Train Crew Operating Workers

Occupation:Train Crew Operating Workers
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Railway locomotive engineers operate railway locomotives to transport passengers and freight and also operate communication systems, inspect assigned locomotives, and test operating controls and equipment. Railway conductors coordinate and supervise the activities of passenger and freight train crew members. Brakemen check train brakes and other systems and equipment prior to train run, and assist railway conductors in activities en route. They are employed by railway transport companies.

Yard locomotive engineers operate locomotives within the yards of railway, industrial, or other establishments and also perform switching operations and routine maintenance according to instructions. They are employed by railway transport companies and industrial or commercial users of rail transport.

Job duties:
The following is a summary of some of the duties performed by train crew operating workers:
  • Railway locomotive engineers operate locomotives to transport passengers and freight on railways; operate communication systems to communicate with train crews and traffic controllers; and inspect assigned locomotives and test operating controls and equipment.
  • Yard locomotive engineers operate locomotives to switch, couple and uncouple cars for loading and unloading; perform switching operations according to written switching orders or dispatched instructions; and inspect locomotives, replenish fuel or perform routine maintenance on locomotives.
  • Railway conductors supervise and coordinate the activities of passenger and freight train crew members (except locomotive engineers); communicate with train crew members by radio, signals or by other means to give and receive train operation information; and collect fares on board passenger trains, announce approaching train stops and answer passenger enquiries.
  • Brakemen/women check train systems and equipment such as air conditioning and heating systems, brakes and brake hoses prior to train run; communicate with train crew members by radio, signals or by other means to aid in the movement and operation of train; receive orders from traffic controllers, observe signals and track conditions and open and close track switches; set and release hand brakes and connect air brake hoses to couple and switch passenger or freight cars, making minor repairs to couplings, air hoses and wheel-bearing boxes as required; and assist in collecting fares and helping passengers on and off train.
Sample job titles:
  • brakeman/woman
  • conductor
  • railway conductor
  • railway engineer
  • train conductor
  • train engineer
  • yard locomotive engineer - railway

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, reliable, and in good physical health. You must also be able to work on your own and carry out instructions given by your employer. Physical strength, stamina, and attention to detail are also assets.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Railway locomotive engineers, conductors and Brakemen/women all require a Canadian Rail Operating Rules certificate.
Other considerations:

Mobility between railway transport companies or between establishments employing locomotive engineers may be limited due to seniority provisions of collective agreements. Promotion to higher-level positions may be possible with experience

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Train Crew Operating Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 45% of Train Crew Operating Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Train Crew Operating Workers< 50N/AN/AN/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $72,244
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Train Crew Operating WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time100%89%
Percent self-employed2%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentTrain Crew Operating WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton40%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley20%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeTrain Crew Operating WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5747
GenderTrain Crew Operating WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
EducationTrain Crew Operating WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax18.2%$25,753
High school20.0%x25.5%$28,089
Trades certificate30.0%$21,54929.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma60.0%$36,59022.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degreeN/Ax2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Not Provincially Regulated:This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.
Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Rail Services
95 Foundry Street
Moncton, NB E1C 5H7
(506) 851-7040
Locomotive Engineer
Not Provincially Regulated:This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.
Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Rail Services
95 Foundry Street
Moncton, NB E1C 5H7
(506) 851-7040
Useful contacts:
Railway Association of Canada
99 Bank Street, Suite 901
Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9
Tel: (613) 567-8591
Fax: (613) 567-6726

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources: