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.