Industries & Professions /
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for railroad conductors will decline through 2022. Rail passenger services to many points have been discontinued. Although the volume of railroad freight business is expected to increase in the coming years, the use of mechanization, automation, and larger, faster trains is expected to reduce the need for new conductors. Computers are now used to keep track of empty freight cars, match empty cars with the closest load, and dispatch trains. Also, new work rules that allow two- and three-person crews instead of the traditional five-person crews are becoming more widely used, and these factors combine to lessen the need for conductors and other crew workers. Some employment growth may occur, however, due to the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act, which increases the number of hours crews must rest between shifts. More workers will be needed to fill in these gaps.