What to expect from a career as a Railway Conductor

A career as a railway conductor may not be everyone’s first thought, but rail operation professionals play a vital role in many industries, from tourism to shipping and more. Plus, with a lot of railroad workers entering their retirement years, new positions are frequently becoming available. Railway programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to enter the workforce and start their successful careers as railway conductors.

If you think a career in the rail industry might be right for you, and you want to learn more on what it’s all about, here’s what you need to know.

Railway Courses

Railway programs are short, but intensive, so students will be covering a lot of subject matter during their time in the classroom. Rail operations courses include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Performing inspections
  • Marshalling
  • Record keeping
  • Safety
  • Rules and regulations for conductors

On top of conducting, switching cars and directing other crew members, students will be prepared to handle various emergency situations. Railway programs incorporate the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR), and graduates will need to receive the CROR certificate in order to work in the industry.

A practicum will also be included as part of the curriculum, allowing students to practice their skills in real-world situations.

General Railway Program Requirements

Ontario college railway programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit and a senior math credit. Good physical health and conditioning, as well as strong awareness skills, are also recommended.

Railway Jobs and Salaries

As mentioned earlier, because of the high retirement rate, railway conductors and rail operations professionals will be in high demand. Though you may start off as a rail conductor, advancement to other rail jobs, such as locomotive engineer and management positions, is possible.

Railway conductors are typically paid by the amount of miles they travel, and shifts are drawn from a pool. Starting salary for a rail conductor is roughly $40,000, but could move up into the $80,000 range with advancement and experience.

Ontario Colleges Offering Railway Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of railway programs at Ontario colleges.

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