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Popular Roles for Veterans

At CP, we value your service and many transferable skills that you bring to our workforce…adaptability, leadership, flexibility, work ethic and discipline to name a few. For that reason, we don't like to pigeon-hole certain military trades and ranks. We prefer to give you many options and then have you decide which role you’d like to explore.

The list below provides a sample of the most popular union and management roles in which veterans have been successful. All of our current openings can be found at www.cpr.ca/careers or connect with CP's Manager of Veteran Relations at Employment_Centre@cpr.ca to further explore how your skills can provide you a lasting career at CP.

Operations: Trains & Engines


Conductor: Union

A Conductor is responsible for the train and alongside the Engineer ensures the safe arrival of cargo to its destination. The role is labour intensive, requires working outside and has an on-call schedule.

This role is suitable for any rank and background as it's an entry-level union position and can lead to career growth as a Yard Foreperson, Locomotive Engineer or in management. It's the best and quickest way to learn our primary business.

Training is paid and is a mixture of classroom and job shadowing that lasts between three and six months.

Assistant Trainmaster (ATM): Management

An ATM is similar to a Sergeant in the Military. They work predominantly in the railyard to ensure that our customers are serviced and that all work is carried out in a safe and efficient manner. The ATM role is shift work and requires the ability to plan and lead in demanding outdoor environments. This is an entry-level management position and is a great way to get hands-on experience.

Trainmaster (TM): Management

The TM role could be compared to an Operations Warrant Officer. They are responsible for producing the operating plan which the ATMs execute. Operating plans contain details such as when railcars are to be collected from customers, what train these cars will be part of and where they will be located on that train. An accurate plan ensures our customers' goods are delivered on time and in a safe and efficient manner.

Network operations


Rail Traffic Controller (RTC)/ Train Dispatcher: Union

The RTC / Train Dispatcher function could be compared to that of an Air Traffic Controller. They control the safe movement of trains in an assigned territory by issuing instructions to train crews and those working on the track.

RTCs operate out of Operation Centres in Calgary and Minneapolis.

The six-month training is paid and is a mixture of classroom and on-the-job training.

There are several advancement opportunities in this role leading to management positions.

Mechanical: Locomotive/ Railcars


Diesel Mechanic (Apprentice Canada Only): Union

Diesel Mechanics are responsible for maintaining and repairing our Locomotives.

You don't need to have a Journeyman qualification as CP will provide all the training you require. If you have appropriate experience in the military, you may challenge some of the training.

Although a mechanical background is preferred, it's not a requirement.

Railcar Mechanic (Apprentice Canada Only): Union

Railcar Mechanics are responsible for repairing and maintaining different varieties of railcars that CP utilizes – from a simple boxcar to a more sophisticated refrigeration car.

Minor repairs are conducted outside in the yard while majors repairs will be brought into the repair shop for more in-depth attention.

You don't need a Journeyman qualification as CP will provide you all the training you require. If you have appropriate experience in the military you may challenge some of the training.

Although a mechanical background is preferred, it's not a requirement.

Supervisor Mechanical: Management

Both the Locomotive and Car Repair Shops have Supervisors who are front line leadership in the shops. They ensure that processes and procedures are being followed in a safe and productive manner.

This role requires leadership experience in mechanical maintenance, logistic supply or fleet management.

Engineering: Signals and Communications (S&C)


S&C Helper / Assistant Signalman: Union

S&C Helpers work as part of a small construction projects team. They travel to a location within their territory to perform heavy labour related to railway signaling systems and crossing warning systems. A typical rotation could be 4 days on, 2 days off.

The team is led by a Foreman who is a qualified Maintainer.

Being a Helper is a great way to learn the S&C role prior to applying to qualify as a Maintainer.

S&C Maintainer: Union

Maintainers are involved with the maintenance and repair of all signaling equipment and grade crossing warning systems.

In order to qualify as a Maintainer, candidates must complete CP's Apprentice course which is a mixture of classroom and on-the-job training.

Once qualified, Maintainers can either bid on a territory (specified mileage of track) where they are responsible for all assets within their limits or they can bid to work on construction projects teams as qualified Signalman / Wireman.

Ideal candidates have experience working with their hands, reading, building and executing plans, and an electrical and technical background.

S&C Technician: Union

The S&C Technician supports the Maintainers being responsible for the maintenance and testing of communication towers, servers, communications links as well as the more technical assets on the Maintainer's territory.

Technicians require a technology qualification and background, however those with relevant military experience may be able to challenge the exam i.e Signals Corps.

S&C Maintenance Supervisor / Manager: Management

S&C Supervisors / Managers are responsible for a large area of track and generally have multiple Maintainers and Technicians within their team.

As well as having a strong technical and/or electrical background, a good candidate requires experience leading a team.

S&C Construction Supervisor / Manager: Management

S&C Construction Supervisors and Managers are essentially hands-on project managers within the S&C department. They will have several project teams working within their territory and they will ensure that they are carrying out their work in a safe and efficient manner.

Engineering: Track Maintenance


Track Labourer: Union 

Part of a team led by a Foreman, Track Labourers assist with repairing and maintaining railway tracks, replacing and repairing various track components including rails, railway ties, fences, and the alignment of track.

This is a labour-intensive role that requires working outside all year-round.

Demonstrated proficiencies in this role means options to progress to Team Foreman or Machine Operator.

Foreman are responsible for the on-site direction and supervision of various other employees in the project at hand and the utilization of equipment, materials and other related resources.

Machine Operators learn how to properly care and run unique work equipment for a specific geographical territory depending on the needs in the area. Machine Operators may also be assigned duties related to the construction, maintenance and repair of railway track and its related components.

Supervisor Track Inspection / Track Inspector: Management in Canada / Union in US: 

Supervisor Track Inspection is a field position that is responsible for overseeing the rail, ties, tie plates, spikes, rail joints, ballast, drainage, and vegetation control within their territories. They ensure our track infrastructure is safe by regularly inspecting the track and identifying and correcting any defects.

Engineering: Bridges and Structures (B&S)

Welder / Carpenter / Plumber / Pipefitter / Electrician / Foreman: Union

The Bridges and Structures department is responsible for ensuring that all CP buildings, compounds, structures and bridges are in safe and working order. This work requires the dedication of a number of trades men and women.

CP Police Service


Constable (Canada: Union) / Special Agent (US: Non-Union)

The CP Police Service focuses on public safety, reducing the frequency and impact of train delays on our operations, and protects customer and company assets.

Military Police experience is recognized and in the majority of cases allows a direct transition into the CP Police Service.

Those with no policing experience will attend a Police Recruit school.


Apply here