Salary Range for a Train Conductor

By Ren Orin , last updated January 11, 2012

The salary range for train conductors depends on many factors. The amount of compensation you can expect shifts according to years of experience, the geographical location you’re based in, and on your employer. Overall, if you like to travel, meet people and manage a staff, perhaps becoming a train conductor is a good career path for you.

Responsibilities and Prerequisites of a Train Conductor

Train conductors are usually responsible for taking tickets, negotiating complaints, keeping passengers informed, managing and being responsible for the cars added and removed at each stop, managing and being responsible for maids, porters and engineers, overseeing schedules and routes and being responsible for the goods the train is carrying. Train conductors are also the face of the railroad, so you’ll have to be good at interacting with people and ensuring the train’s positive public image. Many train conductors studied railroad operations in school and hold a degree in the field. It’s also nearly impossible to get a position as a train conductor without many years of experience as a rail yard worker.

How Much Train Conductors Make on Average

The salary range for train conductors vary by years of experience. If you’re just starting out as a train conductor, you can expect to make between $28,600 to $65,839. After the first year, the range increases. Most train conductors with one to four years of experience make $35,608 to $65,066. After five years, the range increases to $45,330 to $87,918, and after ten years, the range increases again. Train conductors with 10 to 19 years of experience can make up to $97,284. And after 20 years of experience, most train conductors make between $48,479 to $92,738.

Salary Range Differs Depending on Location

Of course the city you operate out of makes a difference in your salary, as well. For those train conductors who work out of Chicago, IL, you can anticipate a salary range of $57,808 - $84,600. If your home base is Kansas City, Missouri, you can expect a much smaller salary range. Those conductors make between $39,305 and $73,268.

Salary Range Differs Depending on Companies

Salaries for train conductors also vary according to railroad company. CSX Corp, based in Jacksonville, Fla., pays their train conductors between $40,695 and $56,712 each year. Norfolk Southern Corporation, on the other hand, has a huge salary range for train conductors. You can make anywhere from $21,140 to $80,840 working for this company. The range for train conductors working for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation is $60,820 - $94,687, the highest of the available data. And if you work as a train conductor for the Union Pacific Corp, you can expect to make between $60,061 and $82,683.

Future of Train Conductors

Careers in this field are anticipated to grow as quickly or slowly as the average in the United States. As other modes of transportation become more popular than trains, there are less positions available overall. However, many railroad train conductors are reaching retirement age, so replacements will be necessary in the near future. This means jobs will become available soon.

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