Requirements, experiences to become a Conductor (Please read)~

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Trainsforever8

New Member
Hey guys, Now I know theres already a lot of topics about this but I'm just being kinda paranoid because I'm scared to have a flaw that wouldn't allow me to get hired or what so ever. So I'll tell you what I have and what i think is good then you guys tell me what I'm missing:

I speak and write fluently both french and english (I live in Montreal so it's a requirement).
My vision is bad without my glasses but when I have them on, there's no problem.
I have a very flexible schedule.
I don't mind working out doors and in all weathers, doing shift work or anything.
I have good hearing as far as I know (I don't seem to have any problem hearing or anything of the kind).
I do know that i must not mention that i'm a Railfan or anything of the kind not even saying "I love trains".
I don't have a back problem, I don't have trouble lifting heavy things, I don't get tired quickly.

Now for the flaws that I fear these are the ones: I have asthma (altho it's controlled and doesn't come because of exhaustion).

I used to have epilepsy when I was 8/9 tho it was only for 1 year and I only had absences but it's literally healed and never had anything to do with it ever since (I'm currently seventeen) .

I don't have any job experiences related to railroading or mechanics.

I'm still in high school.
I want to take the conductor program altho it seems that the only college who does it in MTL hasn't talked about it for a while and I really REALLY do not know what experience I need. I mean even just a part time job or anything would be okay. I'm doing my driver's licence next month.

Could anybody PLEASE help me? Mostly someone who's already a conductor/engineer ? I would appreciate as much help as received! I have the intention to apply at CN, CP and VIA Rail (Tho I mostly wanna work with CN to be honest).
 

3rdGenRR

New Member
Asthma is fine. Vision is fine as long as corrective lenses work and you're not color blind( you'll need prescription safety glasses). The epilepsy thing? No clue. DON'T mention being a rail fan. Anyone I've worked with hasn't really said anything bad about it, but they always seem to kinda react funny when it's mentioned and they think it's a little weird. Who knows though?! I imagine you'll need a license. Go online and study behavioral interviews. Get a part time job in a heavy industry if you can like a construction job, steel plant etc because the safety stuff in those types of jobs are what they like to see in you. You can then breeze through the interviews with your experiences dealing with big heavy dangerous equipment. And don't give up if you don't get a career immediately. Sometimes it takes a few years. I work with guys whose dads worked for the railway and it still took them 2-3 tries.
 

Tacoma Tom

New Member
Saying your a rail fan is a common myth. When I applied for the Union pacific as a Conductor one of the requirements was that you had to have a 4 year college degree in something. During the interview that asked me what I had a degree in and what college I went to and when I said I didn't have a degree they actually ripped up my paperwork and threw it up in the air and told me the interview was over.

So instead of leaving I explained to them how I have been around trains my entire life. How I have had a burning desire to work for the railroad. How I knew what every type of locomotive there was and how I spent my free time riding on excursion trains. I told them that I knew what block signals were and what the color means. I explained to them about CTC, hazmat rules, air brake systems, FRA rules, tonnage ratings, etc, etc. When I was done talking the managers interviewing me both looked at each other and smiled. Then they both gave me high fives. They then told me I had a job with the railroad. I later learned they interviewed over 360 people and only 8 people got the job.

After the interview they then proceeded to ask me if I had a model railroad and what type of gauge I run.

As far as the physical aspects. It was a full physical including a chest X ray. There was no blood work involved but there was a pee test. There was also a test where you had to grip a device and pull it so hard using your hand. They told me this was related to having the strength to uncouple cars. There was a pretty intense vision test including tests for numbers hidden in different colors when you look at them.

Training was spent in a hotel convention room for 3 months. The majority of that was extremely boring safety information. A week or two was devoted to actually hands on getting on a off cars and locomotives.

To be perfectly honest the railroads wants 18-28 year olds. 22-24 is probably the perfect age. If you are over 30 you might as well just give it up. I read that over 90% of the accidents with railroad workers is people over 50 or something like that. So the older you are the more likely they are not to hire you. It is also physically and emotionally demanding work especially for the first two years.

