hourly pay for Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators
do Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators make a lot of money

Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators

Other names for this job might include Air Brake Operator, Air Hose Coupler, Brake Holder, Brake Rider, Brakeman, Car Coupler, Car Hopper, Car Rider, Car Runner, Car Shifter

  • $55320
  • 61%
    Job satisfaction
  • Easy
    Becoming one
  • Bad
    Job growth
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How Much Do Railroad Operators Make In 2018

In this salary guide, you will find out how much do Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators make.

After reading this, you will be able to make a decision if working as a Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operator will suit your financial goals (e.g: buying a home, BMW or just your target salary goal).

Average salary

Annual salary
$55320 per year
Hourly wage
$26.600 per hour

One of the most popular questions we get from our readers here at OwlGuru is how much do Railroad Operators make per year and what is their hourly wage.

According to BLS, the average annual salary of Railroad Operators is $55320. Their salary can also be as low as $35150 if you’re still a newbie with no experience to over $76110 if you have a ton of experience under your belt.

The typical hourly pay is $26.600 and can range from $16.900 to $36.590 which also depends if you’re a newbie or a professional.

Just like any other job, the salary of A Railroad Operator will vary based on your education and experience level.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.
Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of A Railroad Operator to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank.

This compares the salary of all careers and we give them a rank of A, B, C or D depending on how high or low is their average salary.

After comparing how much do Railroad Operators make with other careers, they have a salary rank of C.

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Salary range

Highest (Top 10%)$36.590$76110
Senior (Top 25%)$31.460$65440
Middle (Mid 50%)$27.200$56570
Junior (Bottom 25%)$21.660$45050
No experience (Bottom 10%)$16.900$35150

Entry-level Railroad Operators who starts out at $45050 can expect to make $56570 after 3-5 years of experience in the field.

The bottom 10% makes less than $16.900 per hour while the top 10% makes over $36.590 per hour.

While the median wage is $56570 per annum or $27.200 per hour.

Depending on who you work for, you might also get overtime pay.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.

Highest paying industries

Industry nameHourly wageAnnual salary
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals40.6184460
Local government, including schools and hospitals40.6184460
Federal, State, and Local Government36.1575190
Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service36.1575190
Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service35.9174700
Rail Transportation25.6853420
Wholesale Trade25.1852380
All industries25.1452280
Transportation and Warehousing25.0652110
All industries, private ownership only25.0452090
Federal Executive Branch24.2550440
Primary Metal Manufacturing23.9549810
Support Activities for Transportation16.8435030
Support Activities for Rail Transportation16.8435030

Not all industries pay the same for Railroad Brake, Signal and Switch Operators.

One of the easiest way to increase your salary is to change industries and find a higher paying one.

Highest paying states


Another simple way to boost your pay as A Railroad Operator is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like NY doesn’t mean you will make more overall. This is because the expenses at NY may be 2x higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to the BLS, the highest paid / most successful Railroad Operators are in the states of NY, MA, GA, MN and WI. The average salary in NY is $70160.

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Rank: D
Salary: $55820

They 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.
Rank: D
Salary: $44810

They drive switching or other locomotive or dinkey engines within railroad yard, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location.
Rank: C
Salary: $57000

They drive electric, diesel-electric, steam, or gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport passengers or freight. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and railroad rules and regulations.
Rank: C+
Salary: $51540

They operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. May also perform similar services in mining exploration operations. Includes fishing-tool technicians.
Rank: C
Salary: $50740

They lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. Includes ballast cleaning machine operators and railroad bed tamping machine operators.

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