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Today’s freight rail employees are highly skilled professionals who are among the best-compensated workers in the nation. The industry pulls from a wide range of backgrounds — from high school graduates to those holding master’s degrees — to help safely transport the raw materials, products and finished goods that sustain the nation’s economy and people. Railroads provide the opportunity to build lifelong careers in fields such as engineering and dispatching to law enforcement, information technology and industrial development. And with a legacy of hiring America’s veterans, rail companies are military-friendly employers.
Railroad employees are part of a nationwide workforce. In 2015, freight railroads had more than 169,000 employees.
Railroad employees are well-compensated. In 2015, freight rail employee compensation, including benefits, averaged $121,000 per year. By contrast, the average full-time employee in the U.S. in 2015 was paid $73,3 00, including benefits.
The railroad industry is military-friendly. Nearly a quarter of current employees are veterans.
Railroad employees receive excellent retirement benefits. Railroad retirees are covered by the Railroad Retirement System instead of Social Security. On average, over 550,000 beneficiaries receive over $11 billion in benefits from Railroad Retirement annually.
Railroad employees have union representation. Approximately 84% of Class I rail employees and more than half of non-Class I rail employees are unionized. Rail employees are represented by one or more of a dozen different labor unions and the Railway Labor Act governs collective bargaining between freight railroads and their employees.
Learn more about railroad careers >
Faces of Freight Rail showcases the dedicated men and women who work behind the scenes to ensure freight rail continues to deliver for America. In 2015, freight railroads employed more than 169,000 Americans with an average compensation of $121,000. Rail industry employees are skilled, highly-trained and among the nation's highest paid workers. Spend some time getting to know the many hardworking men and women that are the Faces of Freight Rail.