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Train conductors

 At CN, there are four broad groups of Conductors:

  1. Yard employees: These are the employees who work in the train yards to move freight cars onto the right tracks and onto the right trains. They normally work shifts of eight hours per day, five days a week.  When circumstances dictate, employees may be required to work overtime hours.
  2. Road conductors: These are the employees who operate trains from one terminal (or train yard) to another. Often, but not always, they ‘layover’ or spend time at the destination terminal, then work back to their home terminal after their rest period. Some assignments require that the crews drop off or pick up cars at intermediary points en-route, while other assignments do not make any scheduled stops. Depending on the subdivision where the employees are working, road employees generally work longer hours than yard employees but their maximum on duty time cannot exceed 12 hours per tour.
  3. Road switcher employees: These employees are an important contact with most shippers, providing pick-up and delivery service to local industries. Road switcher employees take loaded and empty cars from the terminal to customers and pick up loaded and empty cars from customers to take back to the terminal. The cars brought back to the terminal are consolidated into yard blocks, and then into train blocks, which are assembled into trains leaving the terminal.  Employees assigned to road switchers are considered as being in road service. They are paid by the hour and are typically assigned five days per week, eight hours per day. They are entitled to overtime after eight hours on duty but may be required to work up to ten hours in a single tour of duty.
  4. Traffic coordinators: These employees work in a terminal office/tower to plan and execute the movements required to get cars in and out of the yard, from inbound trains to outbound trains, minimizing car dwell time in the train yard. Traffic Coordinators organize activities in yards across the CN system in order to meet service commitments. They coordinate the yard’s switching activities, in order to build trains and prepare them for departure, build blocks of cars for ‘through trains’, and prepare tracks to hold other cars for later trains. They prioritize traffic and schedule the work of yard assignments, to ensure safe and effective use of tracks, locomotives and crews. They usually work 8 hours per shift.


 Average Salary

In 2012, Canadian Conductors earned an average salary of $85,000. 

  • Road Conductors earned on average: $93,000
  • Full time yard employee average salary: $67,000


CN recognizes the importance of good financial and personal health for its employees and their families. We understand that your well-being involves more than your career at CN and as such, we offer pension, health and dental benefits and Employee Share program, etc.


For detailed information about our offerhttp://www.cn.ca/en/careers/rewards-recognition-benefits/benefits

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