Railroad Jobs in Idaho – The Ultimate Guide

If you’re looking for railroad jobs in Idaho, you’re in luck. Class I railroads cover more than 60% of the rail lines in the gem state. Not only that, but they also house a remarkable number of regional and shortlines. 

Today, we’ll be going in-depth on all the opportunities you can grab in the state. We’ll also tackle the economy of Idaho as well as its railroad history. Let’s get started!

The Idaho Economy and Employment 

Despite COVID-19 impacts, Idaho’s economy showcased good signs of revival. In terms of economic growth, Idaho has been outpacing the rest of the nation. For instance, unemployment dropped from 11% in April 2021 to 4% by December 2021.

According to IDOL, annualized employment increased by almost 2% in March 2020. It’s one of the states in America that experiences yearly job growth.

However, Idaho was also the earliest state to regain pre-pandemic employment levels.

The economy also flourished due to the expansion of significant firms. The GDP will cultivate as long as companies regard Idaho as an attractive location.

Overall, it’s looking pretty good for Idaho.

Another treasure in the gem state we’re about to unravel is the different railroads in Idaho.

railroad jobs in idaho

Railroads in Idaho

Roughly more than a hundred years after Idaho’s first railroad was established, the state’s economy is still heavily dependent on railways. They are the rope that links the people and places of Idaho to the rest of the world.

The railroads in Idaho have increased their share of the overall freight market. Railroads accounted for 25% of Idaho’s shipments in 1992. Moreover, it transported 46% of all goods in 2012. Because of this, railway miles from Idaho have quadrupled since 1997.

As a result, employment ramped up quickly. As per the American Railroad Association, rail networks hired more than a thousand people throughout Idaho in 2014.

And as of 2019, more than a thousand Idaho citizens work for BNSF railway alone. 

Railway transportation plays a huge part in contributing to the state’s economy. The sector creates employment and facilitates the movement of commodities between industries. 

That said, you won’t fall short of choices for railroad jobs in Idaho. 

train on the railway station

Benefits of Railroad Jobs in Idaho

Pursing your career in the railroad industry offers a slew of rewarding benefits such as: 

  • Unbeatable chance to explore and see the nation up and personal
  • Minimum academic requirements in most states are often a high school certificate or GED
  • Competitive pay that rises in line with one’s level of knowledge and expertise
  • Exceptional benefits and pension plans

As of May 2022, the average compensation for a Railroad Worker in Idaho is $45,800. The range is typically $41,000 to $50,000. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to note that salary estimations vary greatly. 

These vary in location and other significant aspects. This includes training and licenses, extra qualifications, and years of service. 

All jobs have downsides, but the positives far outnumber the negative ones for railroad workers. Well, in my opinion.

If you put in the effort and remain loyal to the organization, you will enjoy a secure retirement.

Having a thorough grasp of how the whole railway system works is essential for every aspiring railroad employee.

It’s important to know that there are numerous types of railroads. Moreover, no class is better than the others. They just vary in demands and duties

So, you should keep this in mind if you’re new to the railroad industry. 

Without further ado, here are Idaho’s different classes and railroad jobs. 

railway station in idaho

Class I Railroad Jobs in Idaho

The operational freight revenue of railroads in this classification should be $440 million or more. In the United States, 70% of trains run on lines owned and operated by Class I railroads. This makes them the largest employer in rail transport in the country.

One thing you need to know about working for class Is their schedule. You will most likely work for 12 hours a day. Moreover, the company you work for will decide on which post or location you’ll work for. So, you might spend more time away from home. 

Here are the Class I railroad companies in Idaho you can apply for: 


Originally known as The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, it operates short, and long-distance trains in over 500 locations. 

They operate trains in more than 40 states and some Canadian provinces. It has a daily capacity of about 300 trains and a network length of approximately 21,400. 

More than half of this track belongs to Amtrak. The company pays several private firms called “host railways” to utilize the remainder of the network.

This company puts high regard on the employee experience. Amtrack holds an incredible employee program that focuses on financial and personal growth. Here are some of their benefits:

  • Rail travel rights for the pass holder. Traveling on Amtrak is free for you and your qualified family members. Personal travel credentials allow employees to bring a visitor along for the ride.
  • Workers who have served for ten years are eligible for a loyalty award to travel with friends and family on any Amtrak train.
  • PTO
  • Insurance for health care, optical, and dental needs
  • Educational support

Click here to view all jobs at Amtrack. 

