Featured Careers - Rail

A rail technician (face not shown) holds a hard hat under his arm. Track stretches behind him.

Railroad Worker

Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains, while others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

(avg salary: $52,400/yr)

A pair of dirty, grease-streaked hands hold a well-used wrench.

Railcar Mechanic

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.

(avg salary: $43,820/yr)

A man in a warehouse inspects a package as it moves down a conveyor belt.

Freight Inspector

Material recording clerks keep track of information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.

(avg salary: $24,810/yr)

A mechanic (with only his hands showing) works on some mechanical parts.

Locomotive Engine Mechanic

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses, trucks, and anything else with a diesel engine.

(avg salary: $42,320/yr)

A person (mostly seen offscreen) controls a train, whose interface is the focus of the image.

Locomotive Engineer

Locomotive engineers drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. They also interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.

(avg salary: $57,000/yr)

A set of railroad tracks at night, with the signals glowing in the fog.

Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operator

Railroad brake, signal and switch operators operate railroad track switches used to couple or uncouple rolling stock to make up or break up trains; and signal engineers by hand or flagging. They may also inspect couplings, air hoses, journal boxes, and hand brakes.

(avg salary: $52,280/yr)

The empty front car of a subway, with the monitors and gears of the driver interface clearly shown.

Subway or Streetcar Operator

Subway operators operate subway or elevated suburban passenger trains with no separate locomotive. Streetcar operators operate electric-powered streetcars. They may also handle fares.

(avg salary: $59,230/yr)

A pair of locomotive engines sit on an isolated pair of tracks, waiting to be used again.

Rail Yard Engineer, Dinkey Operator, or Hostler

Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, and hostlers drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yards, industrial plans, construction projects, or similar locations.

(avg salary: $44,810/yr)

A woman sits before a pair of computers. She is wearing a headset and preparing to dispatch trains.


Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, work crews, equipment, or service vehicles for conveyance of materials, freight, or passengers, or for normal installation, service, or emergency repairs rendered outside the place of business. Duties may include using radio, telephone, or computer to transmit assignments and compile statistics and reports on work progress.

(avg salary: $39,710/yr)