For the state's beauty and vastness, Montana railroad jobs are mostly relegated to only the two Class Is which operate there, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific (the BNSF itself makes up nearly 60% of the state's trackage). Additionally, Montana is home to a few Class II, regionals (Dakota, Missouri Valley, & Western and Montana Rail Link) along with just a small handful of Class III, short lines. Of note, Amtrak's famous and historic Empire Builder also operates through Montana. Despite the state's lack of railroads (years ago it was home to many more, notably the Milwaukee Road) it does originate a lot of freight tonnage with coal making up 68% of the total.
Being a railroader is a tough job all by itself but add to this Montana's brutal winter months and it makes the task that much more difficult. Because the state is mostly home to Class Is, or large Class IIs, if you hire on expect to work long hours and be away from home regularly. It's these issues, in particular, that either drive many away from railroading or not stick with the job. In truth, it's not for everyone which is why many railroaders say it's as much a lifestyle as it is a career. There are some very nice benefits to being a railroader, however, including outstanding pay and retirement. In the end, you will have to decide for yourself if you think a career in the industry is something you truly want to do.
On a related note, if you are either in
college or plan
to attend and are interested in the field of business (such as
management) you may want to check into the summer internship and
graduate programs many Class Is have to offer (some also offer
(To search for Montana railroad jobs directly please use the below search box from Indeed.com.)
Class I Railroads
Short Lines And Regional Railroads
Some of the short line railroads listed below are subsidiaries of one of the following companies. To learn more about employment opportunities with them please visit their website:
Watco Companies, LLC
Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western: The DMV&W, a privately owned company, operates more than 300 miles of former Soo Line trackage in North Dakota and Montana. To contact the railroad regarding possible employment opportunities please click here to visit their website.
Montana Rail Link: MRL is one of the larger Class IIs in the country as it operates nearly 1,000 miles of trackage between Montana, Idaho, and Washington. The railroad has done so well in recent years that it has purchased brand new locomotives, an uncommon occurrence these days for non-Class I operations.
Anaconda & Pacific Railway: The BA&P is a
historic shortline based in Anaconda, Montana that dates back to the
late 19th century. The railroad was once electrified and for years
hauled mined ores. Today, the company is owned by the Patriot Rail
Central Montana Rail: This shortline operates more than 80 miles
of track between Moccasin and Geraldine on former Milwaukee Road
trackage once reaching to Great Falls, Winnett, Winifred, and Agawam.
To contact the railroad; P. O. Box 868, Denton, Montana 59430.
Mission Mountain Railroad: The Mission Mountain Railroad is a
Watco Companies shortline operating about 40 miles of unconnected track
in northwestern Montana.
Yellowstone Valley Railroad: Another Watco shortline, this
railroad operates more than 170 miles of former Great Northern trackage
in northeastern Montana.
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.