If you depend on a train to get to work every day, chances are the train driver is somebody that you rely on.
Being able to take a train as a way to get where they need to go can save millions of people both time and money.
Even though plane and car travel is huge in the United States, train travel does not fall all that far behind.
Train drivers are paid quite a bit of money, and it has some people wondering why this is.
If you are curious as to why the person driving your next train is so well paid, you may find some answers on our list.
There are actually quite a few reasons train drivers make as much as they do, but these will certainly get you started in understanding all that is involved.
In order to become a train driver, you are going to need to be trained.
This is not a job that you will be able to step into and understand instinctively what to do.
For someone who wants to be a train driver, there will be years of working towards becoming a licensed and employed train driver.
Many people will have to work with a railroad for years before they can be able to take the train ride into their own hands.
Training is costly, and it requires train drivers to spend quite a bit of time making less money than they could elsewhere.
During this process, you are going to find that train drivers often question whether or not it is worth it to become a train driver.
The train driver needs to know that, by the time they can make it to the point of being fully capable of driving a train, they will be able to support themselves.
You can look at this concept across several different careers.
For instance, a surgeon is not going to go to school for eight or more years to take a job making $30,000 a year.
The training that the train conductor goes through is significant enough to justify the pay that they will eventually receive from the job.
2. Staying Vigilant
Some people will wonder why the train conductor does so much even if the train has modern technology.
With the modern technology that many trains have, there is indeed less physical work that a train driver has to do in order to get the train from point A to point B.
However, this is not to say that a train driver can let the train drive itself.
The train driver needs to stay vigilant the entire time they are in control of the train.
Although they are sometimes rare, there are situations that happen quite often that will require a quick response from the train driver.
If the response is not quick and the situation is not handled properly, there could be lives at risk.
Train drivers need to stay vigilant the entire time they are on shift.
This is not a job where you can spend time on social media looking at what your friends are posting.
Instead, this is a job in which you will need to pay full attention to the entire time that you are working.
Staying vigilant is difficult for some, especially when spread out over long periods of time.
Therefore, train drivers should be paid according to the fact that they will need to work full and long shifts and stay focused the entire time.
3. Large Group Of People They Are Responsible For
At any given time, there could be hundreds of people on a train.
With this many people on the train, the train driver has quite a bit of responsibility on their hands.
If something were to happen to the train, it could result in a significant loss of life.
Therefore, the train driver needs to be a very responsible and diligent person.
People expect that when they get on a train, they are going to be safe and get to their destination.
If the train driver does not have the proper training, your life could be at risk.
Most people would have no issues paying a qualified train driver to get them to their destination as opposed to getting a deal on an unqualified train driver.
The companies that hire train drivers are very careful when they choose a new employee because if they are not careful about who they choose, the end result could be a major headache.
Just as when you get on a plane and expect a pilot to keep you safe, the same goes for a train driver.
For this reason, the pay is a bit higher, and it is a justified reason to pay a person more money.
4. Easy To Lose A Job
The train driver’s job does not come with much guarantee.
If you have an issue in the workplace or make a mistake while driving a train, there are really no second chances.
Most train drivers will be fired immediately, making job security in this industry quite difficult.
When a job is so easy to lose, there is often quite a bit of risk involved.
There is no doubt that being a train driver is a risky job.
Therefore, if you can make it to the level of a train driver, and you can hold on and stay employed, you will make extra money.
Because so many people can’t cut it as a train driver, companies tend to pay quite a bit more money to those who can.
If you are thinking of becoming a train driver, try to look at how long certain people have been able to keep their jobs.
Only a select few will experience long-term employment at a company as it is rare in almost every industry.
5. Retaining Licenses
Train drivers have to be licensed to drive a train.
If a train driver does not have a license, they are never going to be allowed to drive a train.
The license factor is a good thing for those that are getting on the train for a ride.
Knowing that your conductor is qualified and licensed will give you more peace of mind about their abilities and their understanding of what they are doing.
The process of getting a license, however, is only part of the journey.
Train drivers then must also work to keep their license.
If you want to keep your license, you will need to take continuing education and follow along with any other necessary measures involved in train driver licensing.
The process of retaining a train license could mean taking classes, medical exams, and more.
This, of course, takes time and is a requirement that most of us do not have to meet in our everyday jobs.
Therefore, it makes sense to consider the licensing fees and the time put in when trying to determine why train drivers are paid so much.
Without these requirements, there would likely be quite a few more incidents with trains each year.
6. High Stress Level
Driving a train is a job with a high level of stress involved.
There are lots of people depending on you to get to work or their vacation destination.
