Railroad Conductors


Railroad Conductors


Railroad conductors supervise trains and train crews on passenger trains, on freight trains, or in the rail yards. They are responsible for keeping track of the train's operating instructions and of its makeup and cargo. There are approximately 45,710 railroad conductors and yardmasters employed in the United States.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Several years experience required





Personality Traits

Hands On


As is the case with most rail occupations, the daily wage or hourly rate varies with the size of the railroad. Other factors that affect wages are the type of service, number of cars on the train, and the location of the train's run. For example, conductors receive extra pay on trains passing through mountainous regions. Usually, basic wages, as well as fringe benefits, for conductors are guara...

Work Environment

Road conductors spend much of their time traveling and must be away from home on a constant basis. While assigned to the extra board, they usually have irregular hours. Once they receive a regular assignment, however, they may maintain a regular schedule and remain on a run for years. Although the basic workweek is eight hours for five days a week, days and nights are not considered different, ...


The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for railroad conductors will decline through 2028. Rail passenger services to many points have been discontinued. Although the volume of railroad freight business is expected to increase in the coming years, the use of mechanization, automation, and larger, faster trains is expected to reduce the need for new conductors. Computers are now us...