New Mexico Railroad Jobs

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

If you are interested in New Mexico railroad jobs you have few options outside of the large Class I companies (BNSF Railway and Union Pacific) as the state is primarily home to their through main lines which connect Chicago with Los Angeles. Today, BNSF and UP make up nearly 81% of the states total trackage with just a few short lines (Santa Fe Southern Railway, Southwestern Railroad, Texas-New Mexico Railroad, and Arizona Eastern Railway) making up the rest. Additionally, Amtrak operates through New Mexico and the recently started New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter train serves the Albuquerque region.

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific 2-8-0 #1732 carries out switching chores at the Southern Pacific interchange in Tucumcari, New Mexico on May 11, 1940. This little Class S-39 was originally manufactured by American Locomotive's Brooks Works in 1903. It spent its final days performing duties such as this and retired shortly after this photo was taken.

If you are seriously interested in pursuing a railroad career, especially in either the transportation or maintenance fields (which include such positions as conductor, engineer, or general track maintainer), the work can be brutally difficult. Today, the physical demands are not quite the same as they were before heavy mechanization decreased the need for so much human labor (although it hasn't completely disappeared). However, perhaps the hardest aspect of the job is the sheer number of hours you must be on call, which usually means long, 12-hour days. While smaller railroads usually offer a more predictable work schedule they cannot match the level of pay, benefits, and retirement of Class Is.   Ultimately, it comes down to whether you think a career as a railroader is right for you. Lastly, if you are a college student you may want to see what internship programs BNSF, Union Pacific, or really any of the Class I railroads have to offer. Most offer some type of summertime management/business program for college students to help them get an early start in the field. Finally, I cannot guarantee that the contact information listed here is entirely, 100% accurate. However, as far as I am aware it is up-to-date. 

Class I Railroads/Amtrak


BNSF Railway

Union Pacific

Short Lines

Arizona Eastern Railway: The Arizona Eastern is a large operation utilizing more than 200 miles of trackage between Clifton and Miami, Arizona while it briefly enters New Mexico. For more many years the property was owned by Southern Pacific before spun-off. After going through a few owners the AE is currently the property of large short line conglomerate Genesee & Wyoming, which may be contacted regarding career opportunities. 

Navajo Mine Railroad: This privately owned, electrified operation's sole purpose is to shuttle coal from BHP Billiton's Navajo Coal Mine to the the Four Corners Generating Station. It has been in operation since 1974 and was expanded in 1984, currently operated 14 miles of track. There is no connection with the national rail network. 

Texas-New Mexico Railroad: The Texas-New Mexico operates just over 100 miles of trackage between Monahans, Texas and Lovington, New Mexico. The company has went through various ownership since 1989 and is currently the property of Iowa Pacific. Recently, the company is working to greatly updated and upgrade the property for heavier freight use in the coming year. Iowa Pacific is an expanding short line system which operates several rail lines across the country and may be contacted through their website regarding possible job opportunities. 

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› New Mexico 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.