Railroad Jobs in Pennsylvania – Ultimate Guide

You’re in great, great luck if you’re looking for railroad jobs in Pennsylvania. The state perhaps holds the broadest variety of rail infrastructure in the country!

railroad jobs in pennsylvania

It is also among the highest in terms of rail miles. 

Pennsylvania is home to two major Class I railroads. These are Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. 

Then, it houses five class II regionals. This includes the Buffalo and Pittsburgh, Reading Blue Mountain and Northern, Wheeling and Lake Eerie, New York, Susquehanna, and Western Railway. 

And finally, Pennsylvania has countless class III shortlines. More than two dozen shortlines thrive in the state! 

So, consider yourself very fortunate if you want to be a Pennsylvanian railroader. You’ve got a ton of companies to choose from. Plus, it’s one of the most historical railroad states. It was once a strong symbol of the state.

Its rich history spans from its corporate roots to the many industries it served. In fact, the state had a whopping 28,000 miles of track at its pinnacle!

Additionally, some of the most well-known networks in history pegged their roots here. The great Pennsylvania Railroad is one example of this.

In essence, the scale of Pennsylvania’s rails is too extensive to cover in this post. But, its legacy lives on up until this day.

The state’s rails serve as an overall economic driver. And it’s a great location to kickstart your railroading career.

We’re here to help you out with that. We know how challenging it is to go job hunting. So, we’ve gathered everything you need in one palace.

In this post, we’ve included all the railroad companies you can apply for in Pennsylvania. Prior to that, we discuss the economic significance of the state’s rails.

And finally, we provide some helpful advice for new railroaders.

Let’s begin!

railroad tracks and camera

The Economic Impact Of The Railroads in Pennsylvania 

As mentioned, Pennsylvania holds one of the biggest rail miles in the country. All in all, the state has more than 5,000 miles of track. So, it’s not surprising how much it can contribute to the economy. It supports the state in many economical ways such as: 


The state’s extensive rail network can employ a great number of people. In 2002, there were more than 7,500 railroad employees in Pennsylvania.

Additionally, the sector also offers highly competitive and beneficial employment. In fact, railroad employees earned 50% more than an average Pennsylvanian employee.

Click here to view the latest salary of a railroad conductor.

Supports Pennsylvania Businesses 

The Pennsylvania rail offers local businesses to tap a wider market. Their goods can reach up to Canada and Mexico. And in 2005, railroads acquired nearly 600 million products yearly from Pennsylvania businesses. 

lehigh valley pennsylvania

Productive Shipment 

Rail can haul more products than other modes of transportation. In 2005, rail shipment cost six cents less every ton-mile than vans or trucks.

This means that a 100-unit train can save more than 70 thousand dollars in shipping costs. 

Rail shipments from Pennsylvania to other states also outweigh intrastate transportation. This makes the trail consequently vital for shippers that want to service further markets. 

As of 2019, Pennsylvania’s most hauled goods are:

  • Intermodal 
  • Petroleum
  • Stone, gravel, and sand
  • Metal goods

Reduces Traffic Congestion and Environmentally-Harming Gasses 

Railways are among the most efficient sources of transportation. Rail transportation generates up to five times less carbon dioxide emissions per passenger-kilometer.

Shipping through rail removed over a million truckloads from the Pennsylvania roads. 

A single 400-ton carrying train can save up to 3,600 dollars in travel time congestion. Moreover, it helps the state save over 3,000 dollars in pavement maintenance costs. 

Overall, railroads have one very great advantage: scale. It offers several unique opportunities and benefits that other modes do not.

And as a railroader, you get to be a part of this incredible economic-driving sector. You earn a truly good amount while doing so, too. 

You’ve likely heard great things about being a railroader. This is perhaps why you’re interested in the sector. This includes excellent compensation, perks, and working landscape views. 

These are certainly true. But, you should also know about the other side of railroading.

