What Railroad is Best to Work for?

When you work for an excellent railroad company, you should have many options for your career. You choose to be successful working for a company that values its employees and uses its resources to help people in need.

Union Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern are all great railroad companies to work for. They treat every employee like family. Union Pacific, in particular, has some great benefits. The variety of jobs available at CSX is long and diverse.

It is also good to work for a railroad that has a rich history. The above three railroads all have deep roots in the industrial revolution. To discover more regarding the best railroads to work for, read the article below.

railroad conductor

What Are the Best Railroads to Work for?

As a whole, the list of the best is quite impressive and long; despite this list, there are three at the beginning that are worth investigating.

While there are many railroads, only a few are at the top of the heap. The best would be the employer who cares for their employees’ well-being, safety, and success. The employee and their family are considered one, and many benefits are offered.

The top three railroads to work for include Union Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. These railroads all have an impeccable reputation and competent, well-trained employees. The following explains why you should work at one of these railroads.

Why is Union Pacific One of the Best?

Union Pacific has a rich history of caring for its employees and reaching out to the community. They are interested in compensating for their employee’s finances and their health, well-being, and families.

The following includes some incredible things about Union Pacific and the many reasons you would want to work there.

History Behind Union Pacific

The Union Pacific was the original transcontinental railroad. The railroad was a continuous one that would span the West with rails that stretched from Omaha to Sacramento.

Abraham Lincoln was credited with creating Union Pacific in 1862. He aimed to unite the country with common goals, such as travel and trade, and make life easier for settlers trying to come in. The work was between two companies: Union Pacific and Central Pacific.

It was open for traffic in 1869. The presidents of both the Union and the Central Pacific railroads came together in Utah to drive the ceremonial golden spike into the rail line that coupled the two railroads.

The railroad connection started a revolution in the economy of the American West. It would join two different countries, California and back East.

Suddenly travel became far more convenient, as journeys that used to take weeks or months now only took days to complete. The next few years passed, and they demonstrated growth and positive change for this country.

This history is a little background on how Union Pacific came to be. The Union Pacific merged several times and eventually became the biggest franchise in North America.

The Benefits of Being an Employee

If you are a non-management employee, you will belong to a union. You will have the following health benefits:

  • Life and disability insurance
  • Medical and prescription insurance
  • Vision and dental insurance

These employee benefits are determined through agreements between the union and management.

locomotive conductor jobs
Thomas Eckhardt

What About Retirement and Financial Planning?

Railroad retirement is offered to employees. It is similar to social security. The two systems are intricately connected in the following ways:

  • Earnings credits
  • Benefit payments
  • Taxes

The 401 K Comprehensive plan helps you save for your retirement. It comes with investment options and different funds to choose from. Employees are qualified to participate one year after service.

What About Childcare and Support Services?

Sometimes employees need help at home to compensate for the railroad’s often demanding schedules. Railroads operate all day and all night, and the job can be taxing.

Bright Horizons Care Advantage is a great resource that provides a wide array of services to help you and your family. The following include Union Pacific’s supportive services:

  • Babysitters and nannies
  • Care for the elderly
  • Childcare
  • Housekeeping
  • Pet care
  • Tutoring and help with schoolwork

Union Pacific has a unique service for pumping and delivering breast milk for traveling mothers. It is called Milk Stork, which is the first and only assistance program of its kind.

intermodal trains
Bill Hooper

Is There a Wellness Program?

There is a system health facility program, and Union Pacific works with different fitness centers all over the country. The company fosters its employees and their families to take care of their health. Healthy employees tend to be better employees.

Fitness centers and gyms are picked because they are close to work locations with enough employees to justify the location. Employees who work in Union Pacific Center can use the Omaha Health and Fitness Center.

What Other Benefits Are Included?

Union Pacific has voluntary benefits that:

  • Extend accessible premium payment options
  • Leverage group buying, which provides the power to deliver discounted pricing
  • Streamlines the employee spending and enrollment experience

Some of the voluntary benefits include:

  • Automobile insurance
  • Financial wellness materials
  • Home/renters insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Protection from identity theft

There is also an educational assistance program provided as a supportive service to employees through the University of Nebraska, where you can take online or classroom lessons at the university.

