Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters

risk level
Based on 80 votes
by year 2032
or $34.19 per hour
as of 2023

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Automation risk

67% (High Risk)

High Risk (61-80%): Jobs in this category face a significant threat from automation, as many of their tasks can be easily automated using current or near-future technologies.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Persuasion

User poll

64% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted that it's probable this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 67% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Moderate growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters' job openings is expected to rise 4.7% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


High paid relative to other professions

In 2023, the median annual wage for 'Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters' was $71,130, or $34 per hour

'Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters' were paid 48.0% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $48,060

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Moderate range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2023 there were 46,490 people employed as 'Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters' within the United States.

This represents around < 0.001% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 3 thousand people are employed as 'Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters'.

Job description

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.

SOC Code: 53-4031.00


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ADude (Low) says
Jul 07, 2024 at 06:51 AM
EFS (Highly likely) says
Trains can be entirely operated with a database system if all rail is connected by internet or other computing systems.

Far easier than self-driving cars as railway lines are already pretty connected in terms of IT.

The challenge isn't much, all things considered.

The first step will be remote-control management of trains, with one person operating 10 or so trains. Eventually, they will be fully replaced with perhaps one person overseeing an entire company's trains.
Nov 23, 2022 at 05:13 PM
Fred (Highly likely) says
I work for a class I railroad and positive train control has been in use on our engines for about 3 years. It stops the train if the engineer doesn't. A large part of an over the road freight conductor duties are to be a second set of eyes and to stop the train if something happens to the engineer. We do have other duties that are important and won't be replaced by robots anytime soon. Will we be replaced by robots soon? Probably not but partially yes.
Apr 14, 2021 at 04:58 AM

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