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Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster

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What You Need to Know About Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster

Occupation 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.

List of Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Job Duties

  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.

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.

  • Car Distributor
  • Yard Conductor
  • Supervisor, Engines, Road
  • Freight Trainperson
  • Railroad Dispatcher

Job Opportunities 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.

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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.

Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters is somewhere between $44,690 and $95,330.

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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
Alabama $61,850
Arizona $56,130
Arkansas $61,660
California $75,170
District of Columbia $66,770
Florida $62,260
Georgia $59,700
Idaho $61,060
Illinois $68,410
Indiana $62,370
Kansas $65,260
Kentucky $52,230
Maine $62,130
Maryland $77,790
Massachusetts $73,950
Michigan $62,460
Minnesota $69,500
Missouri $66,910
Montana $63,050
Nebraska $66,910
Nevada $67,010
New Hampshire $40,690
New Jersey $70,500
New Mexico $68,350
New York $66,560
North Carolina $56,380
Ohio $66,830
Oklahoma $42,680
Oregon $70,030
Pennsylvania $66,110
South Carolina $60,540
South Dakota $66,880
Tennessee $68,900
Texas $69,560
Utah $59,440
Virginia $68,130
Washington $67,560
West Virginia $62,080
Wisconsin $67,840
Wyoming $72,660

What Tools & Technology do Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Use?

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

Are there Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters education requirements?

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster?

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Where do Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Work?

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Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters work in the following industries:

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References:

Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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