• CP Opportunities: Conductor & Train Dispatch Trainee

  • General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.
General discussion about working in the railroad industry. Industry employers are welcome to post openings here.

Moderator: thebigc

  by Jim1348
The Canadian Pacific Posted openings for both Conductor Trainee and Train Dispatch Trainee on 07/16/2015. I applied to both of them yesterday. I realize that they are two very different jobs. I am 54 years old and retired from police work 4 1/2 years ago. I have an okay post-retirement job, but it really doesn't challenge me very much and is quite boring. I sort of have a good feel for conductor slots, since I have done sessions with BNSF & UP. One of my biggest concerns is steady work. Would Train Dispatch necessarily be less prone to layoffs? Also, the announcement shows Minneapolis. Do I take that at face value? The reason I ask is I had heard in the past that United States operations were dispatched out of the CP building in Minneapolis, but had moved to a more suburban site in Cottage Grove. Can anybody here comment of that? Also, is Dispatch typically 8 hour shifts? Are the shifts permanent or do dispatchers rotate from days, to afternoon, to midnights on some sort of regular schedule?
  by Train Detainer
I can't speak to CP's current US office location, but US rail dispatching is required by federal law to be done from the US, and they might occasionally move offices around, but you shouldn't have to worry about the job moving to Canada. Unfortunately, modern computer aided dispatching systems are almost plug and play now, so it's getting easier (and cheaper) to move offices around.

The local staffing situation and local agreement usually determines whether there are layoffs amongst junior people, but generally dispatchers/RTCs are more steady work once hired, since office size is usually fairly constant and requires consistent staffing. Depends mostly on the ability of the RR's managers to set correct staff levels. You could get better info on that from the ATDA chairman for the office (or another current employee). Income for extra board people sometimes depends on whether there is a guaranteed extra board or not - depends, again, on the local agreement.

Like most RR jobs, DSs start on the extra board, working any shift/day where there's an opening, conforming to the required HOS rest periods. Once you have enough seniority, you can bid on a regular assignment with a regular schedule. Duration of extra work depends on how many people are retiring when, along with the desirability of the jobs at hand and the size of the office. Sometimes a younger dispatcher may be able to hold a regular job if it's such a pain that more senior DSs don't want it, so you need to get the lay of the land. I have seen the youngest person on the roster hold a regular second trick job for years, due to forced assignment, because it was a real brain basher that no one else would bid.

24/7 dispatcher offices are basic 8 hour shifts with sheet dispatchers limited to 9 Hrs under HOS law and 15 Hrs rest required before hand. Local agreements usually cover turnover time, but you can't work more than 9 straight.