What You Need to Know About Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
Job Description & Duties 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
- Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
- Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
- Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
- Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
- Inspect freight cars for compliance with sealing procedures and record car numbers and seal numbers.
- Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
Qualities of a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.
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:
- Freight Trainperson
- Yard Manager
- Pullman Conductor
- Centralized Traffic Control Operator (CTC Operator)
- Conductor, Freight
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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,700 job openings in this field each 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.
How Much Does a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster Make?
The average yearly salary of a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster ranges 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 each U.S. state?
|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
Becoming a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster
What kind of Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster requirements are there?
What work experience do I need to become a Railroad Conductor or Yardmaster?
Where Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters Work
Below are examples of industries where Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters work:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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