How Much Do Train Conductors Make?

When working on trains that carry people or goods train conductors could assist in cargo handling or make sure that the needs of passengers as well as safety is taken into consideration. They work as part of an team along with other railroad workers to ensure that trains run in accordance with its schedule and issue any necessary announcements during the course of travel. If you are interested to travel on various routes and begin an occupation that has a brief training time, you could be conductor. Although working long hours in the train is normal, you could locate more suitable options for families when you are looking to employment with passenger trains. What train conductors earn is comparable to other railroad worker wages as well as experience and industry. can affect your income.

Job Description

Train conductors’ job responsibilities vary based on the kind of train with which you are employed. Your primary responsibility for a freight train will be aiding the cargo of the train to ensure that it is properly loaded and unloaded. When you’re on a passenger train, your responsibilities are centered around offering customers with service, delivering announcements, and ensuring that passengers are secure. You can manage ticket purchases as well as customer complaints. You can also assist if customers don’t behave properly. Conductors must possess the ability to handle passengers with patience and leadership abilities to manage the team if required.

Education Requirements

In addition to an education in high school Conductors typically receive extensive training through the railroad they work for or via the external program of training. The training course is usually anywhere from one-to three months and will prepare you to manage the flow of cargo, offer customer service while also ensuring the safety of passengers. manage ticketing. You’ll have to obtain conductor certification from the Federal Railroad Administration for positions that you hold with the commuter railway, regional or national railroad and the railroad’s training program will prepare you to take the test.

Railroad conductors made an average salary of $60,300. earning for lower tier of conductors dipped lower than this, while earnings for the upper half of conductors were higher than the figure. The bottom 10 % of conductors earned less than $42,950 annually, whereas the top 10 percent of conductors earned the highest salaries, which exceeded $91,630. Conductors who worked in the most popular trade, railroad transportation made $64,260 annually in the average. State governments, who employed just 80 conductors and yardmasters, paid the highest average wage of 93,000..


Conductors are the majority employed in the railway transportation industry but around 10 percent of them work for government agencies and other transportation firms. The working environment for conductors can differ based the type of train you’re working on, trains for freight or passengers and, in general, passenger trains being more relaxing and clean working environment. The need to spend a lot of time away from your family is a common occurrence for conductors due the fact that trains run round all hours of the day. It could be that you find becoming a conductor on trains that are passenger-oriented an ideal choice for your family, as trains typically have shorter journeys.

Years of Experience

Train conductors’ pay paid can vary dramatically from the moment they start their career until they’ve been in the field for at least a decade. As they gain experience, they can also take advantage of the opportunity to advance as the possibility be a locomotive engineering engineer through more education. There are examples of salaries that are average for different levels of career in these data as of April 2018:

  • Entry-level: $49,000
  • Mid-career: $60,000
  • Experienced: $71,000
  • Late-career: $86,000

Job Growth Trend

A decrease of 900 jobs for yardmasters and conductors of railroads between 2016 and 2026 is predicted which will result in a 2 percent drop in the number of jobs. This is comparable with the 3 percent job reduction expected across the railroad industry. The reduction in coal and oil being transported by trains is a factor in this drop. However the fact that current conductors as well as the transportation of various other types of merchandise via trains could create opportunities for future conductors.

Duties & Responsibilities of a Freight Conductor

A freight conductor ensures that all cargo is securely moved, loaded and then unloaded. The role of a freight conductor be able to control the train’s crew, keep on time and make sure that all operating procedures are executed correctly. The process of learning the duties of a freight conductor requires a thorough training program that is provided following the hiring process of the railroad company.

Freight Conductor Job Description

In contrast to passenger train conductors who are onboard passengers safely and announce the destinations of trains freight conductors ensure efficient movement of goods between locations and keep trains in top working order to ensure everything is in line with the schedule. According to CSX the responsibilities of freight conductors include checking trains, deciding which train cars to put in and educating other railroad workers how to use signaling systems and operating controls safely to manage the train.

This job requires the use of equipment that allows communication with other station workers and train operators in addition to keeping track of any bulletins or announcements. When the train is stopped the conductor has to ensure that the freight is moved on and off of the train without any damage or delay. CSX states that conductors can assist with repairs if needed.

Freight Conductor Education Requirements

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics freight conductors typically be hired with just the highest school certificate because railroad companies offer intensive training that can run for up to three months. The employer may require potential conductors might be required to undergo in-house training or they may be required by the employer to undergo an education program that is comparable to that offered at Bucks County Community College offers. These programs provide both conductor techniques and guidelines and regulations that govern operating railroads.

Employers typically have additional prerequisites to be freight conductors as well. For instance, Union Pacific requires applicants to be at least 18 years old and have physical capabilities as well as reading comprehension and health standards. CSX requires its freight conductors to hold an official driver’s license and provide evidence of at least two years of college or work experience in order to be eligible.

