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Railroad jobs have a long-standing history and continues to be a vital part of the global transportation network.

Besides offering an opportunity to work in a dynamic and evolving field, the railroad industry often provides attractive salaries and  comprehensive benefits packages.

Whether you have a passion for engineering, operations, maintenance, or management, the railroad industry includes a wide range of lucrative career paths.

There is often no shortage of work, whether in passenger rail or freight. This means that individuals who are hard working have access to significant overtime opportunities.

Furthermore, the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act worth approximately $55 billion, will spur investment and job opportunities across the country in the railroad industry.

In this article, we will explore the 17 of the best railroad jobs that pay well, highlighting their respective salaries and providing a brief description of each role.

Now, let’s begin!

Best Railroad Jobs 

1. Locomotive Engineer 

Salary Range: $65,000 – $100,000+ per year

Locomotive engineers operate trains, ensuring their safe and timely movement.

Responsible for adhering to schedules and following safety protocols, they play a crucial role in transporting goods and passengers.

Locomotive engineers undergo extensive training and need to maintain a sharp focus while operating complex machinery, making it a rewarding career choice.

2. Railroad Conductor 

Salary Range: $50,000 – $90,000+ per year

Railroad conductors are responsible for coordinating the movement of trains.

They communicate with dispatchers, foreman, review train schedules, and direct the activities of train crews.

Conductors ensure compliance with safety regulations and manage the boarding and disembarking of passengers.

Their role requires excellent organizational skills and a strong understanding of train operations.

Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) provide extensive training for this career path where you can earn up to $140,000 in your first year with no railroad experience required.

Special Note: In order to become a qualified train conductor in the United States you must go through rigorous training and receive your conductor certification through the Federal Railroad Administration. The FRA is governed by the United States Department of Transportation.

In order to become a qualified train conductor in Canada you must go through rigorous training and receive your Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) certification regulated through Transport Canada.

3. Railroad Supervisor 

Salary Range: $60,000 – $85,000 per year

Railroad supervisors oversee the activities of railroad workers and ensure compliance with company policies and safety regulations.

They manage schedules, provide training, and address any issues that arise during operations.

With their leadership skills and industry knowledge, railroad supervisors play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and safety of railroad operations.

4. Rail Yard Engineer  

Salary Range: $60,000 – $90,000 per year

Rail yard engineers, also known as switch operators, work in rail yards where trains are sorted and assembled.

They operate locomotives to move cars within the yard, ensuring that the correct cars are coupled together for efficient train formations.

Rail yard engineers play a vital role in optimizing freight movement and coordinating with other railroad workers.

5. Train Dispatcher 

Salary Range: $50,000 – $75,000 per year

Train dispatchers monitor and control the movement of trains using centralized control centres.

They communicate with train crews, issue instructions, maintain scheduling, and maintain safe and efficient operations.

Train dispatchers need excellent decision-making abilities and the ability to handle high-pressure situations.

6. Rail Traffic Controller 

Salary Range: $65,000 – $95,000+ per year

Rail traffic controllers are responsible for managing the flow of trains on rail networks.

They use computerized systems to track train movements, allocate track resources, and ensure the safe and efficient flow of traffic.

Rail traffic controllers work long hours and deal with high stress situations within rail networks.

Basic to intermediate math skills, attention to detail and high initiative is needed to excel in this role.

7. Track Inspector 

Salary Range: $50,000 – $80,000 per year

Track inspectors play a crucial role in maintaining the safety and integrity of railroad tracks.

They inspect tracks, bridges, and other infrastructure to identify defects and potential hazards.

Track inspectors ensure compliance with regulations and oversee repairs and maintenance activities, contributing to the smooth and safe functioning of railroad operations.

8. Railroad Signal Technician 

Salary Range: $55,000 – $85,000 per year

Railroad signal technicians install, maintain, and repair signalling systems along the tracks.

They troubleshoot electrical and mechanical issues, test equipment, and ensure that signals and communication systems are functioning correctly.