Union Pacific pays the university directly, so you do not need to pay a dime. You have the chance to earn a degree or take a class for professional growth and development.

Employee Clubs

The Union Pacific clubs have a history of ensuring their employees engage in helping their community and fellow employees. The first club came to fruition in 1924. There are social events for the company, but there is also a vast array of diverse types of community service.

These clubs include:

  • Cleanup and collection for disaster relief
  • Donating goods to the Salvation Army
  • Driving meals on wheels
  • Cleanup and restoration of parks and historical sites

Employee club members are also dedicated to the Operation Lifesaver program. This program is a nationwide effort to decrease fatalities at railroad crossings. This program originated in 1972 by Union Pacific employees.

Today it is a national program that operates in most states. The program has helped to decrease the incidences of railroad crossing accidents.

Charitable Contributions

Many clubs contribute money to worthy causes, such as:

  • City parks
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Museums

The groups also donate to worthy causes, such as charities that help children with diseases and battered wives and children. They also provide scholarships and give to educational programs because they want to give a good education which is always needed. To raise funds for the contributions, they have bake sales and dances because everyone loves to dance, raffles, and wine and cheese-tasting socials.

These causes are significant to Union Pacific. It is a company that wants to do good for its employees and its community, and fellow man. The Union Pacific Friend to Friend Network is a non-profit organization that helps employees and their families in times of need. Many railroad families have benefitted from the help of Union Pacific when there have been natural disasters and devastating circumstances.

Why Should You Work at Union Pacific?

There is an abundance of good reasons to work at Union Pacific. It is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and become a better employee and a better person for your fellow employees and the community. The following include some of the significant advantages of working for Union Pacific.

  • Great Benefits
  • Good people
  • Locations
  • Equal opportunity employer
  • Harassment policy
  • Awards

Union Pacific has been in business for well over a century. They know how to treat employees and are committed to safety and diversity.

locomotive engineer
Jeff Hampton

Why is CSX One of the Best?

This railroad company has everything from entry-level training programs to executive management jobs, with many opportunities available for this company. CSX was the first common carrier, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

History Behind CSX

The B&O railroad started as a horse and buggy service. Between 1830 ad 1860, transportation changed forever when the first steam locomotive was built. Railroads played an integral role in shipping supplies. Regular passenger train service began in Ohio.

By the end of the 1800s, there were many new and exciting inventions for the railroad industry. The electric locomotive and a new type of air brake allowed trains to pull more than one hundred cars. The railroad industry continued to evolve in the 1900s.

In 1927, the American rail turned one hundred years old, and the B&O commemorated its centennial through the Fair of the Iron Horse in Baltimore. Between 1940 and 1970, B&O and C&O combined to create a powerful rail force.

In 1980, the Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries came together and created CSX. President Carter signed the Staggers Rail Act, allowing railroads to compete without government regulation.

The railroads became safer to work for and safer for everyone in general. Things began to advance in a positive direction in the early 2000s when CSX became the first transportation corporation to align itself with the U. S. EPA Climate Leaders Program.

Todd and Jack Humphrey

Selection of Positions Available

There are a variety of job opportunities offered at CSX. There is something for everyone interested in being involved in the railroad industry. Some of the different jobs available at CSX include:

  • Carman – builds, inspects, and repairs railroad cars
  • Conductors – are responsible for the train crews, the train, and the construction of the train to deliver consumer goods
  • Diesel mechanics – inspect, service, and repair diesel locomotives
  • Engineers – operate the locomotives that provide for the customers
  • Heavy equipment operators – will use bobcats, bulldozers, and excavators
  • Intermodal service workers – operate, handle, and tie-down equipment and inspect gates
  • Road electricians – inspect, build, preserve and repair electrical equipment on the railroad
  • Signal workers – install, maintain, and repair railroad communication signals
  • Track workers install, repair, and repair train tracks
  • Utility workers – perform different jobs, which include cleaning and servicing locomotives
  • Welders – repair train tracks and railcars employing welding equipment
  • Sheet metal workers – work in passenger coaches, pipe fit shops, yards, and buildings
  • Pier technicians – operate loading and unloading equipment at the coal and ore piers and execute mechanical and electrical repairs
  • Utility workers – service and clean up locomotives and deliver supplies between work and storage sites
  • Toledo dock electrician – performs electrical and mechanical installation and repairs

