How Much Does A Train Conductor Make?

How Much Does A Train Conductor Make?

Trains that transport passengers or freights have workers that can assist in cargo handling or make sure that the needs of passengers and security are taken care of. They work as part of a team with other railroad employees to ensure that trains run following their schedule and issue any necessary announcements during the train. If you are interested in traveling across different routes and pursuing an occupation with a brief training time, you could become one of the assistant workers. 

Although working long hours on the train is expected, there are more family-friendly alternatives when looking for employment on a passenger train. What conductors earn is comparable to the other salaries of railroad workers and experience and industry. These are factors that can impact your income.

They work with other railroad employees to ensure that trains operate according to their schedule and make any required announcements during the trip. If you’re looking to travel across various routes and looking for a job with a shorter training period, conductor job is for you. While spending lots of time on trains is not unusual, there are other alternatives for families who want to work with trains for passengers.

What is a train conductor?

Before we can figure out how much a conductor makes, let’s first understand the definition of a conductor. A railroad conductor, is an individual who works with trains, overseeing the day-to-day operation of the staff. Conductors on freights perform similar responsibilities. 

However, they are responsible for ensuring the loading and unloading of cargo at each station. As truck drivers, their job is often a long-term one, typically on national or regional routes. Conductors work on passenger or freights to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly. In passenger trains, they collect tickets for passengers or pay for tickets, oversee the procedure of boarding and disembarking passengers, and relay vital information to the locomotive engineer.

The duties depend on the kind of train that you’re working.

The primary job you’re assigned when working on freight trains is helping the cargo of the train in ensuring that it is loaded and unloaded promptly. On a passenger train, your primary responsibilities are assisting customers by making announcements and providing that passengers are safe.

You may be able to handle ticket sales or customer complaints and intervene when customers aren’t conducting themselves professionally in their business. Conductors should be able to deal with customers with patience and the ability to lead and supervise the team when needed.

A reduction of 900 jobs for conductors and yardmasters on railroads between 2026 and 2016 is expected, resulting in a decrease of 2 percent in the number of jobs. This is similar to reducing the 3 percent job growth expected across the entire railroad industry. 

The decline in coal and oil transportation on trains is the primary reason for this decline. However, the loss of conductors in the present system and the transport of other goods may allow conductors to be future candidates.

The Responsibilities

Source: mtainfo

Before we find out the amount that conductors earn, We must know the responsibilities of a conductor. The duties vary depending on the type of train. However, the primary responsibilities of a typical conductor are:

  • Ensuring safety, comfort, and orderly transport of all passengers
  • Checking the tickets of passengers to make sure they’re riding on the correct train
  • Accepting payment from passengers that take the train.
  • Assisting passengers as needed during the journey
  • Informing passengers about the next stops
  • It controls every aspect of the train’s operations, including signals, commands, and laws and rules in line with the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) rules and regulations.
  • Pay attention to and read the instructions given by yardmasters, dispatchers, and yardmasters.
  • Important safety and travel information for crew members all over the world
  • Conducting a pre-check on trains before departure
  • Station personnel can be contacted about schedules, lists of changes or lists of the cargo, or any other modifications.
  • Keep track of the tracks and search for obstructions and signals.
  • Be sure to adhere to the laws, regulations, and procedures that have always been established.

Education Requirements

Before we determine what salary conductors earn, We must know the education requirements for conductors. In addition to having been educated at a high school, Conductors typically undergo extensive training with their railroad or through an external courses. The course of instruction is typically in the range of one to three months and will prepare you to manage the flow of freight, help customers, guarantee the safety of the passengers and handle tickets. Conductor certification through the Federal Railroad Administration for positions you are employed by Expressway Railways, national or regional railroad. The train-in-the-field training program is designed for railroads to prepare you for the examination.

Conductors of railroads in May received an average of $63,300. The wages for the bottom class of conductors fell below the figure, whereas those of the top tier were higher. The bottom 10% of conductors made less than $42,950 per year, and the top 10 percent of conductors earned the highest wages and exceeded $91,630. 

Conductors working in railroad transportation earned an annual salary of $64,260 in the most well-known industry. State governments, which employed only 80 conductors and yardmasters, received the highest average salary of $93 520.

How do I become a conductor?

If you’re thinking of pursuing an occupation as a conductor, you should follow these steps:

Achieve an associate degree from a high school

Conducting trains requires no formal education since most only get a graduation certificate from high school or GED. But, when you’re at school, it is recommended to take advantage of workshops or courses in mechanics, electronics engineering, and communication. These skills will enable you to be certified and in entry-level positions.

