What Do Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Do?
Job 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?
- Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
- Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
- Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
- Instruct workers to regulate air conditioning, lighting, and heating in passenger cars to ensure passengers' comfort.
- Supervise and coordinate crew activities to transport freight and passengers and to provide boarding, porter, maid, and meal services to passengers.
- Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Required Skills
When polled, Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
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.
Types of Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Jobs
- Yard Manager
- Dispatch Manager
- Switchman Supervisor
- Supervisor, Engines, Road
- Passenger Car Conductor
Is There Job Demand 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. The BLS estimates 3,700 yearly job openings in this field.
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.
Salary for 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.
How much do Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters make in different U.S. states?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$66,770|
Tools & Technologies Used by Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters:
- Microsoft Office
- Inventory tracking software
Becoming a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
What education or degrees do I need to become a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster?
What work experience do I need to become a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster?
Where do Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Work?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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