BNSF Railway

The BNSF Railway is a major North American rail freight company with a long history of achievements. It transports freight through roughly 30 American states and three Canadian provinces on a network of about 32,500 miles.

The corporation is an entirely subsidiary company of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. It also owns around 8,000 trains. Moreover, they also have modal stations in the industrial and agricultural sectors. 

They are also a vital link to the world market. Over 160 years, BNSF served a critical role in the growth and stability of the United States economy.

Regarding employee benefits, they offer more than just insurance plans. Click here to view their benefits

BNSF offers career opportunities from admin to train crew.

Start your railroad journey with BNSF by clicking here. 

Union Pacific

The Union Pacific was the first railroad to run throughout the United States. 

The railroad covered the whole West. It runs a single line stretching from Omaha to Sacramento. Due to this, long-distance trips that formerly took weeks or months were reduced to days or weeks. 

From there, it was history. 

A series of mergers led to the Union Pacific being the most influential North American railroad franchise by far.

Employees who are not in managerial positions are more likely to be union members. Benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Medical and pharmaceutical insurance
  • Dental and vision insurance

You might also receive a railroad retirement plan. This includes taxes, credits, and benefit payments. 

There are also much more benefits. These include child support services, educational scholarships, employment clubs, etc. 

Are you interested in working for Union Pacific? Do a quick job search by clicking here. 

moving train in idaho

Regional and Shortline Railroad Jobs in Idaho

If you’re not keen on working long shifts, aim for regional railroad jobs in Idaho. Some schedules are more forgiving and set. If you’re not keen on working long shifts, aim for regional railroad jobs in Idaho. Some schedules are more forgiving and set. 

The operational freight income of a class II railroad ranges from 35 to 400 million dollars. In addition, these businesses only operate in some regions as opposed to class I railroads.

On the other hand, shortline railroads earn about 35 million dollars in yearly operational freight income. Importantly, this country’s transportation system would not function as effectively without the shortline railways.

Bountiful Grain & Craig Mountain Railroad

Railroad Materials Salvage presently owns this short line. Camas Prairie RailNet formerly operated it in 1998. Around Spalding to Cottonwood, it also runs the 52-mile historic Camas Prairie Railroad. 

As of this time of writing, there are no present company contact details. 

Great Northwest Railroad

As of 2004, this Watco business manages more than 70 miles of the Camas Prairie Railroad. It runs through Idaho, Washington, and Riparia. There is a wide variety of cargo moving along its path. This includes forestry, industrial goods, farm items, scrap, etc. 

Learn more by clicking here. 

Boise Valley Railroad

Founded in November 2009, this shortline is another member of the renowned Watco network. The Boise cut-off and the wilder are two sections of the 36-mile operating road. 

Learn more by clicking here. 

Pend Oreille Valley Railroad

Port of Pend Oreille owns this shortline railway. They are in charge of the Metaline Falls Branch, which runs from Metaline Falls up to Washington.

BNSF trackage is also leased to it at present. If you’re interested in applying for any of the available positions, you can do so by visiting the company’s website.

Learn more by clicking here. 

Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad

This is another Watco property in southeast Washington. It manages more than 200 miles of unconnected lines. This network also serves West Idaho and northern Oregon. 

Wheat, legumes, and barley are the primary commodities transported by Watco on this line.

Learn more by clicking here. 

Spokane, Spangle & Palouse Railway 

In the region south of Spokane, Washington, there is a privately-owned shortline railway called the SS&P. There is a little portion that extends to Moscow, Idaho, and Harvard, Idaho. They mainly transport grain, fertilizer, and other goods. 

You may check out the company’s website for information on possible career opportunities.

railway station with traffic light

The Bottomline: Railroad Jobs in Idaho

So, that concludes our list! As you can see, there are plenty of railroad jobs in Idaho waiting for you. 

Plus, a career in the railway industry is incredibly rewarding. Not only will you get career advancement, but you’ll also receive plenty of benefits and have great stories to tell!

On the other hand, you can also check out our railroad jobs in each state if you’re still expanding your options. 

Best of luck on your job search!