What It’s Like to Work in Rail Services

The opportunity to work onboard a train in Alaska is definitely unique! Let us give you some insight into the types of available positions and what kind of personality traits make an excellent Rail Operator.

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  • Some of our rail workers are fascinated by trains from a very young age and grow up knowing they want to work in the rail industry. Others come to us on a whim and quickly fall in love with the culture and machinations of travel by train. Interested in life as a Rail Operator? Here’s a little background and insight on the job.

    The only hard-and-fast requirement for Rail Operators is that they’re friendly and ready to learn. You’ll be interacting with passengers and other rail team members on a daily basis. You’ll need to get to know the area and the ins-and-outs of the train car and help spread your knowledge to anyone with a question.

    We’re not going to lie to you: the hours are pretty long. Most employees in Rail Services work a 15-hour day. However, we are proud to abide by Alaskan state wage and hour law, and you’ll be making time-and-a-half for hours over 8 in a day or over 40 in a week.

    A common schedule for rail employees is 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 3 days off. This means you’ll have plenty of free time to explore the surrounding areas and the great outdoors of the Alaskan landscape.

    Alaska Tour Jobs has many openings on board trains, which you can view fully at our Rail Services page. You can also learn a little more about what each of these roles does by reading our blog post, “What’s It Like to Work On an Alaska Tour Train?” Mostly, we want to let our employees tell you about life on the rails themselves. Here’s what a few past rail employees have to say:

    “I was hired and relocated to Anchorage to work the summer on the Rail. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Every day on the Rail you had such wonderful scenery with Mt. McKinley as your backdrop for a good portion of the trip. Wildlife sightings were a normal part of your day – it was great hearing the guests shout “Moose three o’clock!” and the whole car clapping and cheering with excitement.”

    “Why do I keep coming back to work here? It’s fun. I get to share the Alaska I love with people and hear about their experiences on vacation. The people I work with are great, too.”

    “My first summer, I was a host guide (aka rail guide). I loved it. The hours were long, but after the first few runs, I really didn’t notice. The first season flew by, and I stayed the winter in Anchorage, working at the hospital, playing with the Anchorage Symphony and telling everyone about what a great time I had on the train.”

    Joining one of our teams onboard a train in Alaska is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with this fast-paced, unique, and people-oriented position. Have any questions about the role? Reach out and we’ll happily answer them! We love talking about life on the rails.