How much do train drivers make?

Suppose you have ever wondered how much a train conductor earns in the United States because you are interested in looking for this job or simply out of curiosity. In that case, you should read us carefully because here we will give you all the data you need to know.

Many people consider the train driver job very well-paid and imply comfortable and easy job, with some complicated schedules considering that there are big cities where public transportation is open many hours.

Do train conductors earn a general wage in any U.S. state? Is it a good job compared to the wages that other professions tend to earn? Does it make enough to live on and pay taxes or health insurance? We’ll tell you all about it here, so read on.

These are the important ranges to know how much a train driver earns

Train drivers in each state of the country have different salaries, which depend on many things. For example, the fact that a growing city wants to increase the number of trains or increase the timetable. Or, of course, also taking into account other things like the percentages of citizens using public transport.

Be that as it may, according to the latest data, the range that can comprise what a train driver earns ranges from $100000 per year to $283300 per year, which is a gigantic difference. However, we also have to clarify that if we look at percentages, more than half of the drivers earn less than $109,000 annually, and the average is around $47,200 annually.

And within this, what is the real salary that a train driver receives after having withheld the corresponding taxes? Well, they usually have an average federal tax rate of 22%, which means that a person earning an average of $47,000 per year will be left with about $4,000 per year.

Then… Do train conductors in the United States make a lot of money?

Knowing these data, which we say, are general and do not correspond to the salaries of all train drivers, but to the average, we can ask ourselves… Is this a good salary?

Well, we can also answer with data, and the answer is that it is generally not a good salary. Of course, it is for those who earn over 100,000 dollars a year, but those who earn about 40,000 dollars a year after taxes will have serious problems getting by.

And according to other statistics, the average price of rental housing in the United States is $ 2500 per month, considering that there are places much cheaper than others. And if train drivers earn around 3300/3400 dollars a month, this would mean that they would have to allocate more than 70% of their salary to housing payments.

Indeed, train drivers usually have health insurance added to their tickets so that they person does not have to pay extra in this respect. But with rent, food, and entertainment, a person with an average salary in this profession will have enough problems to live comfortably.

Some examples of what a train driver in the United States earns

Establishing a fixed salary for train drivers is difficult because, as we mentioned before, each state has its criteria, as does each company, and also depending on the schedule, for example, if it is a night shift.

Yes, we can say that the state in the United States in which train drivers have the best salary is in Virginia and that if we talk about cities, people would prefer to take advantage of cities such as Alameda, New York, New Jersey, and some cities in the California area.

But, as we said before, although New York is one of the cities with the highest salaries for train drivers, we must consider that it is also one of the cities with the highest standard of living in the United States. However, in places like Virginia, where the standard of living is somewhat lower than New York or California, it is perhaps the most economically profitable workplace.

Improving wages for U.S. railroad conductors

Now that you have all this information, you may be wondering if some places are considering that perhaps the salary for this job should go up. Indeed some places have taken this consideration into account, and it has gone up somewhat over the last few years:

  • In the city of Denver, for example, the salary has gone up 11% in the last year, which is very positive because it is a state in the country where the standard of living is affordable compared to others.
  • In New York, for example, it has also risen by around 5%, which is quite precarious considering that it is one of the most expensive cities to live in.
  • Also, salaries have risen 2% in Houston, Texas, in the last year. Texas is not exactly cheap, although it is not one of the most expensive states either, and, yes, it is one of those places where health insurance is more affordable for the general population.

And have some states lowered driver wages?

And on the other hand, there are also cities where what a train driver earns dropped in recent times:

  • For example, in Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, it is estimated that the salary of train drivers has decreased by 14% in the last few years. It used to be one of the best paying states for this job, but it has suffered too big a drop.
  • In Portland, one of Oregon’s largest cities, wages have also fallen by around 3%. This is quite alarming, as Portland, according to the latest data, is 69% more expensive than other cities in the country.
  • Likewise, wages in Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, have also decreased by 3%. However, this decrease has meant less for the inhabitants of this city because Phoenix is one of the most economical cities in the United States. It is even cheaper than in many European cities.

So, if you are looking for a job as a train driver in the country and you were wondering if it is a well-paid job, we can say that generally speaking it is not, and that people who do it in expensive cities will probably have problems to live well every month.

However, it is all about looking at different offers, as some places have better salaries and some bonuses or specific rates from the companies, maybe if it becomes a well paid job.