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As a Conductor, you will coordinate the activities of freight and passenger train crews while striving to ensure customer satisfaction, and efficient, cost-effective operations. There is plenty of opportunity for career advancement too―Conductors often go on to become Locomotive Engineers or Trainmasters.


  • Carry out instructions regarding a train’s schedule and specific movements
  • Handle the switching of cars, including connecting and disconnecting cars
  • Communicate, interpret and relay signals affecting train movements
  • Communicate with crew members using specific hand or radio signals to indicate direction of movement, the need to stop a train, or to set or release air brakes
  • Prepare and complete reports relevant to train orders and switching lists
  • Move trains using remote-controlled devices
  • Be 100 per cent committed to safety

Typical Working Conditions, Hours & Salary:

  • Railways operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a Conductor, you will not work a typical nine-to-five shift. You will work irregular hours and must be available to work weekends and holidays.
  • In some cases you will travel. This will usually be up to 320 kilometres from your home terminal.
  • This is a job that requires excellent health and conditioning as it involves constant physical activity.
  • A typical starting salary for a Conductor is $47,000 to $60,000 a year.

Training Requirements & Qualifications:

Railways put new recruits through rigorous training programs―including anywhere from three to six months of hands-on training in the field―before they become qualified Conductors. Some railways require additional hands-on work experience in a rail yard before new recruits can apply to become Conductors.

By regulation, new recruits have to pass the Canadian Rail Operating Rules, railway signals and dangerous goods exams in order to become qualified Conductors. Depending on where they work in Canada, Conductors will have to re-certify their credentials by passing these exams either every two or every three years.

Students wishing to get a head start on their Conductor training can enrol in the Railway Conductor Program offered by a select group of colleges across Canada.