Railroad Jobs in Ohio – Ultimate Guide

The state of Ohio is a potential railroader’s dream come true. So, if you’re looking for railroad jobs in Ohio, you’re in luck. The state houses three of seven major major Class I networks. These are CSX, Canadian Pacific, and Norfolk Southern.

These are your biggest bets for landing a good railroad job, read on.

ohio railroad

Apart from the big boys, Ohio also has two class II regionals. This includes the renowned Indiana and Ohio, and Wheeling and Lake Erie.

And finally, the state has more than a dozen class III shortlines under its roster. Therefore, you’ve got a good number of options to choose from. 

Amtrak also runs in the state. So, if you’re open to working a passenger railroad job, add it to your list of options.

Overall, Ohio is home to 5,000 miles of trackage, which is already a lot compared to other states in the country.

But, did you know that it was home to 9,000 miles of track at its pinnacle!? In the 1920s, Ohio was booming with railroads left and right.

Unfortunately, over 40% of these are now defunct and abandoned. This isn’t so much of a bad thing today, though. Almost all of the states experienced railroad abandonment during those years, too. 

Ohio has a really rich and long history. This made it one of the most important railroad crossroads. And today, the sector still maintains a significant industrial hub.

It also acts as a solid economic driver. Even more importantly, the railroad sector has historically provided so many employee advantages. And we’re here to help you get on board! 

In this post, we list down all the companies you can apply for in Ohio. We also do a quick brief on its economic importance.

Additionally, we’ve added in some must-read advice.

Let’s get started, shall we? 

railroad jobs in ohio

Ohio’s Railroads and Its Economic Impact 

Ohio has the fourth-longest operating rail network in the US, stretching 5,187 miles. The size of the state’s railroads is only behind Illinois and California.

But, unlike California, Ohio’s rails are much more condensed. A lot of businesses and enterprises play a big role in why it’s still alive today.

In fact, Ohio’s rails compete more intensively with trucks than in other states. 

There are also a lot of reasons why this is so. 

Railroads concentrate on protracted, high-volume sectors. Whereas trucks dominate short-distance, low-volume industries.

Compared to vehicles, rail transport is more cost-effective for big and long-distance commodities. There was a big jump in numbers from the years 2000 to 2017.

The increased distance traveled by train jumped from 843 to 1033 miles respectively. And in 2013, rail shipments of more than 60 carloads were up from 45 to 55%. 

A lot of industries in Ohio also heavily depend on rail. For instance, manufacturing employs 46% more people than it does elsewhere. And within this sector comes a lot more industries that depend on rail freight. These include: 

  • Steel Production
  • Chemical Production
  • Food and Beverage
  • Motor Vehicles

Ohio also comes in seventh for corn production and ninth for soybean production in the country.

Additionally, Ohio places eleventh in terms of the nation’s coal production. Apart from this, Ohio is also among the top states originating in tonnage of: 

  • Coal
  • Farm goods
  • Stone
  • Gravel
  • Intermodal transport

All in all, freight rail generates $2.8 billion a year for the state’s economy.

This is one of the reasons why it’s such a fulfilling career. You get to be a part of the state’s growing economy, something big!

That aside, it’s a timeless, steady, and relatively stable sector. But, before jumping into anything just yet, here are a few things you should know about the railroads in Ohio.

columbus ohio skyline

Working For The Railroad: Pros, Cons, and What To Expect 

Getting familiar with the inner workings of the train system where you want to work is essential. You need to know what you are getting into.

There are certain people who aren’t cut out for a career in railroading. Many people see railroading as an enjoyable and relaxing pastime in mainstream culture.

However, this is only relevant in particular circumstances. People’s perceptions of railroaders are frequently distorted, too. 

There are several physical and emotional challenges to working as a train worker. One of the main reasons is because of the long working hours.

Class I jobs may require employees to work 12-hour shifts. You might also be relocated to different posts if need be. This will have a profound effect on your lifestyle. It will mean a lot of time away from your loved ones as a consequence.

But, if you’re looking for a career that pays well, Class Is are your best bet. As a plus, they provide a broad variety of bonuses and retirement alternatives. It’s a trade-off that some consider worth the effort.

Working for class IIs or shortlines may be an option if you don’t want to be on call for long periods of time. However, their wages are lower than those of Class I workers.

Railroad workers in Ohio earn an average annual salary of $39,000. That calculates out to a rate of around $18 per hour.

However, several things contribute to this. A person’s level of education, experience, and skills all go into this category. After years of hard effort, it’s not unusual to earn six figures though.

Prospective railroaders often base their decisions on these considerations. And you have complete discretion over this. So, give it some thought. 

Now, let’s tackle all your options. 

ohio state house

Class I Railroad Jobs in Ohio

Canadian Pacific Railway

This class I railway is owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway Limited. Canadian Pacific operates a staggering 20,100 miles of trackage.

The network services seven Canadian provinces, and America. In Ohio, the company has intermodal services through the Ohio Valley.  Are you interested in joining the Canadian Pacific?

Learn more about their careers by clicking here. 

Norfolk Southern

The Norfolk Southern Railroad is the second-largest railroad in the Eastern United States. A whopping $11 billion in annual earnings puts it in a tie for fourth place overall.

This company has been around since the 1980s. It’s also a successful result of a series of acquisitions and mergers. And today, Norfolk Southern operates over 19,400 miles of trackage.

It also serves 22 states of America, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. 

Finally, the organization is well-known for its excellent methods of management and perks.

So, if you’d want to apply for a position with them, click here. 