Take a certification course

Conductor certification is now required to be considered for a railway conductor job. Colleges and community colleges, as well as other universities, offer training courses. In conjunction with the FRA, students must pass examinations and be recognized by the administration. Additionally, certain railroad companies provide training courses for certification before being employed full-time.

In addition to obtaining certification, those seeking to work as conductors must adhere to the rules on alcohol and drugs. As well as satisfy the requirements for hearing and vision. After meeting the conditions, the final step is to examine their background.

Apply for an entry-level job

Start your search for entry-level positions within the railway sector. Search for station or crew posts that provide growth opportunities. If you have more work experience, the higher your chances of advancement. Gain entry-level positions within the railway industry. And the higher your options will be able to secure the role of a conductor. It could take a few years to advance within a particular firm before a position as a conductor is available.

Acquire the licenses required for further development

Ask your employer about any new licensing requirements. Having them will make your resume more attractive when offered a job. The requirements for licensing may change based on the company and the state of the industry.

Necessary Skills

white and red DB train subway
Photo by Wikimedia

Before we can figure out what amount the salary of a conductor, it is essential to understand the abilities a conductor must possess. Here are a few of the most sought-after skills for training.

Customer service

Customers are often faced with questions or difficulties or require assistance. Conductors will be more readily available for these situations than crew members in specific cases. Conductors must be warm, accommodating, and capable of meeting every passenger’s needs on the road. 

Most questions from passengers are about timings for arrival, weather warnings, and other issues. Based on the weather, conductors may also help the crew by providing food and other provisions.

Healthful and good

Before we know what conductors earn, one of the essential things they should possess is good health. Conductors’ other needs are physical endurance and excellent hearing and sight. The conductor moves throughout the day, even when the trains stop or startup. This takes a great deal of energy and endurance to complete the job every day. 

Anyone is working with trains, regardless of location, the position, or the crew member, must be able to discern warning signals and signs. Those warn of the coming stopping or rail problems.

Operations and mechanics

Conductors require an exceptional understanding of operations and mechanics to ensure safety and are aware of risks. With a solid understanding of the mechanics behind trains, conductors will be able to detect potential issues. And then make the necessary adjustments or repairs. Knowing the workings of trains helps them monitor the train’s condition and conduct regular inspections.


Before we can figure out how much the salary of a conductor one of the qualities an engineer should possess is communication skills. Railroad conductors always communicate with the crew, informing them of possible changes to their route, next stop, and other possibilities. 

This lets the team convey this information more effectively to passengers and ensures everyone knows the train’s status. When working with passengers, conductors must be able to communicate clearly and concisely. Creating confidence in passengers while trying to avoid confusion.

Time management

Before we can figure out how much a conductor pays, one of the abilities an engineer should possess is time management skills. Conducting a train depends on the capacity to manage time and adhere to the schedules of transportation or transport. Conductors must adhere to pre-determined schedules as precisely as possible. To ensure that trains arrive at stations in time or deliver the cargo in time. But how much do conductors make.

What is the Average Salary Conductors Earns?

a man in uniform is seen through the door of a train
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the same source, the conductor wage in the U.S. averages $73,269. The average salary of a conductor bonus is $1,025. Which is 1% of earnings. Out of 99% people employed by them say they receive each year a bonus. Conductors make the most pay within San Francisco at $108,884. With a mean total income of 49% higher than that region U.S. average.

What tax do you be required to pay as a conductor?

If you’re a person who falls within the tax bracket mentioned above, you will have to pay a federal tax rat. That is 22%. Once the Federal tax of 22% is removed, conductors are expected to earn a take-home salary of $61,210 annually. Each pay period amounting to about $2,500.

Salary Variations

The average salary for conductors across the U.S. ranges from $13,808 to $373,999, with an average of $66,833. The middle 57% of conductors make $66,837 to $168.912. The highest 86% earn $373.999.

The High-Quality of Life Conductors Experience

Take-home pay is about $5,101 per month. This is in addition to an average rent for 2BR apartments of $2,506 a month. Conductors will have to be able to pay 49.13 percent of the earnings to rent.

Industry and Experience

Source: Tech Insider

Before figuring out how much a conductor pays, let’s look at the industry and the years of experience an engineer conductor has. Conductors usually work in the railway sector, but around 10% work for state or different transportation firms. Conductors working environment may differ depending on whether you’re working for a freight or passenger. Because the freight trains have a more relaxed and clean workplace. 

Spending a lot of time away from family members is a common experience since trains operate throughout the day. Conducting a train for passengers could be the best choice for your family since trains usually have fewer routes.

