Yard Hostler

Move around train cars and their products.
picture of Yard Hostler

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $56,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Yard Hostlers do?

Trains do a great job of moving items in a straight line from point A to point B. They’re far from nimble, however, and when they arrive at their destination, they often must be unloaded, taken apart, and put back together in different configurations. You do this work as a Yard Hostler.

When you arrive at work as a Yard Hostler, your boss tells you what you have to move that day. You stay in constant contact with your boss throughout your shift via walkie-talkie. While you may be comfortable using text messages to communicate with your friends, it’s likely that your protective gloves will bundle up your thumbs. Yelling into a walkie-talkie will be much easier for you.

As a Yard Hostler, you use a specialized truck to pick up and remove containers from the train. You then deposit them in another place for storage. Sometimes, you pick up containers from this location and attach them to different waiting trains. Wherever you bring those containers, though, you write everything down so that your Supervisors will know exactly what you’ve done and where important shipments are located.

Before a train leaves the station, you inspect it carefully, making sure it’s in proper working order. You check that each car is properly connected, fixing any errors that you find. You also walk along the tracks in the yard to ensure that they aren’t bent or malfunctioning. Remember to keep an eye out for incoming trains as you do these inspections.


Should I be a Yard Hostler?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • 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.

  • How to become a Yard Hostler

    Most Yard Hostlers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9ocaaa&chl=no+college+%2879%25%29|certificate+%2819%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,79,79
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