All About Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Position Description Coordinate activities of switch-engine crew within railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. Conductors coordinate activities of train crew on passenger or freight trains. Yardmasters review train schedules and switching orders and coordinate activities of workers engaged in railroad traffic operations, such as the makeup or breakup of trains and yard switching.
Life As a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster: What Do They Do?
- Verify accuracy of timekeeping instruments with engineers to ensure trains depart on time.
- Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
- Record departure and arrival times, messages, tickets and revenue collected, and passenger accommodations and destinations.
- Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
- Supervise workers in the inspection and maintenance of mechanical equipment to ensure efficient and safe train operation.
- Observe yard traffic to determine tracks available to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.
Skills Needed to be a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
Below is a list of the skills most Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters say are important on the job.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Car Spotter
- Passenger Conductor
- Yard Manager
Job Outlook for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
There were about 41,800 jobs for Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster. There will be an estimated 3,700 positions for Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster per year.
The states with the most job growth for Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster are South Carolina, Texas, and Nebraska. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Louisiana, or Oregon. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
What is the Average Salary of a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
The typical yearly salary for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters is somewhere between $44,690 and $95,330.
Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters who work in Maryland, California, or Wyoming, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$66,770|
What Tools & Technology do Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Use?
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters may use on a daily basis:
- Microsoft Office
- Inventory tracking software
How to Become a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
What education is needed to be a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Where Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Work
The table below shows the approximate number of Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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