Class II Regional Railroad Jobs in Ohio

Indiana and Ohio Railway

The Indiana and Ohio Railway (IORY) is a class II regional owned by G&W. Its routes cover parts of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

Moreover, they mainly haul lumber, metal, chemicals, and grain.

Learn more about them through G&W’s website. Click here. 

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway

This class II regional has been around since the 1870s. Back then, it was only built for servicing Lake Erie’s ports. But today, it offers freight services through Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Its full trackage totals 840 miles of trackage.

Click here to learn more.

parked railway freight cars in ohio

Class III Shortline, Terminal, and Switching Railroad Jobs in Ohio

Akron Barberton Cluster Railway

Also known as the ABC railway, this shortline commenced in 1994. It has a total of 73 miles of trackage serving Akron.

Learn more about their opportunities by clicking here. 

Ann Arbor Railroad

In the late nineteenth century, this shortline linked Toledo to Frankfort. It also sued to have train ferry services in Lake Michigan. However, after many historical events, the company went bankrupt in 1973.

From here, Michigan state acquired most of its tracks and Conrail also started operating them since then. Afterward, they were owned by Michigan Interstate Railway.

Currently, the 86-mile shortline is owned by Watco. And it only travels through Toledo and Ann Arbor.

Check out Watco’s website to learn more about them. Click here. 

Ashland Railway

The ASYR has its headquarters based in Mansfield. They currently run two separate lines. One going North from Mansfield and the other to Willard.

The shortline is also known for operating 27 hours daily. All in all, Ashland Railway operates roughly 60 miles of trackage.

Contact the shortline by clicking here. 

Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad

The class III shortline ACJR travels from Carson and Jefferson. Overall, it runs a total of 6 miles or 9.7 kilometers of trackage.

Moreover, they haul items mainly for injection molding. This includes fertilizer, paper, and plastic pellets.

Learn more about their opportunities through their website. Click here. 

Camp Chase Railway

The Camp Chase Railway or CAMY is a terminal and switching shortline. They run their tracks on the historic Camp Chase rails.

They also travel through the west of Columbus. All in all, the company runs 15 miles of track.

Learn more and contact them by clicking here. 

Central Railroad of Indiana

This is another G&W-owned shortline. The Central Railroad of Indiana mainly serves the southeastern division of Indiana. This includes Prescott, Waldron, Saint Pail, Adams, Greensburg, and Newpoint. However, its routes also stretch out until Cincinnati.

Most of their haul consists of chemicals, grains, steel, and automobiles.

Overall, they operate 96 miles of trackage. Click here to learn more. 

Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad

Yet another G&W-owned shortline is the CFE. This is a relatively long shortline, with 273 miles of trackage. It mainly services Tolleston and Crestline.

Additionally, its tracks run through the old Fort Wayne Line.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Cleveland Commercial Railroad Company

This is a relatively new shortline, founded only in 2004. It primarily services Cleveland, hence its name. It runs industrial switching through the Port of Cleveland.

Overall, it runs a total of 35 miles of trackage. In 2019, OmniTrax announced that they will be acquiring this shortline. 

Columbus & Ohio River Rail Road

Another shortline under G&W’s roster is the Columbus and Ohio River Rail. It’s also among the state’s bigger shortlines, running 250 miles of trackage.

It travels and serves Mingo Junction. It also does interchanges with CSX and Norfolk Southern here.

Additionally, this shortline links Ohio Central at Coshocton and Zanesville.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Flats Industrial Railroad

This class III shortline services Cleveland, Ohio, and Cuyahoga County. It provinces industrial switching services with CSX and NS. It’s a pretty small railroad, covering only 4 miles of trackage. 

Indiana Eastern Railroad

The IERR runs through one of Chesapeake and Ohio Railway’s lines. It travels through Richmond and Fernland under CSX.

It’s also a relatively new and modern railroad, beginning only in 2005. Overall, this shortline operates 43 miles of trackage.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Indiana Northeastern Railroad

This freight shortline totals 130 miles of trackage. The Indiana Northeastern services Michigan, the northeastern parts of Indiana, and Ohio.

It commenced in 1992 and has always been privately owned since then. This shortline mainly hauls corn, wheat, flour, and soybeans.

Learn more about the company by clicking here. 

railway tracks close up in ohio

Lake Terminal Railroad

This is a Transtar-owned shortline doing switching services. It mainly offers these services to businesses and enterprises located in Lorain.

Learn more about their opportunities by clicking here. 

Mahoning Valley Railway

The Mahoning Valley is a G&W-owned class III shortline. It also runs very short, with 6 miles of track. This railway travels through Youngstown.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railroad (or Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railroad)

This shortline totals 58 miles of trackage. It operates through Woodburn and Napoleon. Way back, this shortline used to stretch all the way to Toledo.

However, currently, these tracks are now rail trails. They also offer their railcar storage services in Ohio.

Contact the company by clicking here. 

Passenger Railroad Jobs in Ohio

Amtrak has a presence in Ohio, so if you’re looking to go down the passenger railroad path contact Amtrak.

Start Your Railroad Career With Any Of These Railroad Jobs in Ohio!

There you have it. Railroad jobs in Ohio are particularly easier to come by compared to other states. The state houses two major Class Is. With these alone, you have plenty of choices already.

Apart from that, there are shortlines, regionals, and Amtrack too. If you’re eyeing some companies, list them down. 

Keep in mind that finding a job will not always be a simple task. So, have some patience. There are occasions when you may have to wait for a response from the company. But don’t give up, and keep your spirits up.

Are you looking for additional choices? We’re here to assist with that, too. We have a list of railroad jobs per state Click here.  Check out our blog entries if you’d want to learn more about the business, too. 

This concludes our post on railroad jobs in Ohio.

We wish you all the best in your job search and career!