Just a basic education in diesel engines should be enough to get you in. The biggest difference in the two engines is the sheer size, locomotive diesel engines dwarf truck engines. If you get in which ever carrier you hire on with will teach what you need to know. It will mainly be the differences between GE and EMD engines. As far as pay goes it depends on whether it's a class 1 railroad(Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, CSX, BNSF, or Amtrack). They all pretty much pay the same nation wide, right now that would be around 26/hr. Starting wages will probably differ based on the railroad. I work for NS, and right now they start new hires out at 80% of full rate so about 20/hr to start. Then in 2 years you hit full rate. Smaller railroads and short lines will likely pay less. I can't help you with which diesel school because I'm an electrician. If you're going to the air force I would try to get diesel training there. Plus, most railroads hire former military. I know there are a lot of vets in my shop, and their military training is what helped get them in.