Wyoming is the tenth smallest state in the United States. It has one of the lowest population densities in the country. Now, with that said, are there still railroad jobs in Wyoming? Absolutely.
Unfortunately, though, the odds are lower here compared to other states. Railroad jobs in Wyoming might be difficult to get.
Your highest and best chances lie on the two major Class I networks. These are the Union Pacific and the BNSF Railway.
There are no regionals running through the state anymore. And, there is only one class III shortline in Wyoming.
All in all, Wyoming contains 1,860 miles of trackage. Its mileage is low, but it isn’t surprising given the state’s size.
Wyoming falls under the top 20 states with low freight mileage in the country. It ranks just above New Mexico and below West Virginia.
Therefore, you should expect some challenges in job hunting. Don’t let this discourage you from finding one, though. If you’re really interested in working in the industry, it’s worth the try.
In this post, we look at all your options for railroad jobs in Wyoming.
Let’s get started.
History and Milestones Of Railroads in Wyoming
Union Pacific was the first to establish railways in Wyoming. Back in 1862, the network entered Wyoming’s state borders. This was the time of the Transcontinental Railroad. The network was on the way to its junction with Central Pacific to Prominary Point in 1869.
From there, Wyoming became a significant hub for Union Pacific. Cheyenne served as a crucial crossroads for the railroad’s eastern main routes. It’s Pacific Northwest mainline was also significant.
On top of these, the famous Chicago & North Western and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy operated in the state.
These lines still exist today, under the care of the BNSF railway.
Back then, Wyoming’s rails reached slightly over 2,000 miles of trackage at its height. The state also experienced only a minor loss in the era of railway abandonment.
But, overall, much of Wyoming’s railroads were and still are dominated by Union Pacific.
In fact, the transcontinental railroad was life-changing for the state. It made it possible for a lot of individuals to settle in the area. It was also the backbone of industrial growth in the early days.
The Impact of Railroads on Wyoming’s Economy Today
Wyoming’s economy remains dependent on rail transit for many reasons.
To start, it keeps the mining industry alive. The mining sector employs the most non-government workers. And in 2011, nearly a third of the state’s GDP was generated from this sector.
These businesses rely on rail to transport products effectively to and from the state.
Apart from mining, it also helps other industries like chemicals and food. Shippers and businesses get to ship large bulk for a cost-effective price. It also paves the way for a wider market and more sales.
Wyoming’s railroads are highly capable of moving tons of freight. This is a feature that its other counterparts don’t have.
The state’s freight railways moved approximately 559 million tons of cargo in 2011.
This, in turn, affects other economical factors as well. For instance, it helps minimize traffic congestion.
The state’s railroads can eliminate at least 23 million truckloads yearly. This also helps the state preserve highways and saves taxpayer money for road upkeep.
On top of that, it can also reduce Wyoming’s pollution. Remember, railroads can cut up to 75% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to road transport.
And finally, railroads are a high job-generating industry. One class I network alone can already hire up to a hundred employees.
In 2017, the state’s railroad sector totaled 2,300 individuals.
Working For The Railroad in Wyoming: What To Expect
Is this your first time working in the railroad industry? If so, it’s in your best interest to read this part of the post.
Working in this field is not for everyone.
First and foremost, it can be physically and mentally demanding. Class I networks are up and running 27/4. As a result, employees usually work 12-hour shifts.
You can also be assigned to any other location if needed. In this case, you’ll be on the road and traveling a lot.
More often than not, railroading requires a big lifestyle change at the beginning. You’ll spend a lot of time away from home and family.
But, on a more positive note, class I networks pay the best wages in the industry. On top of this, there are benefits and employee programs. And after a few years, you can earn as much as six figures.
Check out the highest-paying railroad jobs HERE.
So, all the sacrifice and hard work may be well worth it.
Regionals and shortlines may provide more dependable schedules. Their wages, however, may not equal class I jobs.
Evidently, being a railroader needs you to have a broad viewpoint and open mind. It’s also definitely not an easy-job-easy-money kind of profession.
Typically, they are the deal-breakers for potential railroaders. The choice ultimately rests with you.
Now, let’s take a look at your options for railroad jobs in Wyoming.
Class I Railroad Jobs in Wyoming
The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway is a leading freight railroad in North America.
They are among the seven Class I railroads with a total distance of 35,000 miles. In addition, they serve 28 states and have over 8,000 locomotives.
BNSF has three transcontinental links that connect the western and eastern parts of the country.
In Wyoming, BNSF operates a 960-mile track. They also have rail yards in Casper, Gillette, Cheyenne, Greybull, and more. Learn more about it here.
Visit their website for railroad jobs in Wyoming. Click here.
There are 32,100 miles of track on the Union Pacific railway. It provides service to 23 states in the western United States. It encompasses a total of 919 miles of trackage in Wyoming.
Wyoming is one of the most mineral-rich states in the US. The state produces coal in the Powder River Basin. Plus, Wyoming also makes 90% of its soda ash via trona mines. The state also carries other commodities such as sugar beets and wheat.
Cheyenne is Wyoming’s biggest and most populous city. It is also the epitome of a railroad town and an important junction to the West Coast.
The city additionally features the steam shop of Union Pacific. Here, you’ll find locomotives such as UP No. 844.
Click here to learn more about Union Pacific railroad jobs in Wyoming.
Class III Terminal, Shortline, and Switching Railroad Jobs in Wyoming
Bighorn Divide & Wyoming Railroad
Wyoming’s only existing shortline, BDW, has been around since 1985.
This shortline runs railyards in the Wyoming cities of Bonneville, Shoshoni, and Casper. It also interchanges with Class I BNSF.
All in all, the Bighorn Divide & Wyoming Railroad operates 15 miles of trackage.
Learn more about them and their jobs by clicking here.
Start Your Railroading Career in Wyoming!
There you have it! Your options for railroad jobs in Wyoming. As you can see, the state isn’t thriving with railroads. Your biggest chances for landing a railroad job lie on the two class I networks. Apart from this, Wyoming only has one shortline with 15 miles of trackage.
If you’re interested, contact these companies directly.
Remember, landing a job won’t always be easy. Finding a suitable position may take some time, especially in a tight job market.
Additionally, it may take a while for companies to get back to your application.
But, don’t let this discourage you!
And note that we’re also only here to assist you with your job hunt. Therefore, if you have any job-specific questions, connect the railroad directly.
We can, however, assist you in expanding your options. We have a list of railroad jobs per state! Click here.
Read below, for some FAQ’s about the Wyoming railroad industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Was Wyoming traversed by the Transcontinental Railroad?
Yes, it did. It ventured through southern Wyoming, covering 500 miles, and arrived in Utah at the start of 1869.
How many railways do the Genesee and Wyoming own?
As of today (July 2022), Genesee & Wyoming Inc. has a total of 116 railroads under its roster.
Where is Genesee and Wyoming located?
The headquarters of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. is situated in Darien, Connecticut.
Who is the owner of Genesee and Wyoming?
Genesee and Wyoming have two parent organizations. This includes GIC and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.
What was the first railroad in Wyoming?
The Union Pacific was Wyoming’s first major railroad. The first transcontinental railroad was completed to connect the Central Pacific in the west.