Railroad Jobs in Rhode Island – Ultimate Guide

Given its size, you might be wondering, are there railroad jobs in Rhode Island? Are there even operating trains in the state? Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, there are very, very limited railroad jobs and trains in the state. In fact, Rhode Island doesn’t even house any Class I freight trains.

Its only major network in the area is Amtrack and MBTA. These are your biggest bets on landing a railroad job. 

Rhode Island statehouse aerial shot

Rhode Island is the smallest of the fifty states in the USA. It has 1,214 square miles of land area. It is also 48 miles from north to south, and 37 miles east to west.

The state comes forth to the last in terms of rail miles.  It ranks just above Nevada, Alaska, and very last, Hawaii.

If you’re really persistent in looking for railroad employment in the area, there’s one class II railway. This is the Providence & Worcester Railroad.

Moreover, there are also two scenic trains that run through the state which we’ll cover later in this post. If you’re interested, you can definitely reach out to these companies.

It’s worth giving a shot if you really want to pursue railroading in the area. 

Generally, there isn’t much to cover or emphasize on the state’s rail activities. Don’t let this discourage you on your railroad journey, though! 

Today, we’re here to help you out. We understand how challenging it can get to go job hunting online. This is especially true with limited areas like Rhode Island. 

In this post, we cover all the railroad companies you can apply for in the area. We additionally add in some new railroader tips.

This way, you can grasp what it’s like to work for the railroad industry overall. Let’s start! 

railroad jobs in rhode island

History Of Railroads in Rhode Island

Rhode Island hasn’t really ever been known for thier railroads. The most prominent railroad occurrence was the commuter railroad. This was the New York, New Haven, and Hartford. 

There are also two notable outliers. These include the Wood River Branch Railroad and Narragansett Pier Railroad. 

The first railways in Rhode Island were established on June 21st, 1831. During this period, the Boston & Providence Railroad (B&P) commenced. And in July of 1835, this railroad successfully linked its respective cities. Their miles of track weren’t extravagant.

However, it served its purpose during its time. The Providence & Worcester Railroad still operates a minor portion of the line today.

Eventually, the B&P line stretched to Central Falls, Attleboro, and Dedham in the 1850s. Then, in 1847, they ran a shared line with the newly-formed Providence & Worcester Railroad.

This joint line rain from Worcester and Attleboro. 

In 1888, the B&P was ceded to the Old Colony Railroad. And on 1893, it merged into New Haven’s railway system. 

After a while, the state had one of the best rail service carriers. This was the New York, New Haven & Hartford. This is commonly known as New Haven. This line still operates in New York and Boston today. 

These are probably the most notable milestones in Rhode Island’s rails. At its peak, Rhode Island only had 211 miles of trackage.

And currently, Rhode Island has a total of 87 miles of trackage. 

Abandonment of Railroads in Rhode Island

Unfortunately, 153 miles of trackage of Rhode Island’s rail network is now gone. It doesn’t sound like a lot when you compare it to other states.

But, these miles equate to more than 70% of trackage loss. 

Every bit of this land belonged to the New Haven Railroad. In spite of this, the NYNH&H has inherited its lineage from predecessors. 

Today, only 41% of Rhode Island’s rail infrastructure is in operation. But, this isn’t much as there weren’t really many rails operating from the start. 

Essentially, Rhode Island does not have the same level of historical variety or elevated attractions as places like California.

However, it still has a certain allure of its own — just not with railroads. 

providence rhode island in the fall

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

Are you coming in fresh to the railroad sector? You’re probably attracted to all its grandeur. Indeed, the railroads offer such great working sceneries as you pass over the tracks. 

Additionally, you’ve likely heard of the generous wages and employee perks. 

While these are all true, the railroad is not what everyone makes it out to be on the surface. As with any job, it comes with challenges. And these challenges are not for the light-hearted.

This is mainly due to working long and unexpected hours. Trains run around the clock. Hence, most class I jobs require 12-hour shifts.

Moreover, some companies can call you in whenever you’re needed. Sometimes, you need to work on holidays and weekends. 

That’s not all. There will also be times when the company can assign you to a different location. Due to this, you’ll be on the road and staying in hotels a lot. 

Railroading will become your new lifestyle. It will require you to spend a lot of time away from family. 

Class Is pays the best in the business. These companies also offer additional perks, benefits, and programs.

So, for some, it’s worth the sacrifice. It takes someone to look more at the big picture to fully grasp the beauty of being a railroader.

After a few years, you can even make up to six digits. Click here to get an idea of the highest-paying railroad jobs. 

Regionals and shortlines may offer more predictable shifts. However, their wages don’t match up to class I jobs. 

However, there are no Class I networks in Rhode Island. So, if you’re interested in a class I job, your greatest alternative is the state’s neighboring areas. You can check out railroad jobs in other states here.

providence rhode island park

Class II Regional Railroad Jobs in Rhode Island

Providence & Worcester Railroad

All rail freight movements into and within Rhode Island are handled by this regional. The railroad also serves Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut alongside.

