How Much Do Train Drivers Make In 2024?

Trains excite both children and adults, and being a train driver may be a fulfilling and long-term career decision.

And you might wonder how much train drivers make when you become an adult.

Training and certification are necessary, and work on passenger and cargo trains are typical.

A train driver must be able to respond swiftly and proactively in unfavorable situations, as well as have the capacity to focus for lengthy periods of time, according to the professionals at Cover Letters and Resume.

Excellent hand-eye coordination, strong hearing and eyesight, and a basic grasp of mechanics are other desired traits.

And according to Comparably, Train Drivers get paid 50% more than the national average in San Francisco. So how much do they get paid in other states? keep reading to find out!


GuideHow Much Do Train Drivers Make?
Average Income$64,210 per year
Highest Income$240,000 per year
Education QualificationHigh school diplomas or GEDs

Who Are Train Drivers?

Train drivers are sometimes known as locomotive conductors or railroad engineers.

They run passenger and freight trains back and forth between stops using manual and computer controls.

According to Betterteam’s authors, additional tasks include monitoring the train’s instruments to keep track of speed, air pressure, and battery usage.

Because the hours and days off are unpredictable in this profession, standard 40-hour workweeks are not usual — evenings, weekends, and holidays are typical workdays.

Other key roles include inspecting the trains before and after driving, doing essential maintenance, and maintaining continual communication with traffic control.

They may occasionally need to discover, diagnose, and fix small failures or malfunctions on their vehicles.

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How Much Do Train Drivers Make?

Some train drivers are paid on an hourly basis, while others get a salary rather than the hours worked.

The annual compensation for a train operator ranges from $46,165 to $96,183, with a typical income of $62,100.

As the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states, railroad employees may expect to earn $64,210 per year or $30.87 per hour in 2020.

There was 77,700 railroad worker employment in the United States in 2019, with a forecast reduction of 3% from 2019 to 2029.

This might result in the loss of 2,600 employees in the railroad industry in the United States.

However, this does not necessarily imply that a train operator’s compensation will fall over that time period.

1. How Much Do Train Drivers Make an Hour?

Train Drivers makes a minimum of $9.13 an hour and a maximum of $38.22 an hour.

2. How Much Do Train Drivers Make an Month?

Train Drivers makes a minimum of $1,583 a month and a maximum of $6,625 a month.

3. How Much Do Train Drivers Make an Year?

Train Drivers makes a minimum of $19,000 a year and a maximum of $79,500 a year.


Highest Salary Of Train Drivers In 2024

According to the websites on the internet that train drivers themselves provide information, there is a number on the highest salary of train drivers, but this could change depending on your experience, what you can offer, your relationship with the company, market situation, and so on.

According to some job ad websites, the highest salary of a train driver could go as high as around $240,000 annually.

Still, this amount is scarce among train drivers as it requires immense experience and good background.

Is Being A Train Driver Good Or Bad?

The rail sector has a lot to offer in terms of career opportunities, security, prospective pay, and longevity.

Many professionals in the rail sector have dedicated their lives to it for the past 30 to 40 years.

If you like riding trains, sitting on your chair for hours, looking at the tracks, and running a train with immense focus at the same time, being a train driver is something fun and enjoyable with good salaries.

However, being a train driver also comes with irregular hours, the need for a focus that can not miss anything, and other risks that could jeopardize a lot of people’s lives if not done correctly.

Pros and Cons of Being a Train Driver


  • Decent salary
  • No need of college degree
  • Get to meet people
  • Get to travel
  • Does not require physical labor


  • Stressful
  • Have to work on weekends
  • Have to be away from home

How To Become A Train Driver?

Here’s how you can become a Train Driver:

  • Train drivers in the United States must be 21 years old or older and have a high school diploma, according to the experts at
  • Train engineers might begin their careers by applying for entry-level roles at private railroad companies or railroad authorities, such as conductor, switch operator, etc., to gain first-hand experience in the industry and to make their way up.
  • In addition, you must pass medical checks and complete the required training courses.
  • Once you have completed your training now, you can become a Train driver.


How Many Hours Does Train Driver Work?

Train Drivers usually work 8-hour shifts, and freight drivers work 12-hour shifts. So in a week, they end up working for 35-40 hours.


What is the Starting Pay of Train Driver?

The starting pay of a Train Driver is $9.13 an hour or $1,583 a month. With more experience in this field, you can make a maximum of $6,625 a month.

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Train Driver Training Programs

The main railroad corporations offer federally certified training programs for new employees, but you can also enroll in a community college or university training program.

Students must finish classroom courses as well as many months of hands-on training.

They learn how to run the trains, use the equipment, and observe critical safety guidelines throughout this period.

Railroad engineers, according to experts, must get licensure and certification from the Federal Railroad Association after completing their schooling.

You need to get a vision and hearing test, a checkup, and a background check as part of the requirements.

In order to keep their licenses, train drivers must undergo regular medical exams and tests, as well as random drug and alcohol screens.


This profession is difficult for families, your body, dating, and children.

When you first start, you can’t plan trips, and you can’t consume alcohol except on days off (and even then, you have to be ready to go when you’re back on call).

To effectively manage your time, you must have concentration and discipline.

You’ll be alright if you can deal with unpredictability while still comprehending the job’s overall rewards.

This is not the work for you if you require the stability of a 9-5 schedule.

The railroad recruits a large number of personnel at once since two-thirds of them will resign.

They will lay people off without apologies if more people stay than they planned.

However, it pays well, more than average when we consider other employments in the USA. Choosing this job is totally up to your priorities, what you like, and other things.

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Is the gap in how much train drivers make with experience too much?

Yes, suppose you are a really experienced train driver with a quality background that could give a good level of service.

In that case, your salary will be much higher than an inexperienced train driver’s or higher than an average train driver’s salary.

How much do train drivers make when they are first starting off?

You start from the lowest of the salary bracket, as you can imagine, and work your up the ladder.

Do I have to worry about how much train drivers make if I want to have a family as a train driver?

If you are getting an average train driver salary, you might need to worry about that a little bit because an average train driver salary alone might not be enough to cover your family’s needs financially.

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