There are also some tremendous corporate and management opportunities like the director of sales and senior account manager. You can also work in the legal or public affairs department or the technology branch of CSX.

Charities and Volunteer Service

Employees at CSX are encouraged to give their time to charities they deem worthy. CSX employees will do everything from:

  • teaching children to read
  • overhauling local parks
  • refurbishing community centers

The following explains how CSX cares.

Dollars for Doers

Through the CSX Foundation, personnel is recognized for the positive difference they make in their community.

When a CSX employee volunteers a minimum of 15 hours with a qualifying 501 C3 organization, the CSX Foundation will contribute $10 for every hour given, up to 40 hours, to the organization of the employee’s choosing.

Matching Donations

CSX will match, dollar for dollar, up to a $1,000 contribution a year made by a CSX worker to the federally registered charitable foundation of their choice. Donations can also be more than one charity at a time.


The internship programs allow students to learn about CSX and its impact on the American economy. Internships are offered within the different departments of the corporation. Some of these include:

  • Controllers group
  • Corporate citizenship
  • Corporate communications
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Intermodal terminals
  • Labor relations
  • Network modeling
  • Operations
  • Procurement and supply chain
  • Properties group
  • Public affairs and legal team
  • Sales and marketing

The internships are primarily available during the summer and are based in Jacksonville, Florida, for students pursuing a degree.

Why Should You Work At CSX?

There are many reasons you should work at CSX. It is a corporation that supports its employees and offers excellent career opportunities. The following are reasons that you may want to consider working for them:

  • There are a lot of different jobs to choose from, and CSX offers numerous opportunities to flourish in the railroad industry
  • The corporation has many scholarships to choose from that will help you understand CSX and how the railroad operates
  • There are opportunities to volunteer for charitable organizations and be recognized as someone who made a difference in their community
  • CSX has a rich history as one of the significant railroad innovators and contributes to America’s technological and industrial history.

CSX employees each play an essential role in the success of the American economy and the railroad industry. CSX is proud to have diligent and capable trained employees.

Why is Norfolk Southern One of the Best?

Norfolk Southern is a major contender in the railroad industry. Many employment opportunities are available for those interested in becoming involved with this fantastic company. The following are some terrific reasons why you should work at Norfolk Southern:

History of Norfolk Southern

In 1827, the earliest Norfolk Southern predecessor-chartered South Carolina Canal and Railroad. In 1830, Norfolk Southern introduced its first locomotive into the collective on Christmas day. Also, in 1830, Norfolk Southern purchased Brosnan pine forest for locomotive supply.

In 1854, the railway linked East to Midwest through Horseshoe Curve, which permitted modern trains to climb over the Allegheny mountains. In 1883, the world’s lengthiest railroad bridge opened in Louisiana. The first diesel-electric locomotive was employed as a switcher in 1925.

railroad bridge
Bill Hooper

In 1953, Norfolk Southern became the first central railroad to complete fleet dieselization. In 1974, the first technical training center opened, which helped prepare students for a career in railroad crafts in shorter phases than conventional apprenticeships.

Norfolk Southern was formed by the partnership between Norfolk and Southern railways. In 1984, Norfolk Southern began replacing cabooses with telemetry devices. The company won twenty-three gold awards.

In 2007, Norfolk launched a program that taught about the safety protocol of trains. 2022 is the 40th anniversary of the modern-day Norfolk Southern. There is also the promise of more to come.

In 2030, the corporation plans to eliminate 1.3 million extended hauling carriers from roadways and 1.9 million tons of CO2 production.

