If you are interested in California railroad jobs there are probably few other states with so many available companies to choose from. Not only do Class Is BNSF Railway and Union Pacific operate nearly 5,500 rail miles throughout California but the state is also home to several smaller railroads including regionals (Class IIs), short lines (Class IIIs), and terminal companies. And, of course, Amtrak operates throughout the state fielding not only long distance passenger trains like the Sunset Limited and Coast Starlight but also regional trains such as the Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner (heck, their website has a section dedicated just to its California operations). Along with Amtrak there are also several other commuter and light rail transit operations in the state.
One important point which needs to be addressed, and one which I have covered many times before. If you are unfamiliar with the railroad industry but are particularly interested in working for a Class I in either the fields of maintenance or transportation please understand that the work can be quite difficult and dangerous with long hours on the job required. For instance, it is not uncommon for conductors and engineers to work regular 12 hour shifts for days and be away from home on a regular basis. If you have a family or plan to and wish to spend a lot of time with them, railroading may not be the career for you. There are plenty of positive aspects to being a railroader, however, including great pay and retirement. In the end, it simply comes to down to priorities if you think the job is for you.
Of note, if you are in college or plan to attend many Class I railroads offer scholarships and summertime internship/graduate programs. You will need to visit their career pages for more information. Please note that by contacting me concerning job information is of little use because there simply is not a lot of help I can provide. If you have questions or concerns regarding a particular position you will need to contact the railroad in question.
(To search for California railroad jobs directly please use the below search box from Indeed.com.)
Short Lines And Regionals
Many of the regional and short line railroads listed below are
subsidiaries of one of the following companies.
Genesee & Wyoming
Anacostia & Pacific Company, Inc.
Watco Companies, LLC
Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad: The CO&P is a G&W shortline serving western Oregon and the northern area of California.
San Joaquin Valley Railroad: The San Joaquin Valley Railroad is another G&W operation serving two broken stretches of railroad in central California.
Arizona & California Railroad: The Arizona &
California is yet another G&W property serving both states.
California Northern Railroad: Another G&W shortline the California Northern serves the area north of San Francisco on two broken stretches of railroad.
Carrizo Gorge Railway: This independent shortline serves the
area of San Diego operating about 80 miles of track.
Central California Traction Company: This switching railroad has been in operation since 1905 serving the Port of Stockton. For contact information please visit their website.
Los Angeles Junction Railway: Owned by BNSF Railway.
Modesto and Empire Traction Company: A switching/terminal railroad serving Modesto since 1909. For contact information please visit their website.
Napa Valley Railroad: A very popular excursion train which may
one day operate freight trains again. I am not sure if they offer many
Oakdale Traction Corporation: This railroad operates a short,
one-mile segment of track in Oakland.
Oakland Terminal Railway: Owned by Union Pacific and BNSF Railway.
Pacific Harbor Line, Inc.: The Pacific Harbor Line is a
Anacostia & Pacific property serving the Ports of Long Beach and Los
Angeles since 1997.
Pacific Sun Railroad: The Pacific Sun is a Watco short line.
Quincy Railroad: This 3-mile shortline is owned by Sierra Pacific Industries. To visit their website concerning possible employment opportunities please visit their website.
Richmond Pacific Railroad: A terminal railroad owned by the Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation. For contact information please visit their website.
Sacramento Valley Railroad: A Patriot Rail Corporation property.
San Diego & Imperial Valley Railroad: Another G&W property serving extreme southern California.
Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific Railway: Also a popular California excursion train operation. To visit their website for employment opportunities please visit their website.
Santa Maria Valley Railroad: An independent shortline which has been in operation since 1911. For contact information please visit their website.
Sierra Northern Railway: The Sierra Northern is an independent short line operating in northern California. For contact information please visit their website.
Stockton Terminal & Eastern Railroad: This terminal railroad has been in operation since 1908 serving the Port of Stockton. For contact information please visit their website.
Trona Railway: This railroad is owned by Searles Valley Minerals. To contact the railroad: 13068 Main Street Trona, CA 93562.
Tulare Valley Railroad: The Tulare Valley is a 6-mile shortline owned by V&S Railway, LLC of Salt Lake City. For contact information please visit their website.
Ventura County Railroad: The Ventura County Railroad is another G&W property serving the Port of Hueneme near Oxnard.
West Isle Line, Inc.: This railroad is owned by Western Farm Service by operates under contract, thus, they have no employees of their own.
Yreka Western Railroad: The Yreka Western used to operate excursion trains but now only serves its freight customers in northern California. For contact information; Yreka Western Railroad Company, 300 East Miner Street, Yreka, CA 96097.
Check out the website's digital book (E-book), An Atlas To Classic Short Lines, which features system maps and a brief background of 46 different historic railroads. To learn more please click on the image below.