Railroad Jobs in Wisconsin – Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for railroad jobs in Wisconsin? You’re on the right track. You’ll be happy to know there there are relatively great options for you in the state.

railroad jobs in wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to four major Class I railroads. These are BNSF, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and Union Pacific.

With these alone, you’ve got a bunch of great options. 

On top of this, however, Wisconsin houses one regional. This is the Wisconsin and Southern. And finally, there are three shortline railroads in the state.

Amtrack also operates within the area if you’re open to working a passenger railroad job too.

All in all, Wisconsin totals 3,387 miles of trackage. Wisconsin also falls under the top 15 states with the most miles of trackage. The state ranks just behind New York and Michigan. 

Wisconsin is one of those states with a very rich railroad history too. It was highly known for intermodal and mineral transport and main lines. And of course, it’s renowned for the historical Milwaukee Road.

There were other classic railroads that served the state as well. This includes the Chicago & North Western, and C&NW. 

Its enviable geographical position amassed its extensive rail network. Before the abandonment era of railroads, the state had more than 7,000 miles! 

However, its history definitely lives on until today for railroad fans. 

Wisconsin is a good place to start railroading. And overall, the industry is such a great place to start a career. 

We’re here to help you land a job on the railroad in Wisconsin. 

For today’s post, we tackle all the railroad companies you can apply for. We also briefly discuss the economic value of the state’s railroads.

And finally, we share some useful pointers for new railroaders.

Let’s start. 

madison wisconsin sunset

The Impact of The Wisconsin Railroad To The Economy

Wisconsin’s transportation system relies strongly on freight train service. It has a greater range and can carry more cargo and people than trucks.

 In fact, Wisconsin’s rail eliminates 9 million truckloads off the road yearly. And in 2019, Wisconsin’s rail transported nearly 200 million tons worth of freight.

 According to GoRail, it would’ve taken more than 10 million truckloads to transport these. 

Railways also consume the same volume of fuel but emit fewer pollutants than their predecessors. This, in turn, offers the state and its residents better air quality. 

For instance, in 2019, the state’s rail was able to prevent about 4 million tons of emissions. This is equivalent to planting millions of trees or getting rid of 8,000 cars off the road.

Three big sectors accounted for about half of Wisconsin’s GDP. This includes agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.

Freight train transports cost-effective, high-volume, and bulk goods to these crucial sectors. 

And within these sectors are also heavy equipment, vehicle machinery, and paper goods. Train cars can be used as their rolling warehouses.

As a result, businesses and industries can reduce inventory and storage expenses.

On top of that, freight trains also help businesses tap a wider market. Hence, increasing their competitive standpoint.

And finally, the sector supports thousands of workers, with salaries, and benefits. In 2017, freight railroads totaled in 5,300 employees. 

It’s also predicted that by 2030, rail tonnage in the state would rise by 16%.

milwaukee wisconsin skyline

Working For The Railroad Sector in Wisconsin: Things To Consider 

Are you new to the railroad industry? If so, it’s best to take the time to learn more about the sector.

Working in the sector needs an in-depth understanding of the business. It’s not a career for everyone, particularly for those who are fainthearted.

First off, working in the industry can be physically and mentally challenging. Why?

Class I networks work around the clock. And with that, it is typical for their workers to work long shifts. Some shifts last for 12 hours.

In addition, the company may position you in any essential post or area. Thus, you will be often on the road. Consequently, you will spend most of your time away from home.

It will be a major lifestyle change, in other words.

But on a lighter note, class I companies offer the highest wages in the business. On top of this, there are benefits, retirement plans, and employee programs. 

And after a few years, you can even earn up to six digits.  Therefore, it can be well worth the sacrifice. 

Click here to view a list of the highest-paying railroading jobs.

Shortlines and regionals may provide more consistent schedules. However, their wages do not match up to class I jobs. 

As you can see, being a railroader requires a wide perspective and an open mind. It’s not those kinds of jobs that offer you fast money. It’s a highly valued and acknowledged profession. 

These are usually the deal breakers for prospective railroaders. The decision is ultimately up to you. 

Now, let’s examine your options for railroad jobs in Wisconsin. 

farm in wisconsin

Class I Railroad Jobs in Wisconsin 

BNSF Railway

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway is one of North America’s notable freight railways.

