Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters
SOC: 53-4031.00


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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
45,100 employed

Projected (2024):
44,300 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Agent
  • Car Chaser
  • Car Dispatcher
  • Car Distributor
  • Car Spotter
  • Centralized Traffic Control Operator (CTC Operator)
  • Conductor
  • Conductor and Engineer
  • Conductor, Freight
  • Conductor/Brakeman
  • Dispatch Manager
  • Freight Conductor
  • Motor Boss
  • Outbound Supervisor
  • Passenger Car Conductor
  • Passenger Conductor
  • Pullman Conductor
  • Railroad Conductor
  • Railroad Dispatcher
  • Road Conductor
  • Road Freight Conductor
  • Roadmaster
  • Sleeping Car Conductor
  • Supervisor, Engines, Road
  • Switch Operators Supervisor
  • Switchman Supervisor
  • Test Conductor
  • Ticket Collector
  • Traffic Control Operator
  • Train Conductor
  • Train Dispatcher
  • Train Master
  • Trainman
  • Trains Dispatcher Supervisor
  • Transportation Supervisor
  • Yard Conductor
  • Yard Manager
  • Yard Pilot
  • Yard Spotter
  • Yard Supervisor
  • Yardmaster

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Food Production
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Signal engineers to begin train runs, stop trains, or change speed, using telecommunications equipment or hand signals.
  • Receive information regarding train or rail problems from dispatchers or from electronic monitoring devices.
  • Direct and instruct workers engaged in yard activities, such as switching tracks, coupling and uncoupling cars, and routing inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Keep records of the contents and destination of each train car, and make sure that cars are added or removed at proper points on routes.
  • Operate controls to activate track switches and traffic signals.
  • Instruct workers to set warning signals in front and at rear of trains during emergency stops.
  • Direct engineers to move cars to fit planned train configurations, combining or separating cars to make up or break up trains.
  • Receive instructions from dispatchers regarding trains' routes, timetables, and cargoes.
  • Review schedules, switching orders, way bills, and shipping records to obtain cargo loading and unloading information and to plan work.
  • Confer with engineers regarding train routes, timetables, and cargoes, and to discuss alternative routes when there are rail defects or obstructions.
  • Arrange for the removal of defective cars from trains at stations or stops.
  • Inspect each car periodically during runs.
  • Observe yard traffic to determine tracks available to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Document and prepare reports of accidents, unscheduled stops, or delays.
  • Confirm routes and destination information for freight cars.
  • Supervise and coordinate crew activities to transport freight and passengers and to provide boarding, porter, maid, and meal services to passengers.
  • Supervise workers in the inspection and maintenance of mechanical equipment to ensure efficient and safe train operation.
  • Record departure and arrival times, messages, tickets and revenue collected, and passenger accommodations and destinations.
  • Inspect freight cars for compliance with sealing procedures and record car numbers and seal numbers.
  • Collect tickets, fares, or passes from passengers.
  • Verify accuracy of timekeeping instruments with engineers to ensure trains depart on time.
  • Instruct workers to regulate air conditioning, lighting, and heating in passenger cars to ensure passengers' comfort.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Automatic container locks
  • Bridge plates
  • Cable sheath cutters
  • Car pullers
  • Desktop computers
  • Intercom systems
  • Laptop computers
  • Locking ratchet wrenches
  • Mainframe computers
  • Personal computers
  • Portable bar code scanners
  • Portable satellite communications systems
  • Radio frequency identification RFID devices
  • Starter punches
  • Switch adjusting wrenches
  • Switching system controls
  • Terminal wrenches
  • Tie-down winches
  • Two way radios
  • Ultra high frequency UHF radio communication systems
  • Uncoupling levers
  • Weigh-in-motion scales
  • Automated equipment identification AEI software
  • Bourque Data Systems YardMaster
  • Freight reservation software
  • Inventory tracking software
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Positive train control PTC systems
  • RailComm DocYard
  • SAIC Integrated AEI Software
  • Softrail AEI Automatic Yard Tracking System
  • Softrail AEI Rail & Road Manager

  • transportation and material moving

    industry stats

    SOC: 53-0000

    Total Employed: 9,536,610

    Average Annual Salary: $35,160