Conductor Trainee

Overview: This position is responsible for the safe switching of railcars and movement of trains across the BNSF system.

Safety: Comply with company and federal safety rules, policies and procedures to include wearing required safety equipment, responding to safety concerns and taking appropriate action.

Communication: Obtain and receive information and act upon oral or written instructions by communication devices such as pagers, radio and telephone. Monitor and report on daily work performed.

Train Operation: Climb on and off equipment, set or release hand brakes, couple and uncouple air hoses between rail cars, remove and replace broken knuckles (75lb railcar connector), ride moving cars by hanging on grab irons, or ladders. Observe, interpret and relay hand, lantern, and other signals affecting the movement of the train, judge and control the speed and clearance distance of cars and distinguish among colors and see at night.

Switching Functions: Operate track switches and derails to change routing of engines or cars within yards or on the road. Check switch points to make sure switch is properly aligned.

Train and Equipment Inspections: Make decisions about switching, spotting cars and making up the train. Observe and monitor track conditions (e.g. broken rails, defective switches, weather-related problems). Inspect cars in conformance with Federal Railroad Administration Regulations. Observe the condition of passing train and report results to appropriate personnel.

Salary/Benefits: The training pay rate averages approximately $800 per week. Upon completion of training, earn up to $41,000 during the first year. Thereafter, the average conductor earns $68,000. BNSF employees receive an annual benefit package valued at $22,000. The terms of the collective bargaining agreement shall apply.

  • 18 years of age or older.
  • High School diploma or GED.
  • BNSF is a drug-free company and employees will be subject to random drug tests.
  • Willing to submit to an employment, criminal and driving background review.
  • Available to work in the geographic area indicated.
  • Able to read, write and communicate (speak, hear and understand) English.
  • Able to work outdoors in all weather conditions: (hot, cold, rain, snow, and sleet).
  • Work on-call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Must be able to report to assigned work location within 90 minutes of notification. Work may be seasonal based on the weather or business conditions.
  • Available to travel around the seniority (designated) region and remain away from home for up to days at a time.
  • Able to lift and carry up to 30 pounds frequently, up to 60 pounds occasionally and up to 75 pounds infrequently.
  • Possess a valid state-issued driver's license or be able to obtain one within 60 days of employment.
  • Ability to see and interpret hand signals from near and far; distinguish among red, blue, green and yellow colors; visually judge the speed and distance of moving objects; see at night; hear, and, with training, distinguish auditory signals.
  • Able to use hands to perform activities involving holding, grasping, turning and pulling.
  • Able to perform work on uneven surfaces; frequently climb ladders and on/off equipment; work on top of locomotives and other equipment.
  • Able to work in conditions that include loud noise and fumes, work on and around heavy and moving machinery, bend, lift, walk, stand and sit for extended periods of time and use hand tools.
  • Follow safety policies and procedures and wear the required personal protective equipment required for the job in a safe manner.

Probationary Period

60 days.


Company paid on-the-job and classroom training for up to 17 weeks at the location hired.

Work Conditions

Extreme all-weather conditions; un-even surfaces; safety sensitive work environment.


Frequent. May be away from home terminal for extended periods of time.


On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Must be able to report to work 90 minutes after notification.

Seniority District / Transfers

Seniority District transfers will not be approved until you have been employed in this position for a minimum of three years.


Relocation assistance is not available for this position.


Per the collective bargaining agreement, union membership and monthly dues are required.


United Transportation Union

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