Part of the game is what work you have done. The railroad seems to like people who have worked previously potentially dangerous jobs. They also like people who work in jobs which expose the workers to extreme weather conditions. Another job category of railroad hires is military vets.I told one guy wo asked a similar question to yours to join the national guard. Another suggestion is to join your local volunteer fire department or ambulance corps.
Basically, the railroad likes people who are salty minded, don't mind extreme weather. There will be lots of rules to learn. I carry a set of manuals each day at work, which resemble a set of encyclopedias. You have to memorize, and will be tested on this material.Failure to be able to comprehend the rules, and also apply them will put yourself and others in danger.
In my hiring class, most were either veterans, or college grads. I think that they are looking for people who will stick to a long term commitment. There were questions in my interview about the normal dealing with conflict... One relevant to what I have been talking about was asking me about extreme conditions. I had worked in my uncle's bakery. Every summer it was over 100 degrees every day. Then they asked about dealing with the cold. I told them that as a scout, I had done winter tent camping every winter. One other aspect that they look for is if you have the balls to speak up if someone on your are is doing something dangerous. They may phrase the question to see if they have you for a rat. This doesn't go aver well in the field. On the other hand, there have been train crews who wanted me to make a onerous move. I refused to do it, or offered a safer way to get the job accomplished.