Railroad Jobs in Idaho - Boise, Nampa, Lewiston, Coeur D'alene

Idaho’s rich railroad history can still be seen today throughout the state, with over 1,600 miles of railroad track being built in the last 150 years, creating railroad jobs and career opportunities. The first railroad that reached the Gem State was back in 1871, when the Utah Northern built a railroad from Ogden, Utah, through Idaho with the final destination Montana.

The state of Idaho has a population of approx 1.7 million people, being the 14th largest state in the nation and the 7th least densely populated, source.

Before we start researching the railroad job providers in the state, let’s take a look at the state economy and what are it’s sectors.

The state of Idaho has a quite diversificated economy, with many active industries, like lumber and wood products, machinery, chemical products, paper products, electronics manufacturing, silver and other mining and tourism. As of today, the largest sectors are science and technology.

As you probably thought, there is a correlation between industries that need transportation and railroads, like the lumber and wood products, or chemical products, they all need railroad infrastructure to properly be traded within the nation or world.

Two (2) Class Is railroads, actively serving the state and potentially offering railroad jobs in the Idaho.

These two Class I are BNSF Railway and Union Pacific. As mentioned before, working for a Class Is takes sacrifices, most of these railroad companies expect you to be open for a flexible schedule, which means working longer shifts and weekends. I don’t want to discourage you, job benefits are great, as well as the retirement package.

railroad jobs in idaho
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As of May 2019, according to BLS.gov, there are 160 locomotive engineers in Idaho with an annual mean salary of $67,550 and 240 train conductors and yardmasters, with an annual mean salary of $56,980.

If you want to learn more about the railroad workers responsibilities start with the differences between a train conductor and an engineer and what are the highest railroad paying jobs.

If you consider that Class Is is not what you want, there are few smaller railroads operating throughout the state, these are called Class II also known as Regional Railroads and Class III also known as Shortline and Terminal Railroads. If you are wondering what’s the difference between them and why they’re classified like that, please read the best railroads to work for.

The Regional Railroad (Class II) that might provide railroad jobs in Idaho is Montana Rail Link, as the name says, the railroad runs mostly through Montana, but it crosses Idaho as well, so you can try to see if they hire locally.

Railroad worker pak

Most of the railroads in the state of Idaho are Class III, seven (7) of them to be more exactly. Now you need to know that the salaries and benefits are way different than what you’ll get working for a Class I, but you might be able to still get decent dollars and be home more often. I suggest you check with all Classes , and compare each offer closely, choosing what serves you best.

The Shortline and Terminal Railroads that might offer railroads jobs in Idaho are:

The BG&CM Railroad or Bountiful Grain and Craig Mountain Railroad (reporting mark BGCM) operates a line between Spalding and Cottonwood, along the former Second Subdivision of the Camas Prairie Railroad.

The Eastern Idaho Railroad (reporting mark EIRR) operates two large rail segments in the state of Idaho, the Southern Segment which consist of a total 152 miles of track and the Northern Segment which consist of a total of 119 miles of track.

Great Northwest Railroad (GRNW) is located in north central Idaho, and runs on approximately 77 miles of track. The railroad runs from Lewiston, Idaho, and interchanges with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Union Pacific Railroad at Ayer, Washington.

The Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad (INPR) is a shortline in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon. It operates on 120 miles of former Union Pacific lines, and is a subsidiary of the Rio Grande Pacific Corp. INPR headquarters are in Emmett, Idaho. As of 2019, the INPR operated two separate sections of track, one running from La Grande to Elgin, Oregon, and the other running from Payette through Emmett and then into the canyon of the North Fork of the Payette River northward to Cascade considered the most scenic stretch of the INPR. The Boise Valley Railroad (BVRR) is a shortline railroad between Nampa, Idaho with Boise, Idaho and Wilder, Idaho.

The St. Maries River Railroad (STMA) is a shortline Class III railroad that operates 71 miles of track in Idaho. STMA operates between Plummer, Idaho and St. Maries, Idaho on what was the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Northwest main line across the Rockies.

The Washington and Idaho Railway (WIR) was a shortline railroad that operated in the area south of Spokane, Washington, connecting the BNSF Railway at Marshall to Palouse, Washington, Harvard, Idaho, and Moscow, Idaho. They ceased operations and a new operator took over Spokane, Spangle & Palouse Railway.

These are all the Class III railroads that I am aware of, serving in the state, I suggest you contact them directly for employment inquiry.

I need to mention that there are a few passenger trains operating in the state as well, they might offer jobs, the Class I, AmTrak, and two small railroads, which are not necessarily serving the purpose of transportation but entertainment/ vacations, these are Thunder Mountain Line and Silverwood Theme Park Steam Train.

As you see there is enough railroad activity in the state, chances for you to secure employment from some of these railroads are good. Whether you’re looking to become a train conductor, locomotive engineer, dispatcher, yardmaster you should start sending your resume.

Good luck!

Looking for a railroad job in a different state? Check out the map below!