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Women in Rail

From trainyards to leadership offices, women have a fundamental place in Canadian rail operations. They’re train engineers, safety inspectors, and business leaders.

They’re railroaders.

In 2021, women railroaders made up 11.8% of the Canadian rail labour force. We can do better. The railway industry has historically been a male-dominated space — but there’s no reason it has to be. Together we can create an environment for women to contribute, grow, and drive Canada’s railways forward.

The Railway Association of Canada is proud to support and celebrate the women who keep our trains moving.

Why work in rail?

If you’re a woman and you’re on the fence about a career in the rail industry, consider this:

  • Canada’s railways are a backbone of our economy ― transporting tens of millions of passengers and approximately $350 billion worth of goods across our country each year.
  • Not only do railways move people and goods safely and efficiently, but trains relieve road congestion and are highly fuel-efficient, helping to limit harmful emissions to our environment.
  • You’ll join the over 34,000 Canadians working in railway operations, maintenance, technology, customer service and leadership positions.
  • Railway employees earn an average of more than $100,000 a year ― among the highest annual earnings of any Canadian industry. (The total comp, including benefits and pensions, is strong, too!)
  • You can also choose to work at one of Canada’s largest employers (CN or CP) or at a smaller rail business, closer to home.

Resources for women in the rail industry

Currently working in the rail industry?  Here are some resources to support your growth and professional development development:

Resources for prospective women in rail

We’re committed to supporting and developing the next generation of young railroaders — including young women. Consider these resources as you consider a career in rail:

women in rail

Violet Isabel Cumming

Inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2005, Violet Isabella Cumming exemplifies the contribution of women to the Canadian railway industry.

Susan Anholt

Susan Anholt is a community leader and volunteer in Kenaston, the location of an important Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) feeder line in central Saskatchewan.