This railroad commenced in the 1840s, mainly to link Providence and Massachusets together. 

This regional railroad was independently-owned and operated until 1892. During this time, they were leased by New Haven. 

After a long 85 years, it regained independence in the 1970s. From then on, the railroad purchased a number of tracks from Penn Central and Boston Maine. This allowed it to significantly grow. 

And finally, in 2016, it became a Genesee & Wyoming-owned regional. Until today, this railroad holding company owns and operates the system. 

All in all, this regional railroad operates a total of 612 miles of trackage. Learn more about its history by clicking here.

If you’d like to apply for the company, contact Genesee & Wyoming. Their contact details can also be found on their website too.

road bridge in narragansett

Passenger Railroad Jobs in Rhode Island

If you’re open to working for a passenger train, these are the two running through the state:


MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)

Click on their names to be directed through their website. Contact them for any employment-related questions or job inquiries. 

Tourist or Scenic Railroad Jobs in Rhode Island 

Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad

The Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad is situated in Newport. This line was merged in 2014 through two lines. These were Old Colony & Newport Scenic Railway and Newport Dinner Train.

Excursions are available over a small piece of track that runs through Narragansett Bay.

Learn more about them by clicking here. 

Railroad Jobs Near Rhode Island

Now, if you’re expanding your options, you can try applying to Rhode Island’s neighboring states. These states have all railroad classes and a wider variety of job opportunities.


Despite being one of the smallest states, Massachusetts has a lot to offer. It’s generally located in the northeastern part of the nation. 

Thus, it’s made up almost exclusively of steep and mountainous railway infrastructure. The history of railroads in the state is also noteworthy. In fact, it was the first state to ever have a railway running across its borders.

These existed long before Baltimore and Ohio did. 

There is only one Class I railroad network running through Massachusetts. This is CSX Transportation. In addition, it’s home to two well-known regionals, one of them being the P&W.

The state also has a few shortline railroads.

Find railroad jobs in Massachusetts by clicking here. 

New York

There are numerous networks based in New York City. Job seekers in the region will have no shortage of choices. To begin, there are four Class I railroads in New York. These are:

  • Canadian National
  • Canadian Pacific
  • CSX
  • Norfolk Southern

All of these make up for more than 60% of the state’s track mileage. Moreover, there are four class II regionals in New York. And finally, it houses a plethora of shortlines.

Overall, there are over 45 freight railways in the state totaling 4,500 miles of trackage. 

Find railroad jobs in New York by clicking here. 


You can also try out the state of Connecticut. In total, Connecticut houses 8 freight railroads totaling 364 miles of trackage. It has one major Class I railroad, CSX Transportation. They also house three regionals and a few shortlines. 

Find railroad jobs in Connecticut by clicking here.

If you’re also willing to try out other areas, we have a list of railroad jobs per state. Click here to learn more. 

providence rhode island skyline

Railroad Jobs in Rhode Island are Limited, So Get Creative.

There you have it, all the railroad jobs in Rhode Island. As you can see, there isn’t much in the area. It’s a really small state, with very limited trains and railroading job options.

But, if you’re really keen on working within the area, don’t give up. 

There’s still a Class II running in Rhode Island. And if you’re lucky, you can get a job there. Amtrack and MBTA also operate in Rhode Island.

So, if you’re open to working a passenger job, try reaching out to these companies too.

If you’re looking for a Class I job, your best bets are the nearest and neighboring states. Fortunately, Rhode Island’s neighboring locations have a plethora of railroad options to choose from. 

And who knows, Rhode Island might open up more tracks in the following years. With the great economic benefits of the rails, possibilities are endless.

Want to learn more about the industry? Check out our website from time to time. We tackle a wide range of railroad topics. 

This finally wraps up our post on railroad jobs in Rhode Island. We wish you the best of luck in your job search and railroading career! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living in Rhode Island? 

It costs about $1889 a year to live in Rhode Island. This is just a tad bit less than the national average. In terms of cost of living, Rhode Island came in at number 25, while its quality of life was placed at number 30. A person in Rhode Island may live comfortably for 1.8 months on an average after-tax wage of $3487.

What was the name of the railway line constructed in Rhode Island?

The NPRR was constructed by the affluent Rhode Island Hazard family. Here, the line linked their textile mills in Peace Dale to New Haven. Additionally, the railway linked steamships at Narragansett. All in all, this line totaled 8 miles of track. 

Are there trains in Providence?

Yes. Providence lies on the Northeast Corridor line of Amtrack. The state also does freight operations by its only regional railroad P&W. 

Does Rhode Island have subways? 

Rhode Island has no subway system, commuter trains, and light-rail systems. However, Amtrak operates in a handful of places. In addition, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) offers commuter train service between Providence and South Station in Boston.

What is considered a “livable wage” in Rhode Island? 

Rhode Islanders have to pay a high price for residing in a small state. The average annual cost of living there is just under $16,000. This is about 30 percent more than the national average.