ₹19,900.

Eligibility Criteria To Become A Loco Pilot

Following are the eligibility criteria to become a loco pilot:

  • Nationality: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibetan refugees came to India before January 1, 1962, with an intention to settle in India permanently or migrant of Indian origin permanently settled in India.

  • Age limit: The minimum age limit is 18 years, and the upper age limit is 28 years to appear in the RRB exam. Depending on the guidelines, there is relaxation beyond the upper age limit for SC/ST, OBC, PWD, and Ex-servicemen.

  • Academic requirements: Candidate should have qualified 10+2 or equivalent from any recognised board.
    Candidate must have completed Industrial Training Institute (ITI) course from institutes recognised by National Council of Training in Vocational Trades (NCVT) or State Council of Vocational Training (SCVT), or diploma in engineering from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recognised institute or ACT apprenticeship course.

Related: What Is a Loco Pilot? A Complete Guide

How to become a loco pilot?

Since there is no direct recruitment of a loco pilot, in the process of becoming a loco pilot, you first become an assistant loco pilot (ALP) by clearing the RRB exam. Following are the steps to become a loco pilot:

1. Complete your 10th/higher senior secondary education

The minimum eligibility criteria to appear in the RRB exam is 10th or equivalent. You can complete your higher senior secondary education from any recognised board. It is necessary to have maths, physics and chemistry in your 10th class.

2. Pursue ITI course, diploma or apprenticeship training

To become a loco pilot, you need either an ITI, diploma or apprenticeship. Once you complete your 10th, you can consider pursuing either an ITI course, diploma in engineering or ACT apprenticeship course. In the case of a diploma, the candidate from a national diploma institute or state-owned polytechnic college has more preference than private. Once you accomplish any of the courses, you become eligible for the RRB exam.

3. Appear in RRB (Railway Recruitment Board) exam

The railway recruitment board conducts the entrance exam for ALP. For the announcement of the application date, you can keep looking at the official website of RRB or the newspapers. After the announcement of the application date, you can apply for the RRB exam. The RRB exam for ALP is a computer-based test and consists of three stages.

The three stages in the RRB exam are:

  • Computer-based test 1 (CBT 1): There are 75 questions in CBT 1, and the time allowed is 60 minutes. Clearing CBT 1 is important to appear in the next stage.

  • Computer-based test 2 (CBT 2): CBT 2 consists of two parts; part A and part B. Part A comprises 100 questions, and the time allowed for this test is 90 minutes. Part B consists of 75 questions, and the time allowed is 60 minutes.

  • Aptitude test: Shortlisted candidates after CBT 2 appear in the aptitude test. After the aptitude test, the next step is document verification and verification of certificates. Once documents verification completes, there is the announcement of the final result.

4. Gain experience

An assistant loco pilot first gets a promotion as a senior ALP followed by an LP. The promotion of ALP depends on the vacancies and the candidate's annual performance. Before promoting to LP, assistant loco pilots receive practical training in their division under the guidance of a loco pilot. After completing the training followed by certification through loco inspector (LI) of the division, the ALP gets a promotion as a loco pilot.

Career Path Of A Loco Pilot

The career path of a loco pilot includes positions like:

Assistant loco pilots

The assistant loco pilots (ALP) are entry-level positions with experience of zero to eight years. They work under the guidance of senior ALPs or loco pilots. Their duty is on the freight trains, and they do not have complete control of the train.

Senior assistant loco pilots

The ALPs, after six to eight years of experience, get a promotion to senior ALPs. They have complete control over running freight trains or local trains. Under the guidance of loco pilots, they also work in express trains.

Loco pilot

After a few years of experience and promising annual performances, senior ALPs get a promotion to the post of the loco pilot. They have full control over managing express trains. They also run special trains and long-distance trains.

Power controller/crew controller/loco supervisor (loco foreman)

These are the management and administrative roles of the Indian railways. A loco pilot with experience of 15 to 20 years become eligible to get promotion into these administrative roles. They oversee the management of all trains, recruit railway crew and staff for different responsibilities. They manage trains in traffic, control loco employees and coordinate with their work.

Related: 5 Tips To Boost Your Career Growth for Professional Success

Loco Pilot Duties

The primary responsibilities of a loco pilot are as follows:

  • Take precautions in any consequences of uncommon or unknown issues

  • Unless one speedometer in case of the electric loco or two in case of the other locomotives is defective, loco pilots have to see the sanctioned speed of the train

  • Manage the running of trains according to the time and speed

  • Maintain the speed instructions and stoppage time between different stations

  • Sometimes when the guard is absent, loco pilots perform their duties

  • Checking the electrical couplings of the units of the trains

  • Determining where to turn off the power while stopping the train after considering the gradient, weather, the condition of the rails, the length, weight and the drag power of the train

  • At stand stations, checking the engines whether they are clean and asking for cleaning if not

Related: How To Structure Roles and Responsibilities on Your CV

What Are The Primary Skills Of A Loco Pilot?

Below are some of the primary skills and competencies of a loco pilot:

  • High attention span: They need focused and distraction-free attention while running a train. A minor distraction during transit can cause major harm.

  • High-grade comprehension: Following the guidelines for running and operating a train is so important and requires excellent comprehension skills.

  • Prompt reaction: Many a time, any living being such as animals or children come before the train; in such cases, a loco pilot requires a good prompt reaction to save them.

  • Problem-solving skills: A loco pilot can face many problems in transit, and he is responsible for solving those problems to reach the destination safely. And in such situations, having problem-solving skills is essential.

  • Analytical skills: The Loco Pilots should have the capacity and the confidence to analyse and deal with critical situations. During the transit, a loco pilot may face various technical issues and having good analytical skills can help them analyse and solve the issue fast.

  • Short-term memory: While operating the train, a loco pilot has to keep a lot of small pieces of information such as an instruction from the station master just before the stoppage of the train, and such situations demand a good short-term memory.

  • Data retention: To operate and guide a train safely, a loco pilot has to follow long guidelines. Understanding and storing those guidelines for a longer period of time requires good data retention skills.

Work Environment Of A Loco Pilot

A loco pilot typically works on the train. They work around ten to twelve hours a day. A loco pilot has to inform two hours prior to leaving the job so that another loco pilot can join the train on time at the specific location. The loco pilots also have night shifts, and maintaining a work-life balance is a little challenging for a loco pilot.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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