Railroad Jobs in South Carolina – Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for railroad jobs in South Carolina?

You’ve come to the right place.

There is a good range of options for railroad jobs in South Carolina.

south carolina flag

Your best bets are the two major class Is running in the state. These are CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.

They make up more than half of South Carolina’s miles of trackage.

Unfortunately, there are no regional railroads that operate in the area. But, there are a few shortlines. 

All in all, South Carolina is home to over 2,300 miles of trackage. The state is in the middle ground in terms of railroad mileage.

South Carolina is a state that holds a rich railroad history. The state housed virtually all of the most prominent Southeast railways.

This includes the Southern Railway and Clinchfield Railroad. But, their history still lives on by their successors. 

South Carolina offers unique sceneries. In the east, it offers similar coastal views and operations as North Carolina.

On the other hand, the west boasts beautiful mountains, terrains, and greens. So, as a railroader, your working sceneries offer you the best of both worlds. 

Overall, the railroad sector in the state is a great industry to work in. Today, we’re here to help you with job hunting.

In this post, we list down all the companies where you can apply for railroad jobs in South Carolina. 

Also on the agenda is a discussion of the role played by railroads in helping the economy. This way, you get a better grasp of the industry and its present state.

Finally, we add in some pointers for new railroaders.

Let’s get started. 

railroad jobs in south carolina

Economic Value Of South Carolina’s Railroads 

South Carolina freight consists of a lot of modes of transportation and infrastructure. This includes trucks, waterways, ports, vans, bridges, and more.

As a whole, these assets serve as a vital economic engine for the state of South Carolina. 

In 2017, South Carolina’s class I railroads generated almost 200 billion in economic value. Additionally, they were able to produce 26 billion in tax revenues. 

South Carolina’s rails also offer a unique standpoint to other freight transportation: scale. 

Trains can carry more freight than a fleet of trucks. For instance, South Carolina’s rail transported about 65 million tons worth of freight in 2019.

It would’ve taken 3.6 million truckloads to move these. These figures also reflect and benefit more economic benefits. 

Because of the scale of rail, it can cut and reduce the road’s traffic congestion. Moreover, it can also reduce pollution and gas emissions.

According to GoRail, rail can reduce emissions by over 75%!

It also benefits shippers and South Carolina businesses.

Consider the example of coal.  If coal is exclusively supplied by trucks, a power plant will only be able to use locally produced coal.

However, railroads make transporting coal to any location practical and efficient.

Local businesses can also tap nationwide and international markets. Rail can broaden their customer base, at a more cost-effective price compared to shipping.

Last but not least, employment. The scale of one Class I network alone can employ at least a hundred people. 

Additionally, there are several employment opportunities generally available. This comprises engineers, railroad conductors, and yardmasters.

In 2017, South Carolina had approximately 4,294 railroad employees. 

The railroad sector has a slew of employee benefits on its own. It makes it a truly excellent industry to work in. 

But, if you’re new to railroading, here are some things to keep in mind: 

south carolina mountains

Working In The Railroad Industry in South Carolina: Things To Consider 

It’s no secret that train workers make a good living. However, that’s not all there is to it. Railroading is a highly-respected profession due to its duties.

And if you’re just starting, it’s important to get to know the job better.

The truth is, working for class Is can be mentally and physically taxing. Class I networks work around the clock.

Most of their employees work 12-hour shifts. Some companies can also call you in for work any time, even on holidays and weekends. 

Some also transfer their employees to different posts and locations if needed. So, if you want to be a class I railroader, expect to be away from home often.

Railroading will instantly change your lifestyle. 

But on the brighter side, Class Is pays the best in the industry. They also offer generous benefits, retirement plans, and programs.

So, for some, the hard work and sacrifice really pay off. 

You have a better handle on your schedules with regionals and shortlines.

However, there are no regional railroads in South Carolina. And, the pay isn’t as generous as those in class Is.

Railroading is not a dead-end or stagnant job. If you put in the work, you can get promoted. As time goes on, you may even reach six figures.

Check out the highest-paying railroad jobs by clicking here.

One must really step back and take a broader perspective to properly appreciate being a railroader. At the end of the day, the decision will all be up to you. 

Now without further ado, let’s look at all your options in South Carolina. 

railroad tracks in a hill landscape

Class I Railroad Jobs in South Carolina

CSX Transportation

This major Class I network has been around since the 1980s. CSX Transportation is CSX Corporation’s railroading or transportation division.

It’s also among North America’s seven Class I networks.

It places third in milage and operational revenue. 

All in all, this class I network operates a total of 23,000 miles of trackage. It currently services 23 states, two Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia.

And as the biggest railroad in South Carolina, it spans a substantial portion of the state. 

They also maintain a divisional office in Florence. Also, on top of their milage, they have trackage rights from Columbia and Charleston.

CSX mainly hauls petroleum and coal throughout South Carolina. However, they also carry a large quantity of wood, chemicals, and intermodal shipments. 

The company is additionally renowned for having a diverse workforce and benefits. Learn more about career opportunities by clicking here.

Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Corporation owns Norfolk Southern (NS).

NS ranks second to CSX in terms of overall size and annual revenue. They are the second-largest railroad in the east of North America.

Overall, Norfolk Southern operates a total of 21,500 miles of trackage. 

This Class I network serves 22 states, one province in Canada, and the District of Columbia. 

