Kentucky Railroad Jobs

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

Kentucky defines Appalachia and is best known for its rich source of bituminous coal which railroads still tap annually. If you are interested in Kentucky railroad jobs then you most likely will be employed by a large Class I being that they make up more than 80% of the state's trackage today. Predominantly, this includes CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern although Union Pacific, BNSF Railway, and even Canadian National all clip Kentucky's extreme western region. Additionally, the state is home to a handful of short lines and one regional, the Paducah & Louisville Railway. 

Louisville & Nashville F7A #839 and a pair of RS3's head eastbound past Milepost 6 in St. Matthews, Kentucky with a mixed freight during February, 1962.

Before deciding if a career as a railroader is really something you are interested you first may want to learn a little more about it (if you are pretty unfamiliar with the industry). Being a railroader is really a lifestyle more than a job, especially if you take on the task as a train crewman/woman. They spend countless hours out on the road and are home perhaps less than they are in the cab of a locomotive. Of course, transportation is not the only field to pursue in the industry as you can also work in general maintenance, or if you have a college degree (or plan to go) consider a career in management. 

Many Class I railroads these days either offer scholarships or summertime internships/graduate work.   For more information about a position you will need to contact whichever railroad you are interested in working for. Finally, please do not contact me regarding possible position openings, as I cannot provide any help. You will simply need to contact the railroad(s) in question and most of the larger companies request you visit their website regarding career opportunities. 

Class I Railroads/Amtrak


BNSF Railway

Canadian National Railway

CSX Transportation

Norfolk Southern Railway

Short Lines And Regionals

Indiana Rail Road: This now large, profitable, and successful Class II regional began humbly in 1986 when it acquired 155 miles of former ICG property between Indianapolis, Indiana and Newton, Illinois. Over the time the system continued adding trackage and spinoffs from the larger Class Is, aggressively working to grow its customer base in the meantime. Today, the road owns lines that trace their roots back to multiple "fallen flag" railroads spanning some 500 miles and carrying hundreds of thousands of carloads annually. For information regarding employment please visit the company's website. 

Kentucky West Tennessee Railway: The KWT operates a 69-mile system of unconnected lines reaching Murray, Kentucky. The road has been a G&W property since 2005 and hauls only a select few types of freight. 

Louisville & Indiana Railroad: This short line, an Anacostia Rail Holdings property, has been in operation since 1994 that operates 106 miles of trackage between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky. It moves more than 35,000 carloads annually. Please visit Anacostia's website regarding job information. 

Paducah & Louisville Railway: The P&L is owned by Four Rivers Transportation, Inc., a CSX subsidiary. The railroad stretches throughout western Kentucky along a system covering 265 miles between primarily Louisville and Paducah. Today, this Class II, regional moves a wide variety of freight totalling 200,000 carloads annually. The company maintains its own website where information regarding employment may be found. 

RJ Corman, Bardstown Line: Another division of RJ Corman, which operates several rail lines in the eastern United States, this line runs roughly 20 miles from a connection with CSX west of Clermont and running east of Bardstown. Please visit Corman's website for employment information. 

RJ Corman, Central Kentucky Lines: Another division of RJ Corman this collection of lines that comprise two different sections; one runs between Versailles and Lexington while the other serves Louisville and Winchester via Frankfort and Lexington. Both routes total roughly 115 miles. 

West Tennessee Railroad: This short line has been in service since 1984 utilizing the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio main line between Jackson and Kenton, Tennessee. In 2001 it expanded operations to Corinth, Mississippi and Fulton, Kentucky. Today, the road handles a variety of freight. Address: 1061 James Buchanan Drive, Jackson, Tennessee 38301. 

Top Of Page

› Kentucky Railroad Jobs

Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way.  Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that.  If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survery's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer.  It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!

Studying Diesels

You will be hard pressed at finding a better online resource regarding diesel locomotives than Craig Rutherford's  The website contains everything from historic (fallen flags) to contemporary (Class I's, regionals, short lines, and even some museums/tourist lines) rosters, locomotive production information, technical data, all notable models cataloged by the five major builders (American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, General Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin), and much more.  A highly recommended database!

Electro-Motive Database

In 1998 a gentleman by the name of Andre Kristopans put together a web page highlighting virtually every unit every out-shopped by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division.  Alas, in 2013 the site closed by thankfully Don Strack rescued the data and transferred it over to his site (another fine resource).  If you are researching anything EMD related please visit this page first.  The information includes original numbers, serials, and order numbers.