They are among the seven Class I railways totaling 35,000 miles of trackage. They also service 28 states and have approximately 8,000 locomotives.

Additionally, the railroad has three transcontinental lines that link America’s western and eastern regions. 

In 2010, more miles were traversed by BNSF than any other North American railway. On top of this, BNSF is also one of the leading intermodal freight carriers in North America. 

The BNSF Railway Company is the major operating subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC. Additionally, they are headquartered in Forth Worth, Texas. 

Learn more about their jobs in Wisconsin through their website. Click here.

Canadian National

The Canadian National is one of the seven largest Class I railroads in the nation. It is also one of the two main networks in Canada.

Canadian National serves every region of their home country. Additionally, it covers the Midwestern and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

They also announced intentions to spend 66 million dollars on Wisconsin’s rails. These funds will be utilized to purchase new technology and increase rail capacity. 

The network was once a government-owned railway. At the time, its main purpose was to link inactive and defunct lines. 

Eventually, it became one of the biggest networks in the United States. In 1995, the property finally became privately held. 

Moreover, it currently offers a large array of services and carries a range of items.

In all, Canadian National operates over 204,000 miles of track. Click here for more information on their railroad jobs in Wisconsin.

Canadian Pacific Railway

This Class I system is the country’s first and oldest transcontinental railroad. Canadian Pacific, in contrast to Canadian National, was and is still a privately held company today. 

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited is the company’s only owner. Its growth was, however, strictly regulated by the government. 

Overall, this class I network totals 20,100 miles of trackage. Click here to see their latest job opportunities.

Union Pacific

The Union Pacific railroad consists of 32,100 miles of track. It services 23 states in the western region of the country. In Wisconsin, it covers a total of 919 miles of trackage

This network connects the Twin Cities with “America’s Dairyland” by Eau Claire, and a route southward across Lake Michigan reaching Chicago.

Milwaukee is also renowned for beer. And the Union Pacific carries most of the state’s malt supplies. It also services flour mills and carries coal, car parts, and fertilizer. 

Additionally, this class I railroad offers the state its Community Giving Ties Program. Union Pacific donated more than $134,000 to local organizations in 2021. 

Click here to learn more about Union Pacific.

parked freight trains

Class II Regional Railroad Jobs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad

The state’s largest and only class II railroad is the Wisconsin & Southern. Currently, they are managed by Watco. 

This regional railroad mainly services the Northeastern region of Illinois and the Southern area of Wisconsin. 

They operate on the historic Milwaukee Road and C&NW trackage. 

Moreover, this regional railroad connects with the four class I railroads in the state. 

All in all, this regional network operates 837 miles of trackage. Click here to learn more. 

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

Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad

The Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad or ELS consists of 347 miles of track. 

Its main line totals 208 miles. This line runs through Michigan up to Green Bay. And the latter comprises out-of-service track and other branch lines. 

Learn more about railroad jobs in the company through its website. Click here. 

Tomahawk Railway

This is a Genesee & Wyoming-owned shortline. 

All in all, Tomahawk Railway totals 6 miles of trackage. It runs south and north in its namesake region.

It mostly carries chemicals, forestry, and coal. 

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

Wisconsin Northern Railroad

This shortline railroad is owned and acquired by Progressive Rail of Minnesota. 

It has been around since 2004 and runs a 60-mile line.

The Wisconsin Northern mostly services the North of Wisconsin and operates an old Soo Line trackage. 

Become A Railroader With These Railroad Jobs in Wisconsin! 

So, there you have it! In conclusion, there is a pretty good deal of railroad jobs in Wisconsin. 

The four major Class I networks alone already offer you a plethora of opportunities. You’ve also got Amtrack, one regional, and three shortlines to work with. If you’re interested, contact any of these companies. 

Job hunting won’t always be a walk in the park. Looking for the right job might take some time. In addition, the employment market might be quite competitive. 

Moreover, it may take a while for some organizations to respond to employment applications. 

However, don’t let this deter you from your goal. Stay positive, and focus on the bigger picture.

But, on the other hand, we can help you expand your options. We have a list of railroad jobs per state. Click here.

If you also want to learn more about the industry, check back on our website. We tackle a variety of railroading topics here!

This finally brings us to an end of our railroad jobs in Wisconsin.

We wish you the best of luck in your job quest and railroading career!