Yeah the training will consume most of your time. You need to score high on the exams and there's lots to learn. The teacher will walk you through everything but there's a TON of info. It used to take guys 2 years of on the job training to become fully qualified conductor foremen- now they're pushing guys through in 6 months. It's crazy and unsafe. The training is books and on the job. There is a final exam that you need 85% to pass. All the other exams you need 80% to pass. You're only allowed one re-write in the whole program. Then there's a qualifying run you must pass as well. They generally want you to pass. Theyll coddle you through if they believe in you, and you work safely and use common sense. A positive, ego free attitude goes a LONG way. Beware: the job is not for people that are used to set schedules. Morale is very low, managers are terrible, you constantly fear for your job, you'll never get enough sleep, it's dirty, you work outdoors through ALL AND ANY WEATHER no matter how bad, weekends off are non existent, lunches are down to 20 minutes, there are no breaks, management whips us around all day, there are no incentives to work hard, lay offs are common, and WORST of all, Cunter Harrison just took over as CEO and runs things in a way that will make you wish you picked a different career. This man is insane. Ask anyone who works for CN.
Now for the good: The pay, pention and the benefits. But even those are about to get destroyed in the next contract which is in mediation as we speak.
This used to be a great career. I can't say that anymore. I can only hope it goes back to the old days. Incentive based. Early quits. Hour lunches. If the company wants its running trade people to perform like it used to, it'll wise up and bring those things back. Sorry to be a downer dude, but maybe if we're lucky, things will eventually get better