It’s an industry that’s not for the faint of heart. So, if you’re a new prospecting railroader, read our tips below. 

parked train with equipment

Working For The Railroad in Pennsylvania: Things To Consider 

The first thing to note is that it may be a physically and mentally demanding profession. Most Class I crews and maintenance employees work 12-hour shifts.

You can also be called into work at any time of the day, even on weekends and holidays. 

Some companies also assign you to different posts and locations. And because of this, you’ll be spending a lot of time in hotels and on the road.

It will fundamentally become your new lifestyle, therefore, expect to be away from family a lot. 

BUT, Class I employees enjoy some of the highest wages in the industry.

In addition, Class I companies offer a variety of additional perks. So, putting up the effort and sacrifice might be well worth it. 

Job opportunities on shortlines or in regions provide better stability in terms of working hours. However, wages do not match up to those of Class Is. 

A railroader in Pennsylvania can earn an average of $42,900 per year.  However, this depends on a lot of factors, especially skills and experience. 

Moreover, you can earn even more after a few years of working. In fact, it’s very common to hit the six-figure range down the line.

Click here to get an idea of the highest-paying railroad jobs. 

You should also look into internships if you’re a college student with railroad ambitions. 

For instance, Class Is Like CSX conducts summer programs. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the railroad.

As a bonus, you also gain experience to land a job faster after you graduate. 

These are usually the “deal-breakers” when it comes to railroading. Some back out after learning about the long hours. In the end, it’s up to you to weigh out the factors. 

Now, let’s take a look at your choices. 

aerial view of pittsburgh pennsylvania

Class I Railroad Jobs in Pennsylvania

CSX Transportation

This class I system consists of a staggering 21,000 miles of trackage. CSX Transportation is the third most profitable Class I company. As of March 2022, the company’s revenue surpassed $13 billion. 

The business was founded in the 1820s. Presently, it serves over 20 states, including the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. 

Click here to learn more about the company and its workforce.

Norfolk Southern

This network is one of the most notable Class I railways in North America. They are renowned for carrying coal and industrial goods. Additionally, it has an extensive intermodal infrastructure. 

The organization runs over 20,000 miles of track in total. Furthermore, it is wholly controlled by Norfolk Southern Corporation. 

You may see their available positions by visiting their website. Click here. 

Class II Regional Railroad Jobs in Pennsylvania 

Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad

The Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad or BPRR operates in Pennsylvania and New York. Their routes travel through Buffalo and Eidenau. These locations also link them to the city center through Allegheny Valley. 

They are also owned by Genesee & Wyoming, a railroad holding company. Moreover, most of their tracks take over the historic lines of Baltimore & Ohio. 

All in all, BPRR runs 729 miles of trackage. Their freight mostly consists of petroleum, paper, coal, and sand. 

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

Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad

Also known as RBMN, this regional railroad is located in the east of Pennsylvania. They are headquartered in Port Clinton. Overall, this regional freight railroad operates a total of 300 miles of trackage. 

Their mainline comprises the Reading Division and Lehigh Division. The former is located in Packerton and Reading. On the other hand, the latter runs through Dupont and Lehighton. 

The RBMN mainly hauls anthracite (or black) coal. They also operate a passenger excursion service. This line serves Reading, Port Clinton, Jim Thorpe, and Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway

This regional railroad is privately owned and dates back to the 1990s. The W&LE’s early years were plagued by a series of realignments, conflicts, and a shortage of money. Without the financial assistance of Jay Gould, this would have never existed.

Eventually, it was all put to good use. Every year, it still transports hundreds of carloads. The W&LE maintains an extensive network in several areas.

This includes West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Cumberland, and Hagerstown. It has more than 500 kilometers of track in all.

Visit the website of Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway to learn more about available positions.  Click here. 

New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway

The NYSW is another name for this regional railroad. In 1881, the railroad began operation after the consolidation of various local lines. 

