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Train Conductor FAQs

​​​​​Conductor.jpgTrain Conductors have one of the most unique and challenging jobs available to North Americans. You ha​ve unlimited potential and possibility if you're willing to put in an honest, hard day's work every day. Work with us, and join our team of dedicated railroaders.

Q: How long will I have to wait to become a Locomotive Engineer?

A: You must work as a Conductor for two years before you can be enrolled in the Locomotive Engineer training program. After two years, your enrollment in the program is dependent on seniority and varies from terminal to terminal.

Q: Is becoming a Locomotive Engineer mandatory?

A: Yes. When your turn comes up, based on your seniority, you are required to complete the Locomotive Engineer training and qualify as an Engineer.

Q: Can I transfer my current pension over to the CP pension plan once I become a Train Conductor?

A:  If your current employer has a pension transfer agreement, you are able to roll your current pension over to CP's pension plan.

Q: Am I really on-call 24/7, 365 days/year?

A: Yes, you are technically on-call 24/7, but you are allowed to book 24 hours' rest after travelling. During this time, you are not expected to work. You are also entitled to book your vacation and request for personal days off with approval from your supervisor.

Q: How do I book holidays?

A: As a new employee, you will be lowest in seniority and may not have the most favourable times to book your holidays. However, with approval from your supervisor we do make exceptions for important personal events, such as weddings. 

Q: How do the spareboard and guarantee process work?

A: The spareboard works on a first-in, first-out basis. You come in at the bottom of the board after you've finished a shift, and you're expected to be on-call following your booked rest-time. For example, if you finished your shift and book 12 hours' rest, we cannot contact you for work until the completion of your rest. Once your rest is over, you are back on call, and you are required to go to work within the two-hour call window. You are guaranteed compensation by your collective agreement, so even if you are not called into work, you will get paid.

Q: Can I transfer to a different location after I join CP?

A: Yes, there is a national spareboard where you can apply to move to another terminal. This can be done twice a year (April and October), and there must be a vacancy in that particular terminal. A transfer may also depend on your seniority. If a person who has been with CP longer than you wants to transfer to the same terminal that you do, and there's only one vacancy at that terminal, the person with more seniority will be selected instead of you.

Q: How do I work in the yard versus on the road?

A: It depends on your seniority. There is a weekly process called Crew Change where you can bid on which service you prefer.

Q: How come the East spareboard pays different from the West spareboard?

A: The East and West have two separate collective agreements. Spareboard rates were negotiated differently by each agreement.

Q: Do I need a current, valid passport or driver's license?

A: If you are working out of a terminal that travels to the United States, you are required to possess a current, valid passport. You are not required to have a driver's license for the Conductor position, but many Conductors drive in order to arrive at their home terminals within the two-hour call window.

Q: I have a criminal record. Can I still apply?

A: If you are successful after the interview, we will process your security check form. If you do have a criminal record, we will send your information over to our Risk Assessment Committee for review. The committee will determine your eligibility for employment with us.​