Locomotive engineers earned a median wage of $22 per hour in 2008, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-11 Edition, Rail Transportation Occupations. The median hourly wage was $9 per hour more than the median wage for all other transportation occupations. In 2010, the bureau's Occupational Employment and Wages publication reported that the average yearly wage for locomotive engineers was $50,870. Engineers in the top 10 percent of the pay scale earned more than $74,000, while those in the bottom 10 percent earned $33,000 or less. Locomotive engineers in the middle 50 percent earned between $39,000 and $58,100.
In New York, locomotive engineers are employed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Locomotive engineers operate the trains that transport people and cargo between train stations. Before departure, the engineers ensure the train is in good operating order. During a trip, they operate the train controls and monitor instrument panels and gauges. In general, locomotive engineers earn more than other transportation operators, but for MTA locomotive engineers, there is a significant difference in the salary information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the information published on the state’s public salary website.
The average wage for locomotive engineers in the state of New York in 2010 was $48,230 a year and $23.19 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2010 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for the state. The median wage for locomotive engineers in New York was $22.57 per hour. The average wage for New York locomotive engineers was $2,640 lower than the national average in 2010 according to bureau.
Top MTA 100
MTA locomotive engineers earn considerably more than indicated by the bureau's data, according to the Empire Center for New York State Policy. Public records indicate that three locomotive engineers were listed in the top 100 for the highest-earning MTA employees in 2009. Two of the engineers were listed in the top 25 highest-earning MTA employees. The three employees each earned a base salary of $75,390 in 2009, but their total pay with overtime and other pay came to $222,915, $221,391 and $205,109.
In 2010, more than half of the MTA’s 391 locomotive engineers earned more than $100,000 according to salary information published on SeeThroughNY.net, a public pay transparency website. Fourteen MTA locomotive engineers earned more than $150,000. The total take-home pay of the engineers included base pay, overtime and extra pay. The yearly base pay rate for all 14 was listed at $80,521, yet the total take-home pay of the top 14 ranged between $169,664 and $150,454. Another 233 MTA engineers earned between $110,008 and $149,178.
- MTA: About the MTA
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Rail Transportation Occupations
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010, 53-4011 Locomotive Engineers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2010 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New York
- EmpireCenter.org: 100 Highest Earning MTA Employees in 2009 by Total Pay
- See Through New York: Locomotive Engineer Salaries and Overtime
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