You are here

Railway Conductor Program

Offered at Confederation College, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Starting Date: TBA

group photo
jp on radio
jade on car
brody on radio
darrel on car
maverick car
derrick on car
langford on car
group photo engine

Program Overview

The role of the railway conductor is an important link between ensuring customer satisfaction and achieving efficient operations. Railway conductors are involved with switching train cars, making or splitting up trains in yards, or moving train cars between yards, sidings or tracks. The Railway Conductor program at Confederation College prepares graduates for employment in road or yard service train crews in Class 1 railways in North America as well as in shortline, regional carriers and industrial switching operations.

The Railway Conductor program is designed and approved by the Institute of Railway Technology of the Railway Association of Canada (RAC). It incorporates the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR). Every railway employee involved in train operations is required by law to be qualified and certified in CROR, a compilation of RAC-developed and government-approved rules that govern and guide employees in the performance of their duties. All railways in Canada must comply with CROR. This program is offered in collaboration with the Railway Association of Canada.  

This video was shot and produced by one of the participants in the the Railway Conductor program.

Typical responsibilities of a conductor:

  • Carry out specific instructions detailing a train’s schedule and specific movements
  • Handle the switching of cars, including coupling (connecting) and uncoupling (disconnecting) cars
  • Observe, interpret and relay signals and other indications affecting train movement
  • Communicate with crew members using specific hand signals or radio to indicate direction of movement, stop and set or release air brakes
  • Provide protection by placing warning flares and flags appropriately and communicate with other trains in an emergency situation
  • Get on and off, and ride moving equipment to effect the switching of rail equipment in yard operations or at customer sidings
  • Prepare and complete forms and documents relevant to train orders and switching lists.

Railway Conductor Career

The railway industry is facing retirement rates as high as 70% over the next ten years which will result in a high demand for graduates. Graduates are rewarded with good salaries and opportunities for advancement to positions of greater responsibility. Railway conductors are paid based on the number of miles they accrue during the course of their work. Average annual starting salaries are $40,000, which can quickly grow to $80,000. Railway conductors are often promoted within a railway organization to locomotive engineer, as well as management positions. Railways operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a weekend 365 days a year. Railway conductors work out of specific pools with irregular hours, weekends and holidays depending upon workload position within the pool. This job requires excellent physical health and conditioning. Constant vigilance and situational awareness are key factors in performing safely and efficiently. 

Admission Requirements

High School Diploma.  May require an interview or questionnaire to determine eligibility.
Tuition $9,700
A $300 deposit is required with application form to hold a seat in the program.


Railway Conductor program is being reviewed and could undergo changes.

RAIL 1007 Business Communications
RAIL 1016 Switching, Marshalling and Crewing
RAIL 1013 Rules and Regulations
RAIL 1017 Authorities and Record Keeping
RAIL 1018 Transportation of Dangerous Goods
RAIL 1014 Creating a Safety Culture
RAIL 1105 Practicum 

For more information contact:

Carol Rusak
Phone: (807) 475-6412