Edward R. Hamberger, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO, says that, “With freight demand expected to jump 67% by 2020, the rail industry offers stability, with fantastic opportunities for a long-term career path. We’re preparing for a bright future.” Not only has intermodal business significantly increased, retirement reform legislation passed in 2002 lowered the age from 62 to 60 for railroad workers to receive full benefits. AAR notes that with an older U.S. workforce, now nearly 40% of all rail employees are eligible to retire in the next 10 years.
Today’s railroad uses a great deal of technology, meaning that new workers will require a high degree of expertise. AAR says that railroads offer competitive salaries with locomotive engineers able to earn as much as $100,000 per year, and the average annual salary for Class I employees being $61,895 in 2003. AAR notes that most openings at major rail hubs are in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Seattle and St. Louis. There are significant rural openings in Alliance, NB; Clovis, NM; Havre, MT; Galesburg, IL; Gillette WY; and Springfield, MO. Get more information at the Association’s web site, www.aar.org