Currently, Norfolk Southern has 762 miles of trackage running in South Carolina. It also has access to CSX trackage in Spartanburg and Newberry. 

Additionally, they have a divisional headquarter situated in Greenville. 

 The Southern Railway and Norfolk & Western Railroads are two of their earliest ancestors.

All of their aspects came together in 1982 and formed the basis for its present-day system.

Benefits and employee programs at NS are likewise well-known and well-regarded. Remember, working for a long time may reward you with up to six figures. 

Finally, the Norfolk Southern South Carolina system mainly hauls coal. But, it also carries lumber, wood, chemicals, pulp, and paper too.

Discover your opportunities for railroad jobs at Norfolk Southern by clicking here. 

railroad tracks in the forest of south carolina

Class III Shortline, Switching, and Terminal Railroad Jobs in South Carolina

Aiken Railway

December 2012 saw the beginning of operation for the Aiken Railway Company.

Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation is the sole owner of the railroad. The same corporation also owns and runs Greenville and Western.

In Aiken County, it owns and maintains two NS branch routes. 

One is the line from Warrenville and Oakwood. This line totals 12.45 miles of trackage. The other consists of a 6.45-mile route connecting Aiken to North Aiken. 

The overall length of the Aiken Railway is 19 miles of track. 

Carolina Piedmont Railroad

The line of this class III shortline began in 1990. During this time, RailTex acquired a 30-milage line in Laurens and East Greenville. It started operating as their Carolina Piedmont Division.

Genesee & Wyoming Inc, a railroad holding company, now owns this shortline. It is also now known as the Carolina Piedmont Railroad.

Laurens serves as a hub for CSXT traffic. Among the most often carried goods are resins, gas turbines, and chemical compounds.

Visit Genesee & Wyoming’s website to learn more about them. Click here. 

East Cooper and Berkeley Railroad

This class III shortline operates 17-mile trackage. Its routes span from Charity Church and State Junction. From these lines, it also connects to Class I CSX. Additionally, this railway is a unit of the Palmetto Railways. 

These are both operated and owned by the Department of Commerce of the state. 

Contact the company directly for railroad job opportunities. 

Greenville & Western Railway

In 2006, this railroad commenced operations. It acquired a CSXT line stretch between Pelzer and Belton throughout Anderson County. 

At Pelzer and Belton, the railroad exchanges traffic with CSXT and the Pickens Railroad Company, respectively. It also offers access to Norfolk Southern.

Other on-line rail customers include Belton Metals, Belton Industries, and Kinder Morgan.

The railway mostly hauls ethanol, plastic, biodiesel, scrap metal, and fertilizer. 

All in all, the Greenville & Western Railway operates 13 miles of trackage. 

charleston of south carolina

Lancaster & Chester Railway

This railroad dates back to the 1870s. Its original line consisted of a narrow-gauged three-foot line.

In 1894, this line connected Chester with Lancaster.

Then in 2001, the railway acquired a Norfolk Southern branch line. This line ran from Lancaster and Catawba and on to Kershaw. 

The overall length of the railroad now stands at about 47 miles of track. It has also added York to its roster of locations.

A wide range of shippers and receivers use the railroad. Among them are PPG, Thyssen-Krupp Steel, and Guardian Glass. 

The shortline also hauls chemicals, steel, and sand. It also carries corn, soy meal, and oil. 

Contact the company directly for railroad job opportunities. 

Pee Dee River Railway

CSXT’s branch line was bought by Marlboro County in 1987. By way of Tatum and Bennettsville, this route connected McColl with Marlboro. 

Additionally, it had a rail service contract with the Pee Dee Railway Corporation (PDRR) for service from Bennettsville and Breeden.

From here, the Pee Dee River Railway was established. It is also an Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad Company subsidiary. 

Most of its freight consists of aggregate, fertilizer, and chemicals.

Overall, this shortline has a total of 24 miles of trackage. 

Palmetto Railways

South Carolina Public Railways was the former name for Palmetto Railways. 

As a railroad consulting firm, they help the state and the government with their rail needs. 

They are also a unit of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Additionally, they manage three separate lines.

Pickens Railway

This renowned class III shortline has existed since the 1890s. 

The Pickens Railway initially had 9 miles of trackage. It only ran from Pickens and Easly. But, its line expanded to Honea Path and Anderson in the 1990s. Today, only this path is operational. 

It totals 38 miles of trackage.

Learn more about the Pickens Railway by clicking here.

Kick-Off Your Railroading Career With These Railroad Jobs in South Carolina! 

There you have it! Overall, South Carolina has a fair number of railroad jobs. Your biggest and greatest job opportunities lie in the two major Class I networks.

South Carolina doesn’t house regionals and as many shortlines as other states.

However, you still have a good chance of starting a good railroad career here. 

Note that job hunting isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, the job market can be tight or competitive.

Some companies also take a bit longer to get back to you, but, don’t give up. 

You’ll find a railroad job suited for you in no time! And once you do, rewards will reap tenfold, especially if you put in the work. 

Also, know that we’re only here to help you with your search. If you have any job-specific questions, get in touch. 

We can also help you expand your options. If you’re looking for other railroad jobs in other states, check out our railroad jobs per state. Click here.

And if you want to learn more about the industry, check back on our page from time to time! We cover a diverse range of railroad topics. 

That wraps up our railroad jobs in South Carolina.

We wish you the best of luck in your job hunt and railroad career!