If these people miss their deadline or are late because of an issue that was caused by you, the stress is only going to get worse.
Above the time deadlines and the adherence to schedule is the safety aspect of being a conductor.
If you are not careful with the passengers on the train, there is a chance that something could happen that could take lives.
This is not something that most people deal with on a daily basis.
Most of our careers do not involve taking people’s lives into our hands.
Some people will have no interest in the career of being a train driver simply because they can’t imagine what this responsibility would be like.
Day in and day out, doing the same routes but having to deal with thousands of people and being responsible for them is quite stressful.
For all the training and work that train drivers go through before achieving the train driver position, they have earned their higher wages.
Wouldn’t you want someone who can ensure your safety to be paid enough to take care of his family and home?
Most people will have no issues with this, even if their ticket tends to cost a dollar or two more.
7. Strong Union
Train drivers have a very strong union.
When a union is strong, the pay that the workers get is usually a bit better.
Unions help to ensure a group of people who are working in the same trade have access to fair benefits and fair pay.
We already know that the schedule of the train worker can be a bit difficult to work with.
This is to be expected when entering into a job like this.
However, ensuring that the train drivers are getting paid enough money is another important role of the union.
The train drivers’ union allows the workers to have insider information about the latest pay in the industry and what they should know about ensuring they are treated fairly.
These unions continue to help raise the pay for the train drivers, and until they stop with this, the pay of the train drivers will likely continue to rise.
As long as trains remain a valid means of transportation, don’t expect to see the train unions go anywhere.
8. Essential Work
The Covid pandemic has taught us quite a bit about what essential work is and whose jobs are needed the most in the community.
Think about how your day would be impacted if your train driver didn’t show up for work.
How would you get from point A to point B without this train driver?
Your alternative may be to walk, which could take hours.
Another option is to pay for a car to take you which will undoubtedly cost more than the price of the train ticket.
The fact that train drivers are essential workers that make our society function is a major reason they are paid more money.
If this situation actually happened and your train driver did not show up to work, society would not function that day.
In addition, you would likely be willing to chip in a few extra dollars to get that train driver to show up again and to start coming back to work.
This type of position in society certainly helps to increase the pay those workers are going to get for their jobs.
The essential workers should always be paid extra to ensure that society continues to function successfully.
9. Driving A Train In All Weather Conditions
Although there are times when severe weather can shut a train down, for the most part, you are going to see trains going at all times of the day and in all weather conditions.
Train drivers are going to need to adjust their driving to manage the weather conditions that they are dealing with.
This means that when there is snow, ice, and rain, they will have to calculate the way that this is going to impact the train schedule and the safety of the passengers on the train as well.
Many times, it can take a long time to stop a train.
Train drivers will have to think about stopping their train long before they get into the station.
With weather conditions affecting the tracks, train drivers have to pay close attention and take caution when driving the train.
Knowing how to make these adjustments and to be able to adjust to the world around them is another reason that train drivers will make more money than other careers.
Although many people think that the job of a train driver is to show up and drive a train straight all day, this is not the case.
Many tracks are older and more difficult to work with, and this can change the way that the train driver has to deal with it in tough weather conditions.
You can rest assured that there is much more to driving a train than you likely realize or understand.
Only through training and experience in this industry can you understand exactly what a train driver does.
10. Small Work Pool
There are not all that many people who are trained or willing to drive a train every day.
If you are looking for a career in which there is very little competition and a strong need for great quality drivers, the train driving career could be a good one.
There are many people who want to become airline pilots.
The work pool for pilots is quite large because the benefits are clearly stated and known.
However, many people don’t realize how good a job being a train driver can be.
Therefore, the work pool is considerably smaller.
Although this is a good thing for workers, it is not all that great for companies trying to hire train drivers.
There is a small group of people to choose from, and therefore, if you want some of the best employees, the salaries they will earn are going to be quite a bit higher.
The smaller work pool will raise the salary of any career in this same scenario.
Until there is a large increase in the number of those who want to become train drivers, chances are the amount of money that these employees make will continue to go up.
In the end, it is not easy to find a great train driver, and therefore, those who are at the top of their career can charge quite a bit of money.
Hopefully, now you can better understand why train drivers are paid so much.
There is no debating the fact that these employees are valuable and that their jobs are essential.
Most people do not have a problem with train drivers making more money.
In fact, the main issue people have with pricing going up on tickets for trains is that they don’t want the railroads to make extra money.
They would rather the extra money goes to the employees driving the train, which is certainly understandable.
Becoming a train driver is an excellent job if you look for something with low competition and higher pay.