Freight Train Conductor (Former Employee), Edmonton, AB – August 6, 2015
I only got to spend a year with CN before being laid off. In my time though, I found the job to be pretty cool. They don't however promote any sort of personal life, even though they tell you they do during the hiring process. If you're single and want to make a lot of money in only a few years, than this is the job for you. Family person? Not so much.
Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice / DEM (Current Employee), Edmonton, AB – July 15, 2015
Pros: Great people
Cons: Everything else
Regardless of their recruitment you will not get a Red Seal Trade.
I came in with a Blue book and a lot of hours, and when i pushed for school after being promised it during my interview they refused. Even though they had signed my blue book.
Their DEM program is limited to a select few provinces and not in Alberta (where I reside). DEM is not recognized here at all and never will be.
The – more... guys in the shop are awesome save for a select few white hats, But the upper management is horrible.
Yes they provide tools, but good luck getting them.
The Union is useless, good luck getting anywhere with them. Example; Their safety reps have never taken a safety course nor do they know about contacting OHS in the event of problems from management. Their Trades and Apprenticeship reps do not hold tickets nor have they ever picked up a phone to contact the Apprenticeship Board. Its just bad.
But again the people there are awesome to work with.
Great experience though besides the aforementioned, but CN is a very pale shadow compared to its former glory, now that it is for all intensive purposes an American company now. – less
Payed well with exemplary benefits and investment opportunity
Freight Conductor (Former Employee), Prince George, BC – June 10, 2015
Pros: Good pay, great people, strong company
Cons: long hours, difficult management system
Very safety driven company as there are no minor injuries when you are dealing with trains and heavy equipment, days range from 8 to 16 hours depending on division and willingness to work, management could use a makeover but many were helpful and friendly, co-workers were awesome, friendly, helpful and upbeat. Hardest part of the job was being called at all hours to cover some other conductor who had – more... called in sick or unavailable, and being away from your family for long stretches. Physically demanding job requiring a lot of upper body strength used for throwing switches and climbing up and around train cars(think monkey bars as a kid for 8 hours a day) with breaks sometimes not coming till the last hour of your work day due to heavy work load and priority of work. I liked the people i worked with, 99% had awesome attitudes and worked hard for the sake of an easier stretch at the end of the day, pay was great, benefits were great, shares in company were great, i would do the job again as it was both literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air. – less
conductor (Current Employee), saskatoon – June 6, 2015
Cons: your never at home
Excellent wages and benefits. however since CN rail is a seniority based work place there is a very high possibility to get laid off after your done training. (excluding management) You should also expect to get called for work at all hours of the day with 2 hours notice max. If you can hold a position you will get paid very well but don't expect to have much of a home life.
System Analyst (Former Employee), Montréal, QC – March 9, 2015
Pros: good bonuses
Cons: stressful job
IT can be stressful. You are required to carry a pager 24/7 for two weeks. Very stressful time when your on pager. Also if there is a rail strike. You are asked to replace striking workers even if you never worked in a rail yard before.
Train Conductor (Current Employee), Vaughan, ON – January 23, 2015
Typical day at work: 8 hours outside in the freezing cold and in order to warm up you must broadcast over the radio that you want to go inside a locomotive to warm up
What I learned: Seniority based promotion is not for me. I would much rather achieve opportunities based on performance.
Management: Frequently "hides" to observe rule compliance and will write you up for minor violations of a rule – more... they may not even understand themselves.
Co-Workers: Some genuinely happy with their job, some obviously depressed but sticking around for the money. Conductors with 20+ years seniority are still unable to hold a job with desirable hours and at the terminal they want.
Hardest part of the job: Demoralizing remarks such as management/traffic coordinators asking "is everything okay over there?" at the slightest delay.
Most enjoyable part of the job: Controlling and riding around on train equipment and the physical aspect of the job. Plenty of exercise.
Although this should be a very rewarding and "cool" out of the ordinary job, this is quickly overshadowed by the sour company culture and the company renegging on union agreements at the first available opportunity. – less