Freight Conductor Industry

Being a freight conductor requires long hours, as trains run at all times throughout the week. Union Pacific mentions that conductors are required to work at any time and that could be a case of arriving with no notice, being on call for long periods of time far from family members and not having a fixed timetable. However the BLS mentions that having a senior status will allow you to have an improved schedule and work hours.

Freight conductors are required to work in a variety of weather conditions and must be physically fit for the demands of their job. According to CSX Conductors are likely to be outdoors, walk about and carry heavy objects frequently and the working environment may make them feel uncomfortable as well as require climbing, crawling or hiking in order to get around in a proper manner. Conductors of freight should be able to work from a height.

Freight Conductor Salary

This month’s BLS report showed an annual median salary of $55,990 for yardmasters and conductors of trains. That means half earned less while the other half earned more. Conductors with the lowest salaries earned just $45,850 and the most well-paid conductors earned over $98,110..

The BLS report indicated that conductors employed in rail transportation earned $69,200 per year on average, as opposed the figure of 49,970 for those who work in the support of rail transportation. The highest-paid workers employed by state governments an average of $82,410 per year.

It is important to know that the unions of railroads offer their own compensation plans that affect the amount a freight conductor earns. For example that a CSX conductor’s salary is determined on the location as well as an agreement for collective bargaining.

Freight Conductor Job Growth Trend

According to job trends from the BLS the employment of railroad workers will decrease in general because of less dependence on this type of transportation to transport coal and oil. However, it provides positive prospects for employees who work on freight trains since companies will utilize trains to transport goods.

The BLS figures showed a 1 percent decrease in yardmaster and railroad conductor work up to 2028, resulting in approximately 500 less jobs. Be aware however, that freight conductor positions are also available when the conductors retiring.

How Much Does a Train Driver Make a Year?

A lot of people, both adults and children love trains, and becoming a train operator is a lucrative, long-term career option. The training and certification requirements are essential and positions can available on both passenger or cargo trains. Our team of Cover Letters and Resume explains that some of the abilities that train drivers need to possess are the ability to react quickly and efficiently when faced with a situation that is not ideal and the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. Other desirable characteristics include hand-eye coordination, hearing and vision, and a good knowledge of mechanics.

Train Driver Description

Train drivers can also be known as locomotive engineers or railroad drivers. They operate freight and passenger trains that have computer and manual control as they travel between stations. According to the editors at Betterteam Additional duties include monitoring the train’s equipment to monitor the speed as well as the pressure of the air and battery usage. Regular 40-hour workweeks aren’t usual in this field because the hours and days off are not regular including weekends, nights, and holidays are the norm in this industry.

The engineers must also inform passengers of delays. Monitoring the trains before and after the drive, doing regular maintenance and keeping in constant contact with traffic controllers are also crucial tasks. They might have to recognize as well as fix any minor issues or malfunctions that may occur in their trains periodically too.

Train Driver Education Requirements

A formal education is not required for train operators who are interested in becoming a part-time employee However, the majority of employers need high school diplomas, or GEDs. The experts from inform us on their website that within the U.S., train drivers must be 21 years old or older, and possess having a high school diploma. Candidates must also be able to pass medical examinations and pass the necessary education courses. In order to begin their career in the field of train engineering applicants may apply for entry-level positions in private railroad companies or railroad companies. This includes becoming an operator of brakes or a switch operator.

Major railroad companies offer federally-approved training for new employees. However, you can also choose of enrolling in the community college or university training program. Students must complete classes in the classroom, as well as the hands-on training which can last for months. In this period, they are taught how to operate trains, work with the equipment, and observe the safety guidelines.

According to experts on Railroad engineers have to be licensed and certified by the Federal Railroad Association once their training has been completed. This requires passing a hearing and vision test, a test and background examination. Train drivers are also required to undergo periodic physical examinations and tests. They also have to pass random alcohol and drug screenings to maintain their licenses.

Train Driver Industry

Railroad engineers can be paid by hourly rate, whereas other employees are employed on salaried basis. Train operators’ salaries range between to $46,165 up to $96,183 annually and a median in the range of 62,000 dollars each year. It is reported in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook provides similar figures for railroad employees, with the 2020 median wage for railroad workers of $64,210 per year, or $30.87 per hour.

In the year 2019 the number of railroad jobs available in the U.S., with a projected decline of 3 percent between 2019 and 2029. This could translate to 2,600 less railway worker jobs in this nation. It doesn’t mean that a railroad operator’s salary will decrease over that period, however.

Railroad Brakeman Salary

The responsibilities of a railroad brakeman are checking the trains to ensure safety assisting in switching, observing the tracks for dangers as well as giving signals, and of course, putting on brakes. The job is not easy. Examples of the description of a railroad brakeman’s job can include walking for long distances alongside the track during darkness and rainy weather.

American Rails reports that railroad brakemen are often working twelve-hour shifts for seven days for a week. They require the completion of a graduation from high school or its equivalent, and months or weeks of on-the-job training. However, the salary for railroad brakeman is more than many jobs that are available to high school graduates.