Conductors are paid a significant amount from the time they begin their journey until they’ve been working for more than ten years. When they get experience, they can benefit from the chance to progress and also the chance to become an engineer for locomotives after further training. You can find examples of the typical salaries for various levels of a profession in these figures as of April.

  • Entry-level: $49,000
  • Mid-career: $60,000
  • Experienced: $71,000
  • Late-career: $86,000

What does it cost to become a conductor?

The cost to attend the school typically is dependent on the program provider and the type of program you’re interested in. An online service typically provides courses per-student and membership packages that include lectures and advanced materials. The cost of enrolling in conductor training can range between $10,000 and $60,000.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, railroad conductors’ employment growth is predicted to fall by 2 percent during the period ending in 2026. This is significantly lower than the growth of 7 percent projected for all occupations. BLS says the predicted decline is due to a variety of factors. Demand for coal decreases since more power plants use natural gas, and the increase in pipelines reduces the need for railway transport for gas and oil.

Conditions of Work

Conductors of railroad service travel the majority of the day and spend a period away from their homes. Although yard conductors typically have 40-hour workweeks, service conductors often work long hours. Full-time conductors have a schedule that they adhere to each year. However, conductors on extra-board generally have irregular programs and are required to work with brief notice.

Conductors are responsible for their work and are required to oversee the work of other employees. They should be polite to their passengers and thoroughly understand how trains work. They must also be able to see and hear clearly and be healthy.

Work Schedule

The rail schedules determine the schedules of railroad conductors. Trains that transport passengers and freight usually run throughout the day. Conductors have to be available for work on weekends, evenings, and holidays.

Conductors who work long routes could be away for days. However, federal regulations govern the length of their shifts. Trains operating regionally or locally permit them to work an ongoing evolution.

How to Become a Conductor: Step-by-step guide

There is no prerequisite for prior experience to gain the job of a conductor. According to BLS, certain conductors have entered the business by serving as brake or signal operators in a railroad yard.

They could be promoted to conductor jobs after gaining experience in the railway industry and how the machinery functions. If you are looking to become a conductor, you’ll need a diploma and special courses that can help you communicate with passengers effectively.

  • A high-school diploma: It would help when you have first a high school diploma.
  • Special Courses: It is recommended to sign up for and pass a certification course to be a conductor on trains. The submission of an application for an entry-level position will be the following step. Then, you’ll need the permits required to allow you to develop your business.


What is the name of train drivers in the United States?

A train driver, train operator, locomotive operator, or motorman is a driver of a train, several units, or a locomotive and is referred to throughout North America as an engineer or locomotive handler, operator, or engineman.

Do Train Conductors have to work on holidays?

If you are thinking about a possible job, many people think about its impact on their life at home. Specific jobs need the worker to be available for all hours of the day, and you must work late nights and even during the holidays. The reality is that being a conductor is just one of the jobs that typically need you to be working during the holiday season. Many railroad companies will not pay you any holiday compensation unless you’re working in the train yard on that day.

Suppose you decide to become a successful conductor for the money and other advantages. In that case, it’s crucial to consider the impact the job can take on your personal life. It is expected that you are available and ready to work all hours of the day, particularly at the time you first get employed. In addition, you may be required to work nights and work on weekends and holidays.

If you’re a parent with a large family, including younger children, you might consider thinking about how this profession could affect your family’s life. However, an individual lives alone and doesn’t mind working weekends or holidays. This career could be ideal for you precisely because you’ll enjoy a rewarding career that includes traveling.

This profession’s impact on one’s family life can be unavoidable for many people.

Many who have been conductors have said that the job isn’t difficult; however, the requirement to be available 24/7 and work weekends and holidays resulted in the destruction of their relationship or marriage and affected their relationship with their children.

It is ultimately your choice to decide whether working during holidays is an issue in your favor or not. It is advisable to take some time to think about the implications this work schedule could impact your relationships shortly. Also, do not be afraid to discuss it with your partner to ensure that they know how much time you’ll need to be away from your home.


The median salary at BNSF Railway as a railroad conductor is about $77,000 annually, which is then Union Pacific with $73,000/year, AmTrak with $71,000/year, and CSX Transportation with $70,000/year. Smaller private firms can provide very competitive rates. It’s all about looking for and evaluating the most effective possibility.

Many railroad companies offer competitive benefits packages that consist of paid leave like sickness days, insurance for life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, retirement benefits, vision insurance, childcare benefits, short and long-term disability insurance, and more. There is no better method to move people and goods on land; the business is growing steadily and, consequently, employment opportunities.

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