Signal technicians play a critical role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of train operations.

9. Diesel Mechanic 

Salary Range: $45,000 – $75,000 per year

Diesel mechanics specialize in maintaining and repairing locomotive engines.

They perform inspections, diagnose issues, and carry out necessary repairs or replacements.

Diesel mechanics also conduct routine maintenance to ensure the smooth functioning of locomotives, contributing to the overall reliability of the rail system.

10. Railcar Repairer 

Salary Range: $40,000 – $70,000 per year

Railcar repairers inspect, maintain, and repair railcars and their components.

They diagnose mechanical issues, perform welding or fabrication work, and replace damaged parts.

Railcar repairers contribute to the safe and efficient transportation of goods by ensuring that railcars are in proper working order.

11. Bridge and Building Inspector  

Salary Range: $50,000 – $85,000 per year

Bridge and building inspectors evaluate the condition of railroad bridges, tunnels, and other structures.

They inspect for structural integrity, identify maintenance needs, and ensure compliance with safety standards.

These inspectors play a vital role in ensuring the safety of the railroad infrastructure and preventing potential accidents such as train derailments which are prevalent in the United States.

12. Railroad Police Officer 

Salary Range: $55,000 – $90,000 per year

Railroad police officers provide security and law enforcement services to protect railroad property and personnel.

They patrol trains, stations, and rail yards, investigate crimes, and enforce safety regulations.

Railroad police officers often collaborate with local law enforcement agencies and maintain a visible presence to deter criminal activities.

This often includes trespassers, disturbances and other nuances that may affect the safety and movement of freight and passenger train operations.

13. Dispatch Manager 

Salary Range: $75,000 – $95,000+ per year

Dispatch managers oversee the operations of train dispatching centres.

They manage a team of dispatchers, coordinate train movements, and ensure compliance with regulations and company policies.

Dispatch managers need strong leadership skills, excellent communication abilities, and a thorough understanding of train operations.

14. Foreman  

Salary Range: $60,000 – $90,000 per year

Foremen supervise railroad construction or maintenance crews.

They manage the day-to-day operations, assign tasks to workers, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Foremen play a crucial role in coordinating and overseeing the work of the crew, maintaining safety standards, and ensuring quality workmanship.

15. Signals and Communications Maintainer 

Salary Range: $50,000 – $85,000 per year

Signals and communications maintainers are responsible for maintaining and repairing signalling and communication systems along the tracks.

They troubleshoot issues, perform inspections, and carry out necessary repairs.

Signals and communications maintainers ensure the proper functioning of critical systems that contribute to the safe and efficient movement of trains.

16. Project Coordinator  

Salary Range: $60,000 – $90,000 per year

Project coordinators in the railroad industry manage and coordinate various construction or maintenance projects.

They work closely with engineers, construction crews, and other stakeholders to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

Project coordinators oversee logistics, scheduling, and resource allocation, contributing to the successful execution of railroad projects along new and existing corridors.

17. Public Works Manager 

Salary Range: $70,000 – $120,000+ per year

Public works managers in the railroad industry are responsible for planning, organizing, and overseeing infrastructure projects.

They manage budgets, coordinate with contractors and regulatory agencies, and ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

Public works managers play a crucial role in developing and maintaining railroad infrastructure that supports efficient and safe operations.

This position often deals with high stress and requires extensive experience in the railroad industry as well as post secondary and graduates degrees.

Best Railroad Jobs: A Rewarding and Lucrative Career 

The railroad industry offers a wide range of rewarding career opportunities that not only provide stability but also offer competitive salaries.

What’s great about the railroad industry is that post secondary education is not always required, and you can begin making six figures in a short period of time.

From operating trains and maintaining tracks to overseeing operations, managing projects, and maintaining infrastructure, these 17 best railroad jobs present a diverse array of options for those interested in pursuing a lucrative career in the field.

Consider your skills, interests, and preferences to find the perfect railroad job that suits you and provides a well-paying and fulfilling career path.


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