How hard is the exams and training for conductors

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#1
For all new hires for Canadian Pacific Railway for Conductors

how hard is the examinations. How hard is the training?

Is the training designed to weed out and trim the work force? or do they want you to pass?

for all trainees, did you find you had to study lots and devote your whole time studying it all?

Is it all book or lots of hands on?

How hard and long is final examination? is it paper base or hands on? thanks
 
#2
Yeah the training will consume most of your time. You need to score high on the exams and there's lots to learn. The teacher will walk you through everything but there's a TON of info. It used to take guys 2 years of on the job training to become fully qualified conductor foremen- now they're pushing guys through in 6 months. It's crazy and unsafe. The training is books and on the job. There is a final exam that you need 85% to pass. All the other exams you need 80% to pass. You're only allowed one re-write in the whole program. Then there's a qualifying run you must pass as well. They generally want you to pass. Theyll coddle you through if they believe in you, and you work safely and use common sense. A positive, ego free attitude goes a LONG way. Beware: the job is not for people that are used to set schedules. Morale is very low, managers are terrible, you constantly fear for your job, you'll never get enough sleep, it's dirty, you work outdoors through ALL AND ANY WEATHER no matter how bad, weekends off are non existent, lunches are down to 20 minutes, there are no breaks, management whips us around all day, there are no incentives to work hard, lay offs are common, and WORST of all, Cunter Harrison just took over as CEO and runs things in a way that will make you wish you picked a different career. This man is insane. Ask anyone who works for CN.

Now for the good: The pay, pention and the benefits. But even those are about to get destroyed in the next contract which is in mediation as we speak.

This used to be a great career. I can't say that anymore. I can only hope it goes back to the old days. Incentive based. Early quits. Hour lunches. If the company wants its running trade people to perform like it used to, it'll wise up and bring those things back. Sorry to be a downer dude, but maybe if we're lucky, things will eventually get better :)
 
#3
Yeah the training will consume most of your time. You need to score high on the exams and there's lots to learn. The teacher will walk you through everything but there's a TON of info. It used to take guys 2 years of on the job training to become fully qualified conductor foremen- now they're pushing guys through in 6 months. It's crazy and unsafe. The training is books and on the job. There is a final exam that you need 85% to pass. All the other exams you need 80% to pass. You're only allowed one re-write in the whole program. Then there's a qualifying run you must pass as well. They generally want you to pass. Theyll coddle you through if they believe in you, and you work safely and use common sense. A positive, ego free attitude goes a LONG way. Beware: the job is not for people that are used to set schedules. Morale is very low, managers are terrible, you constantly fear for your job, you'll never get enough sleep, it's dirty, you work outdoors through ALL AND ANY WEATHER no matter how bad, weekends off are non existent, lunches are down to 20 minutes, there are no breaks, management whips us around all day, there are no incentives to work hard, lay offs are common, and WORST of all, Cunter Harrison just took over as CEO and runs things in a way that will make you wish you picked a different career. This man is insane. Ask anyone who works for CN.

Now for the good: The pay, pention and the benefits. But even those are about to get destroyed in the next contract which is in mediation as we speak.

This used to be a great career. I can't say that anymore. I can only hope it goes back to the old days. Incentive based. Early quits. Hour lunches. If the company wants its running trade people to perform like it used to, it'll wise up and bring those things back. Sorry to be a downer dude, but maybe if we're lucky, things will eventually get better :)
 
#4
Yeah the training will consume most of your time. You need to score high on the exams and there's lots to learn. The teacher will walk you through everything but there's a TON of info. It used to take guys 2 years of on the job training to become fully qualified conductor foremen- now they're pushing guys through in 6 months. It's crazy and unsafe. The training is books and on the job. There is a final exam that you need 85% to pass. All the other exams you need 80% to pass. You're only allowed one re-write in the whole program. Then there's a qualifying run you must pass as well. They generally want you to pass. Theyll coddle you through if they believe in you, and you work safely and use common sense. A positive, ego free attitude goes a LONG way. Beware: the job is not for people that are used to set schedules. Morale is very low, managers are terrible, you constantly fear for your job, you'll never get enough sleep, it's dirty, you work outdoors through ALL AND ANY WEATHER no matter how bad, weekends off are non existent, lunches are down to 20 minutes, there are no breaks, management whips us around all day, there are no incentives to work hard, lay offs are common, and WORST of all, Cunter Harrison just took over as CEO and runs things in a way that will make you wish you picked a different career. This man is insane. Ask anyone who works for CN.

Now for the good: The pay, pention and the benefits. But even those are about to get destroyed in the next contract which is in mediation as we speak.

This used to be a great career. I can't say that anymore. I can only hope it goes back to the old days. Incentive based. Early quits. Hour lunches. If the company wants its running trade people to perform like it used to, it'll wise up and bring those things back. Sorry to be a downer dude, but maybe if we're lucky, things will eventually get better :)

Wow dude, I thought Bnsf was bad. We still have hour lunches though.
 
#5
I think it's bad right now because Hunter just took over so he's running around scaring the hell outta managers so they're coming down hard on us. They're all worried about their jobs so they're trying to justify themselves. I feel bad for them because it's been an easy road all these years but quite honestly, many of them are pricks with no management skills and I won't miss them. That said, I don't like to see people lose their jobs. They got families too. The good managers will now have to come down hard on us and I know that'll be tuff for them too. The good guys will now have to play bad cop and I know they'll hate it.
 
#6
Really?

I know I'm not that experienced in BNSF, but I am experienced in other career fields, and I've got to say that it isn't that bad. Yeah, the Management/Labor relationship could be better, but honestly, I don't work that hard for what I get paid. 20 minute lunch? That might be what's specified in the agreement, but I doubt I've had less than an hour, and more likely and hour and a half, since I've started. Hell, if they're late giving you lunch, or don't give you lunch, you claim it. Yes, the weather conditions suck, but you can't really complain about that...you know it's a given that you'll work all shifts and all weather conditions when you sign on, so that's kind of a non-starter. If you work safely, don't cut corners, or negligently break the rules you'll be fine.
 
#7
My son works for Canadian Pacific as a conductor. He has over 4 1/2 years in. Now that Hunter Harrison has taken over they've fired or laid off hundreds of employees. A lot of CP workers have gone to CN. Not a good time to be seeking employment.
My son used to be able to hold lots of yard jobs but is now on the spareboard.
As far as I know all the humps have been shut down.
 
#8
I know I dont have a soapbox to stand on, but this all seems very familiar to me. The crazy part is I am in the airline industry. Long crazy hours, work in miserable weather conditions, management is horrible (who gave these guys degrees?), and things used to be better back in the day. Are all railroads like this now?
 

Midsouth fan

Engr/'duc/brkmn/DS
#9
^^^Pretty much. The shortline I work for was my oasis from such evil managerial tactics. Now that we have been bought out by a shortline conglomerate, we are now run by a WHOLE BUNCH of former class 1 rejects who are bringing these tactics to us. It has chapped us all severely. :mad:
 



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