Career Opportunities

There are many career options at Norfolk Southern. The different jobs are skill and labor-intensive.


Conductors make sure that the freight trains are safely moving and operating. The conductor has the following job responsibilities:

  • Coupling railcars to construct trains
  • Delivering railcars to regional customers
  • Transporting trains for lengthy distances

Conductors operate the locomotives when they are promoted to locomotive engineers.

Signal Maintainers

Signal maintainers are crucial to the safe passage of trains, and this job requires knowledge of electrical systems. Signal maintainers will construct, test, and maintain crossing signals. The signal maintainer will perform many jobs involving the security of these crossing signals.

Track Laborers

Some of the job functions of the track laborer include:

  • Inspecting their territory
  • Preserving switches
  • Installing new rail

This job involves extensive rail work and labor. You can work locally or as part of a traveling workgroup.


Electricians perform diagnostic or repair work on diesel-electric locomotives. You will use electrical schematic drawings to repair and alter electrical circuits. They often install new equipment on a locomotive or solve electrical issues.

Mechanical Laborers

Mechanical laborers perform everyday maintenance and service of locomotives and facilities. Mechanical laborers who work in the shop will inspect, operate, and refuel locomotives. They prepare locomotives for operation.

Freight Car Repairers

Employees who work as freight car repairers will safeguard the railcars through the consistent inspection and maintenance of the railcars. They inspect and test railcars. They will also often work on fixing equipment in the repair shop.

Train Dispatchers

These workers conduct the safe movement of trains throughout their specific territory. They use radio communication and technology to direct the movement of trains safely.

Diesel Mechanics

Mechanics work with and repair diesel-electric locomotive mechanical systems involving diesel engines, air brakes, and running gear. Workers who have been involved in equipment maintenance would be suitable for this position. It is a mechanically minded job.

Charity and Volunteer Work

The Thoroughbred Volunteers, Norfolk Southern’s formal volunteer program, allows its employees to participate in activities that give back to the community. Thoroughbred volunteers have done significant work that serves people or charities in need.

Norfolk Southern employees have invested their time volunteering to do excellent work for:

  • Churches
  • Civic clubs
  • Toys for tots
  • Food banks

A volunteer day is an event at Norfolk Southern. Norfolk Southern will pick a charity to donate food to and make it a half a day food packing event.

Energy and Fuel Efficiency

At its Juniata Locomotive Shop, Norfolk Southern initiated an energy conservation project, illustrating its commitment to better operating practices and conserving energy. The project involves replacing the facilities’ heating and power systems.

21st-century technologies have been installed. In 2015, for example, Norfolk Southern replaced three 1950s coal fire burners with more energy-efficient natural gas heaters

They produce enough electricity to supply the complex’s base power load, decreasing the regional utilities’ power grid dependence. The purpose of the project is to limit Norfolk Southern’s environmental impact. This project accomplishes:

  • Decreased emissions from coal
  • Conserves water

Norfolk Southern also has a goal of decreasing fuel utilization. They want to enhance the overall locomotive fuel economy by operating longer trains, requiring fewer locomotives, and reducing fuel use.

Norfolk Southern wants to decrease carbon emissions. They also want to install Trip Optimizers on older GE locomotive versions that receive engine upgrades through their remodel program.

Norfolk Southern plans to acquire new locomotives and transform DC traction motor locomotives into more efficient AC engines, reducing fuel consumption.

Todd and Jack Humphrey

Why Should You Work for Norfolk Southern?

Norfolk Southern takes the happiness and safety of its employees seriously. There are many reasons you may want to consider working for Norfolk Southern.

  • The company has been awarded numerous safety recognitions
  • There are various jobs available within the company
  • They are performance-driven and care about their customers
  • Their elevated level of teamwork is of top priority

Employees at Norfolk Southern do what it takes to achieve goals. They are always new and fresh ideas being worked on, as Norfolk Southern has big plans for its future.


Working for a railroad can be a fun and rewarding experience. Union Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern are all formidable railroad companies that are good to work for.


Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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