HRETD Train Driving

The locomotive shunting course is available to employees involved in the shunting of rail vehicles during loading, unloading and maintenance operations; it is not intended for mainline locomotive driving and operations. Training is conducted on-site at the client’s private siding where shunting procedures, which involve vehicles and motive power units or devices, take place.

Course content includes a theory component and hands-on shunting in the client’s siding.Entry requirements

A grade 10 school-leaving qualification is assumed to be in place for this training course, as a minimum requirement. A grade 10 is equivalent to communication and mathematical literacy at NQF level 2.

Advanced driver training

Diesel locomotive shunting operator training

Train shunting operations

Course content

Legislation: Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993

We look at the legal responsibilities and OHS Act 85 of 1993.

Brands and types of diesel locomotive hauling units and component ID

Visual identification of various brands of hauling units and unit types.

Basic mechanical appreciation of diesel locomotives

We look at component and system identifications, such as diesel engines, the alternators, motor blower, air intakes, rectifiers/inverters, control stand, cab, batteries, traction motor, etc., as well as how they all fit into the functioning of the diesel locomotive.Identification and understanding motive controls

We outline the basic standard control panel elements, and how to ensure smooth and efficient execution of use.

Diesel locomotive checks and safe operating procedures

We show the learners examples of standard procedures, driving instructions, normal driving, stopping and shutdown, inspections, rules for the locomotive driver and those who shunt, records, logs and operational planning log examples.Hand signals and radio communication


We demonstrate hand signals and thoroughly explain radio communication.

Fault finding and corrective action

On the cooling system, engine, hydraulic system, transmission, torque converter, differential, electrical system and warning lights.

Rail traffic procedures

We discuss examples of siding plans and shunting operations, as well as the nuances to expect during each operation.

Shunting procedures

We outline procedures before shunting, procedures before entering a building/loading zone, points, interpretation of shunt heads, derailing shunt points, warning notice boards, derailing shunt points, abnormal loads, offloading of trucks, coupling and uncoupling.


We take the learners through protection at rail crossings, on approach of a rail crossing, accidents and driving disturbances, road users, emergency vehicles, red banners, the loco’s hooter/whistle and coloured lights.

Typical truck types

We describe in detail pressurised tank-, general service tank-, high-pressure tube-, cryogenic liquid tank-, hopper-, box-cars and frame types.

Compulsory notice boards

Confined space, compulsory stop, pedestrian warning and approaching notice boards at night.Assessment methods

We conduct a formative theoretical assessment at the beginning of the course to gauge the learner’s initial understanding (novices only). At the end of the training, a summative theoretical and practical application assessment is conducted to find if the learner is competent; if not, additional developmental areas are identified and suggested.