Passenger service was stopped in the northern New Jersey region after 1966. In 1990, the railroad was purchased by the Delaware Otsego Corporation. From here, it was successful in the intermodal freight rail sector.

Currently, the company runs a total of 400 miles of track. It has three major routes. The route from Jersey City to Binghamton. The following location is inside two Binghampton branches, which support Syracuse and Utica. 

Lastly, its Utica section is responsible for street running along Schuyler Street. 

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

philadelphia pennsylvania skyline

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

Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad

This is a  Genesee & Wyoming-owned shortline. In total, this railroad only runs six miles of trackage. Their tracks are located between the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad and the Ohio River.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Allegheny Valley Railroad

The Allegheny Valley Railroad is owned by a company named Carload Express. This shortline commenced in 1992. They mainly serve Washington and some areas of Pittsburgh.

Overall, this shortline operates 70 miles of trackage.

Learn more about them through the website of Carload Express. Click here.  

Belvidere & Delaware River Railway

The BDRV commenced in 1995. This railway also owns 10 miles of the Black River & Western Railroad. All in all, they operate a total of 16 miles of trackage. They mostly do freight services near the Delaware River to Carpentersville.

Additionally, they mostly haul stones and lumber.

Contact them through their website. Click here. 

Brandywine Valley Railroad

This shortline runs on lines established in the 1970s. Mittal Steel currently owns this switching shortline.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Central New York Railroad

This local freight servicing shortline runs through an old Southern Tier Line track. The Central New York Railroad’s line runs through these locations:

  • Port Jervis
  • Delaware River
  • Deposit
  • Susquehanna River
  • Starrucca Viaduct
  • Binghamton

They are also a Delaware Otsego Corporation subsidiary. All in all, they operate 123 miles of trackage. Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad

Genesee Valley Transportation operates the DL and owns about 90 miles of track in northern Pennsylvania. Click here. 

East Penn Railroad

Over 100 miles of disconnected track are operated by the East Penn Railroad. They traverse Philadelphia’s northern and western regions. 

Everett Railroad

This shortline also serves as a heritage railroad. It also runs on former Pennsylvania Railroad trackage in Hollidaysburg.

They also do freight services on two lines and the first line travels to Sproul and Brooksmile.

The other line, on the other hand, travels to Curryville and Roaring Spring. This second line is additionally owned and operated by Morrison’s Cove Railroad.

Learn more about the Everett Railroad by clicking here. 

Gettysburg & Northern Railroad

This is a Pioneer Lines-owned shortline. The Gettysburg and Northern Railroad (GET) runs a total of 25 miles of trackage.

Its long line stretches from Gettysburg and Mount Holly Springs. 

Learn more by clicking here. 

Juniata Valley Railroad

This shortline is owned by the North Shore Railroad Company. Their lines total 11 miles of trackage and operate in Mifflin Country. 

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Landisville Terminal & Transfer Company

This short class III shortline only runs two miles of track. It mainly services the areas near Landisville. Additionally, they connect with class I Norfolk Southern in their line. 

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

railroad jobs throught the state of pennsylvania

Start Your Railroading Journey With These Railroad Jobs in Pennsylvania!

There you have it! The many railroads in Pennsylvania. With these many railroads running through the state, you have so many options. Their services are pretty diverse, too.

Think you might be a good fit for some of them? Contact them for job opportunities. 

But, having many options doesn’t equate to a smooth-sailing job search. You might encounter challenges along the way. And sometimes, companies don’t get back to you as quickly as you expect. 

There will also be times when the job market can be pretty competitive. So, gear yourself up for it, and don’t give up. You’ll find a job that suits you soon enough. And once you get hired, benefits will reap tenfold.

Are you widening your job search? We can help you with that, too. Click here for our list of railroad jobs per state. Additionally, we offer various topics about the industry. So, check back on our site from time to time for railroad information.

That finally completes our railroad jobs in Pennsylvania.

Best of luck in your job hunt and railroad career!