Conductor Overview

Conductors operate track switches, couple cars, and work on freight trains in yard operations or on the road. This involves substantial travel and outdoor work in all weather conditions. Tasks require pulling, controlling, and climbing on and off equipment.

Please watch this brief video to learn more about becoming a conductor at Norfolk Southern.


Conductor FAQ's

What’s it like to be a conductor?                                                                                                                                                                                           NS Conductor Review

Where will training take place                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your first three weeks of employment will begin at our NS Training Center in McDonough, GA. NS will provide you hotel accommodations approximately five miles from the NS training center.

How will I get around during training?                                                                                                                                                                                    You will be responsible for providing your own transportation to the McDonough area hotel and to/from the training center each day. NS will reimburse you auto miles to McDonough, GA in your normal paycheck

What is the pay rate during training?                                                                                                                                                                                       $25/hr with a minimum of $200 per day worked

When will I be paid?                                                                                                                                                                                                             Conductors are paid every 2 weeks. Depending on your specific hire date and where it falls within the normal payroll cycle, your first paycheck may not arrive until your third week of employment. You will be regularly paid every two weeks on Friday. 

Will there be tests during training?                                                                                                                                                                                     Yes, during training there will be a physical and academic test to determine if you will continue in the program.  You will be provided progressive computer-based training and hands on training by subject matter experts to guide your training. 

Will I have to work outdoors during bad weather?                                                                                                                                                            Yes, regardless of weather conditions you will work outdoors during and after your training.  Railroaders work in rain, snow, wind, cold, heat, etc. to ensure we are providing services and products that keep the American economy moving. 

What are the work-days during training?                                                                                                                                                                            Just like a qualified Conductor, your training will occur days, nights, and weekends, and holidays. 

Will I be required to travel overnight during training?                                                                                                                                                       Yes, this will be required as we want you to become acclimated to the work hours as a conductor.

What is the pay after training?                                                                                                                                                                                           Once you complete the conductor training program and become a conductor, you will likely be assigned to a conductor extra board which has guaranteed minimum earnings of approximately $52,000 per year. The average earnings for a first year conductor is $67,000 with pay increasing through seniority. Based on your seniority, you will be able to bid on jobs which offer a higher earning potential.

What are the work hours after training?                                                                                                                                                                              You will work off an extra board. As an extra board employee, you will be on call 24/7. Most call times are 2 hours but at times you may have as little as 90 minutes to report to your designated work location from time of call.

What is an extra board?                                                                                                                                                                                                          An extra board is when a pool of conductors cover vacancies on assigned jobs and extra assignments. The vacancies are unpredictable so you will need to be available to work at any time. 

Will I be required to join conductor’s union? If so, what are the cost of the dues?                                                                                                        Yes, dues will vary by union.

Will I have a chance to become a Locomotive Engineer?                                                                                                                                                      Based on your location's needs and seniority, a conductor will be required to promote to a locomotive engineer position. A locomotive engineer assigned to the extra board has a guarantee minimum earnings of approximately $94,000. Many engineers will often earn $100,000+ due to work opportunities at their location.

When do my insurance benefits start?                                                                                                                                                                                      Benefits during training begin on the 1st day of the 2nd calendar month of employment. Once you become a qualified conductor you will need to choose benefits through your labor organization.


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