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BCR Hoghead
I expect your hours that you work will depend on whether you are on a regular yard job or extra board. You can work up to 12 hours a shift then have a minimum of 10 hours off and be subject to call again.


No such rest law in Canada Greg. If you work 12 hrs you're on mandatory 8 hrs rest(6 with a 2 hr call). That said, you can book up to 24 hrs rest after a road trip, 14 hrs rest after a yard shift, or 72 hrs rest on the BCR. And on the mainline you can take 48 hrs off once you hit 1075 miles. On the CN mainline the crews can request relief after 10 hrs for a conductor only crew or 11 hrs for a full crew(engineer, conductor and brakeman). We have a similar relief clause on the BCR, if a crew requests "Rest and Relief" CN is obligated to have that crew at the terminal tying up at 10 hrs.

Chris de Vries

"They fixed these cars?"
In Canada you only go on mandatory rest if you have more than 10 hours on duty. If you have less than 10 hours on duty you can go right back to work and work up to your 18th hour without rest. After 18 hours or two trips back to back you go on an automatic 8 hours off at the home terminal and 6 at the away terminal. (You can book up to 24 at home and 8 at the away.) - Road service.

In the yard if you work your 8 without any overtime, you can go right back to work and work another 8 hours for a total of 16 without rest. Then you get an 8-14 hours rest after that.

The 6 hours off and call time only applies in yard service at the home terminal and at the away from home terminal.

Minimum of 8 hours then add the call time in road service at the home terminal.

The clasuse for relief en route is 10 hours in single sub service and 11 or 12 in extended run based upon the length of the sub. I don't believe the size of the crew has anything to do with it.

Unless you are on an assignment that has scheduled days and start times, you are on a rotating board that takes the first available person. After your rest is up you could still wait for 8, 12, 20 hours or even 3 days before you go back to work. It all depends on traffic flow, vacancies and where they need people.
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New Member
I had the interview after the aptitude test, passed, did my medical, passed, now i'm waiting on hearing back. my online thing said " medical assessment" now it's saying under review. I'm wondering if anyone else knows just how long it takes from your medical until you hear back from a person at CN ?


New Member
So I passed my switch test, I thought it was a bit of a challenge as the questions were getting harder but managed to figure it out and it wasn't that bad.As for the interview I thought i did well, some questions seemed fair and some I had to think about and be confident with the right answers but overall it was good.Find out soon by this week if i get my medical to go through.

Give me an example of the switch test question, I will be taking it soon.


New Member
basically you have to rearrange the train cars into a particular order and they ask you how many forward movements you would have to make, how many connections, disconnections, reverse movements..
it's all pretty straight forward.


New Member
Just applied for a conductor job in Toronto and my resume must have hit the scanner keywords *lets have a look* as I have just completed the online test.

I think I have failed as the test was over very quickly and I think only 2 sections were completed. The personality test .. these are a pain as there is no wrong answer IMO, then word association followed by a few puzzles in 8 minutes. As I only got one 8 min test I assume i blew it !

No matter 4,500 redundancies coming up on CN so i find it odd that they are advertising for this role.

Looks like some pretty clever folk never posted there sucess so assume they did not get any further either.

Just out of interest how far away am I with my vision of the job?

Able to think quickly at solving mental math problems
Brighter than average near or at top of class at math
Able to withstand baking heat and -20/30 degs C
Able to function at highest level after 4 hours sleep
Able to sleep over a rope or standing up when travelling
Willing to work 7 days a week every week

Looks like a very narrow choice from an outsider such as myself these people are hard to find.
Born leader, physically and mentally strong, strong family resilience to cope with away time. Smart to keep learning, way over average common sense. Socially able to cope with family/friends with time away. More lifestyle than job and one mistake and that it consequences are heavy.

Is there such a thing as a train conductor that just works on passenger trains? Ensuring people enter and leave safely, collecting/issuing tickets that also travels the length and bredth of Canada or even into the USA? Or is this role left to older/senior conductors as they become less able to cope with the harshness of heavy lifting and extreme conditions? Great website BTW !


New Member
CN Conductor

So i applied for the conductor position in cn about 2-3 months ago. My status says completed and passed online testing. I even got an email stating someone would contact me shortly for an interview or something. But i still haven't heard back or got a call. What should i do at this point? Keep waiting?


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
In the US you are limited to 276 hours per month. If you get six consecutive starts (work six days in a row), you are required to have 48 hours off. Seven starts gets you 72 hours off. Seven starts only occurs if you catch an outbound train to another terminal on your sixth start. In order to get back home, you'd have to take another trip - your seventh - which gets you the extra day off. Be aware these days off are not paid. If you aren't either marked up to a guaranteed extra board and available for duty or actually working a yard job or on a train, you aren't being paid.

You are limited to working 12 hours in a single tour of duty. Depending on the agreement your railroad and/or terminal operates under, you may or may not go on overtime at 8 hours. Working beyond 12 hours is a violation of the 2008 Railroad Safety Improvement Act, so it's a big deal. However, you may be waiting on a siding and hit 12 hours and it's another 2 hours before the relief crew shows up. You are entitled at that point to your rest time plus any time extra you waited. You cannot perform any work during time over 12 hours or someone will get in trouble, so it is your responsibility to make sure you have done all the work you can do and if not, notified the dispatcher, yardmaster or trainmaster in charge of the territory you're on.

As the low man in seniority, expect to work the worst jobs on the railroad. You will work on holidays, you will work in the snow, you will work at night, you will sweat in the summertime, the days will run together and you will not see your family. Just about the time you reach the top of the extra board, you will be bumped and you will miss out on collecting guarantee for the day. You will probably be furloughed, so don't burn any bridges with your previous employer, since you may be back asking for part time work.

Working for the railroad may seem like just another job, but it is not even close. You will realize that when you are ten times out on the extra board as a snowstorm is arriving with no chance of getting called for work. Sure enough, as the storm rolls in, you are called. Just as your rest day approaches and you will get some well deserved time off, the phone will ring at 2359, one minute before you are off for the next day. When you are wanting to get home quickly from the away from home terminal and its looking like you are lined up for the hot Z train, you get called for the junk train with work at terminals along the way. You'll probably go dead halfway home and arrive just as the wife and kids are headed off to work and school. Sure enough, you are called just as they return from soccer practice and a long day at the office. It's like that every day, weeks, months and years on end. It's not hard work, but it will wear on you.

I work in the US, so I can't comment on what you may experience in Canada. However, railroading is railroading, so I expect our brethren north of the 49th parallel experience much of the same we do in the US, hours of service laws notwithstanding.


New Member
Yes, it's good practice as patience will come in handy as a railroader:)

I started applying 14 months ago for several locations (I have previous CN experience), completed all online & in-person testing, and just had my medical this week...

There will be many retirements in the ensuing few years so lots of opportunity!

So i applied for the conductor position in cn about 2-3 months ago. My status says completed and passed online testing. I even got an email stating someone would contact me shortly for an interview or something. But i still haven't heard back or got a call. What should i do at this point? Keep waiting?

choo choo those redundancies (layoffs) are at CP not CN...
No matter 4,500 redundancies coming up on CN so i find it odd that they are advertising for this role.
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