Norfolk Southern offering starting bonuses of up to $5,000 for conductor trainees

By Staff Writer Atlanta Trend
  • Feb 28, 2022

Norfolk Southern Corporation has announced that it is offering starting bonuses of up to $5,000 for conductor trainees in priority locations, and $2,500 for other locations. Priority locations include: Binghamton, NY; Buffalo, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Louisville, KY; Manassas, VA; Harrisburg, PA; Conway, PA; Birmingham, AL; Sheffield, AL; Chattanooga, TN; Roanoke, VA; and Linwood, NC.


“Our conductors play a critical role in keeping the trains moving that transport the goods that power our nation’s economy. We are actively hiring people who want a high degree of responsibility, thrive in autonomy, and desire a sense of pride in the work they do. In return, they can expect great pay, best-in-class healthcare benefits, technical training, and professional growth opportunities,” said Brad Dodd, Director Talent Acquisition at Norfolk Southern.


Once training is completed, Norfolk Southern conductors are guaranteed minimum annual pay of $52,000, participate in the Railroad Retirement System, in addition to a 401(k) savings option, as well as other competitive benefits. Conductor’s annual guaranteed minimum earnings progressively increase over their next four years of service to approximately $63,500. But with additional work opportunities at their service location, most conductors earn far more than the guaranteed minimum.


Norfolk Southern conductors are responsible for the safe and efficient movement of freight trains. Offering a high degree of responsibility and autonomy, a conductor’s job can include coupling railcars to build trains, delivering railcars to local customers, and transporting trains hundreds of miles. Conductors will operate locomotives when achieving promotion to Locomotive Engineer. Applicants only need to be 18 years of age and successfully complete a standard background check.


“One of the clear benefits of our industry is the opportunity for future advancement and the potential for increased earnings. For example, a conductor can be promoted to a locomotive engineer position which has guaranteed minimum annual pay of approximately $94,000, along with benefits. Many of our engineers earn more than $100,000 with the work opportunities at their locations,” added Dodd.


New hire conductor trainees are currently eligible for incentive bonuses totaling $2,500, or $5,000 in priority markets, for achieving the below milestones:


  • $500 ($1,000 for priority locations) upon completion of training examinations.


  • $2,000 ($4,000 for priority locations) upon successful completion of the conductor training program paid in two installments: $1,000 ($2,000 for priority locations) upon conductor training program completion; $1,000 ($2,000 for priority locations) nine months after conductor training program completion.

Conductors and engineers participate in the Railroad Employees National Health & Welfare Plan, which offers best-in-class healthcare coverage that exceeds typical government and private sector employee coverage. Healthcare coverage is effective the first day of the second calendar month that they are employed by Norfolk Southern. After one year of employment, employees and their families are eligible for dental insurance and a $20,000 life insurance plan for the employee. Additional information can be found at


Norfolk Southern utilizes a comprehensive training program for both conductors and locomotive engineers, consisting of classroom and field training. Successful completion of these programs is a requirement for employment. Conductor trainees should expect to complete a training program of approximately 10-13 weeks before promoting to a conductor position. The first two weeks of training occur at the Norfolk Southern Training Center in McDonough, GA. The remaining weeks of training take place at or near their hiring location. The company provides all the technical training and tools conductors need to be both safe and successful on the job.