How Much Does a Train Conductor Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · September 06, 2023 · 5 minute read

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How Much Does a Train Conductor Make a Year?

Being a train conductor allows you to take people and essential goods where they need to go, see the country, and get paid while doing it. In fact, a competitive salary is often one of the big draws of the field. But just how much does a train conductor make? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a train conductor is $68,180.

If that salary sounds appealing, keep reading to learn what train conductors do, how much they stand to make in different states, and the pros and cons of the job.

What Is a Train Conductor?

If you’ve ever dreamed of yelling “all aboard” and taking the wheel of a train, then you may find satisfaction as a train conductor. This type of trade job is responsible for organizing and overseeing various activities within a railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar locations. They play a vital role in coordinating the actions of the train crew, whether on passenger trains or freight trains. Additionally, yardmasters take charge of reviewing train schedules and switching orders while ensuring smooth coordination among workers involved in railroad traffic operations, including train assembly, disassembly, and yard switching tasks.

Working as a train conductor can be stressful and requires attention to detail. However, introverts may find that they love this job as it requires minimum interactions with other people.

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How Much Is a Train Conductor’s Starting Salary?

How much money does a train conductor make? According to the latest BLS data, annual salaries range from a low of $49,680, which is most likely what entry-level conductors earn, all the way up to $88,230 or more. As workers gain more years of experience, they can expect to see their salary increase. At the very least, they should always expect to make the minimum wage in their state.

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What Is the Average Salary for a Train Conductor?

While most people don’t focus their job search on trying to find the highest-paying job in their state, it’s a good idea to do salary research before pursuing a new career path.

So how much does a train conductor make per hour? Typically, train conductors earn a median hourly wage of $32.78, but that rate differs by state. Take a look at the following table to get an idea of what train conductors can earn in different states.

Median Train Conductor Salary by State for 2022


Annual Mean Wage

Alabama N/A
Alaska N/A
Arizona $62,160
Arkansas $67,170
California $69,220
Colorado $63,770
Connecticut N/A
Delaware $101,450
District of Columbia N/A
Florida $74,310
Georgia N/A
Hawaii N/A
Idaho N/A
Illinois N/A
Indiana $74,240
Iowa N/A
Kansas $60,960
Kentucky $58,320
Louisiana $60,510
Maine N/A
Maryland $57,140
Massachusetts N/A
Michigan $50,500
Minnesota $63,390
Mississippi $55,040
Missouri $67,190
Montana $67,950
Nebraska $67,970
Nevada N/A
New Hampshire $71,750
New Jersey $78,300
New Mexico N/A
New York $68,960
North Carolina $77,060
North Dakota $72,650
Ohio $62,350
Oklahoma $68,170
Oregon $68,510
Pennsylvania $72,320
Rhode Island N/A
South Carolina $46,300
South Dakota $65,110
Tennessee $61,700
Texas $70,520
Utah N/A
Vermont N/A
Virginia N/A
Washington $62,540
West Virginia $55,000
Wisconsin $69,780
Wyoming $67,060

Source: BLS

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Train Conductor Benefits & Job Considerations

Most train conductors work full time and are eligible for employer benefits on top of their salary. Benefits like health insurance and paid time off can be valuable and increase the overall value of a compensation package.

Savvy employers know that alongside offering a competitive salary, a robust benefits package can attract and retain top talent. Common employee benefits that train conductors may expect to see include:

•   Health insurance

•   Dental insurance

•   Vision insurance

•   Flexible spending account

•   Paid time off

•   Employee assistance program

•   Life and disability insurance

•   Retirement savings plan

Pros and Cons of Train Conductor Salary

Like any job, working as a train conductor comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that are worth being aware of.


•   Minimal educational requirements, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals

•   Job training is provided by employers, allowing for on-the-job skill development

•   Regular rest hours are enforced, ensuring a reasonable work-life balance


•   Federal licensure requirements add an additional step to the process

•   The job can be physically demanding, especially in challenging weather conditions

•   Work weeks may extend beyond the standard 40 hours, leading to potential overtime hours

•   Irregular scheduling is common, which can make it challenging to maintain a consistent routine

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The Takeaway

Considering a job as a train conductor? Though rewarding, this line of work is also high stakes, and anyone considering this career path needs to be prepared to take the responsibility seriously. It’s also important to understand what the position typically pays and what your earning potential could be. The median annual salary train conductors earn is $68,180, but train conductors with many years of experience can expect to earn more than this.

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What is the highest paying railroad job?

If someone is looking to make the most money possible as a train conductor, they may want to consider working for their state government. According to BLS data, train conductors who work for state governments earn a median salary of just over $100,000 per year.

Do train conductors make six figures?

How much does a train conductor make per year, and can they earn a six-figure salary? The good news is that it is possible to earn six figures as a train conductor. While the average train conductor earns a median salary of $68,180, train conductors employed by state governments earn a median of $100,770 each year.

What is the average age for a train conductor?

Many people find fulfilling careers as train conductors at all different ages. That said, the average age for a train conductor is 41.

Photo credit: iStock/Laser1987

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