InTrans / May 13, 2010

Railroad conductor

Go! Magazine

Railroad tracksposted on May 13, 2010


Railroad conductors do more than drive trains:

  • Overseeing operation from onboard the train
  • Relaying signals to direct the safe movement of the train to its destination
  • Operating rail switches to make sure trains are properly guided onto their tracks
  • Supervising the assembly and disassembly of train cars in the rail yard
  • Each duty is important in the daily and long-term operations of freight and passenger rail systems.


Most conductors have a high school diploma. Helpful high school courses include electronics and manual arts, such as wood and metal shop. Basic math courses are also helpful. Many employers require aspiring conductors to complete training programs at technical or community colleges, such as the Railroad Conductor Technology Certificate program offered at Dakota County Technical College:

Before you can become a conductor, you are tested on knowledge of signals, timetables, and operating rules.


Train conductors can expect to earn $25–31/hour.

By Will Rose, Go! Staff Writer

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