My advice to you is to check the website of the railroad you want to work for everyday under the jobs section. Once a job opens apply as soon as possible. Nearly all large companies are hiring through the Internet and I know for the big railroads that is the only way they hire now.

The Online applications are total bullsh** though. They asked me if I have ever been fired from a job and I said "yes" and the application process ended and the computer told me I was not qualified for that job. Never mind that I was fired over 20 years ago. It really sucks because they have your name, SS number, address, etc. There is no way for me to reapply for a job with that railroad because it automatically says I am not qualified for any job because they have it saved in their records.
 

Trainsforever8

New Member
Saying your a rail fan is a common myth. When I applied for the Union pacific as a Conductor one of the requirements was that you had to have a 4 year college degree in something. During the interview that asked me what I had a degree in and what college I went to and when I said I didn't have a degree they actually ripped up my paperwork and threw it up in the air and told me the interview was over.

So instead of leaving I explained to them how I have been around trains my entire life. How I have had a burning desire to work for the railroad. How I knew what every type of locomotive there was and how I spent my free time riding on excursion trains. I told them that I knew what block signals were and what the color means. I explained to them about CTC, hazmat rules, air brake systems, FRA rules, tonnage ratings, etc, etc. When I was done talking the managers interviewing me both looked at each other and smiled. Then they both gave me high fives. They then told me I had a job with the railroad. I later learned they interviewed over 360 people and only 8 people got the job.

After the interview they then proceeded to ask me if I had a model railroad and what type of gauge I run.

As far as the physical aspects. It was a full physical including a chest X ray. There was no blood work involved but there was a pee test. There was also a test where you had to grip a device and pull it so hard using your hand. They told me this was related to having the strength to uncouple cars. There was a pretty intense vision test including tests for numbers hidden in different colors when you look at them.

Training was spent in a hotel convention room for 3 months. The majority of that was extremely boring safety information. A week or two was devoted to actually hands on getting on a off cars and locomotives.

To be perfectly honest the railroads wants 18-28 year olds. 22-24 is probably the perfect age. If you are over 30 you might as well just give it up. I read that over 90% of the accidents with railroad workers is people over 50 or something like that. So the older you are the more likely they are not to hire you. It is also physically and emotionally demanding work especially for the first two years.

My advice to you is to check the website of the railroad you want to work for everyday under the jobs section. Once a job opens apply as soon as possible. Nearly all large companies are hiring through the Internet and I know for the big railroads that is the only way they hire now.

The Online applications are total bullsh** though. They asked me if I have ever been fired from a job and I said "yes" and the application process ended and the computer told me I was not qualified for that job. Never mind that I was fired over 20 years ago. It really sucks because they have your name, SS number, address, etc. There is no way for me to reapply for a job with that railroad because it automatically says I am not qualified for any job because they have it saved in their records.
So basically they were Railfans too? Haha that's cool but I have a feeling that you simply were very lucky!

Although maybe if they try to refuse me, I'll try to tell them about what I know with trains and how much safety is important for me. I'm not really worried about the pee test since I don't take drugs (never did and never will) and I don't drink alcohol. Thank you very much! Your information was very helpful! I really REALLY hope I get hired! I'll do my best :)
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
As for epilepsy when you were 8 or 9, unless your still being treated, I'm not sure I'd even mention it to them. If it's cured and they wouldn't find out any other way, why muddy the water?
 

3rdGenRR

New Member
Tacoma Tom, I was hired at 33 years old, three guys in my class of 15 were older than me.... one guy was 48, so I don't think they discriminate against age.(that particular fella transferred from another job within CP though, so maybe that's why) That's awesome that you gave them a great reason to hire you regarding your knowledge of the railway. I'd have hired you too!! At CP in Canada, the only thing you need educationally is high school, or the GED. That's CRAZY that Union Pacific wants 4yr post secondary!!

I'd agree that you shouldn't mention the epilepsy thing, especially since you were so young when it happened.
 




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