Earning a Cut Above

Brakemen, also referred to as brake operator of signals or switches employed 16,200 workers across the country in 2021, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their annual average full-time earnings was $63,050 which is equivalent to $30.31 per hour.

However, the median pay of workers who have high school degrees but no college education was $45,760 per year according to the BLS revealed. The 10 percent with the lowest pay of brake workers earned the equivalent of $44,260 or less annually and the highest 10% of them earned annual earnings in the range of at least $80,400 or more.

Braking for the Industry

The railroad industry employs nearly all railroad workers within this category of work. In 2021, 13,940 brake operators, signal and switch operators worked in the railroad transportation industry, earning an average annual salary that was $63,390 as per BLS.

There were an estimated 1,280 employees working as rail transportation support workers however, they earned an average salary which was $43,690 per year. About 790 brakemen worked for local government, state or federal agencies.

Moving for Higher Pay

Indiana was the state with the highest salary for railroad brakeman in 2021, with the average annual earnings of 77,640 as per BLS. Georgia was second and paid brakemen annual salaries in the range of $76,800 per year on average. The highest pay rates were found in New York, with annual average salaries of $71,080 and New Jersey, where pay averaged $69,680 annually. However, Texas had 2,230 jobs which was the highest of any state. Annual railroad brakeman salaries averaged $62,000..

Braking Around the Clock

While most brakemen work all day however, they aren’t typically working on a typical weekday and daytime schedule. Train systems operate all day, which means that brake workers typically work on weekends, nights and on holidays. The operators of passenger trains often are more consistent in their schedules and work hours, however on freight trains are more uncertain. In any event brakemen are required to receive the minimum amount of time off as required under federal laws.

Replacing Retirees

The demand for rail transportation is increasing, however railways are increasing productivity and reducing the number employees. For instance, these companies are operating longer trains using the same amount of locomotives. While BLS anticipates that there will be a shortage of positions available for brakemen on railroads to increase just a bit slower than the national 8 percent average from 2020 to 2030, the future prospects for this job are good. This industry is home to a high proportion of workers who are older who are retiring, which will result in good employment opportunities for young brakemen.

Conductor Trainee Salary

Around 44,920 railroad conductors and yardmasters were employed in the United States as of May 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Conductor trainees work on passenger and freight trains, examining tickets and obtaining payments from people who do not have tickets. They also aid passengers in ensure their safety in times of emergency, as well as supervise loading and unloading process on freight trains. Like the majority of jobs, a conductor trainee’s salary will vary depending on the employer, geographical location and a variety of other variables.

Conductor Trainee Salary

The employment website ZipRecruiter revealed an average conductor trainee’s salary that was 85,000171 per year in January 2022. This equates to around the equivalent of $41 for an hour. Salary reports varied vastly, ranging between to $17,000 up to $382,500 annually. The majority of salaries were in between the $27,000 mark and $49,500..

Certain railroad companies will require that conductor trainees hold high school diplomas, however it’s not mandatory. Conductor trainees typically train for a period of one to three months under competent conductors, according to the BLS. Smaller railroads may send their trainees to community colleges or training centers for instruction in the classroom. The other essential requirements are hand-eye coordination and hearing and vision as well as customer service, decision-making, and communication abilities.

Top Pay in California

ZipRecruiter created the following list of cities where salaries are over the average for the nation. Remember that higher pay is typically linked to a higher cost of living. Make use of a cost-of-living calculator like the one from Pocketsense to determine what you’ll need to earn to sustain an acceptable standard should you relocate to a different area. Be aware that you could face tougher job competition in the areas which pay higher.

These are the cities where conductors have the highest earnings According to ZipRecruiter:

  • Sunnyvale, CA: $101,678
  • Santa Cruz, CA: $100,738
  • Santa Rosa, CA: $98,467
  • Williston, ND: $96,483
  • Manhattan, NY: $96,230
  • Barnstable Town, MA: $95,484
  • Cambridge, MA: $95,308
  • San Mateo, CA: $94,578
  • Arlington, VA: $94,504
  • Dickinson, ND: $93,925

Salary Ranges

The majority of those employed as railroad conductors or yardmasters worked in the railroad transportation sector in 2020, earning an average at $65,920 annually. The highest income was made by those employed by local governments ( $85,380). Local government agencies, on average earned an average of $60,850..

A Slow-Growing Industry

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that provides data for almost all occupations in the civilian sector, predicts an increase at 5 percent in the case of workers in railroads to 2030. It’s slower than average when compared to other occupations. Many job openings are made when workers quit their jobs, whether to pursue a different career or to retire.

It is reported that the Association of American Railroads cites freight rail as having the highest job opportunities. Around 84 percent of employees are union members. They are eligible for pension benefits through the Railroad Retirement System instead of Social Security. Members of the military who leave active duty of their service in the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible for special treatment.

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