Yard Coupler

Switch railroad cars within yard of railroad, quarry, or similar location.
picture of Yard Coupler

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$30,000 – $69,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Yard Couplers do?

Switches railroad cars within yard of railroad, industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or similar location to load and unload cars or to make up and break up trains: Receives oral or written instructions from CONDUCTOR, YARD indicating which cars are to be switched and track assignment. Raises coupling lever to uncouple cars. Signals SWITCH TENDER to throw track switches and YARD ENGINEER to move cars, using lantern or arm signals. Climbs ladder to top of car and turns handwheel to set brakes or to control speed of car when it has been shunted. Connects airhose to cars when making up trains, using wrench. Throws track switches where no SWITCH TENDER is stationed to shunt cars to different sections of yard. May talk to CONDUCTOR, YARD or YARD ENGINEER via radiophone to give or receive switching information. May climb onto moving cars to set handbrakes and be designated Car Rider. When employed by establishment other than railroad, may be designated Industrial-Yard Brake Coupler; or according to locomotive involved as Brake Coupler, Dinkey.


Should I be a Yard Coupler?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.

  • Also known as: Air Hose Coupler, Car Coupler, Coupler, Industrial-Yard Brake Coupler, Railroad Yard Worker, Switch Coupler

    How to become a Yard Coupler

    Most Yard Couplers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9daaaa&chl=no+college+%2894%25%29|certificate+%286%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,94,94
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