Ontario Skills Passport
Layout structure
header
Header structure
header
navigation
Display Noc
OSP Occupational Profile

OSP Occupational Profile

Print Occupational Profile

Display page browsing back option list
Display page browsing back option list <<Back
Display Noc Details
NOC Code: NOC Code: 2275 Occupation: Railway Traffic Controllers and Marine Traffic Regulators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Railway traffic controllers co-ordinate passenger and freight train traffic on railways. They are employed by rail transport companies. Marine traffic regulators monitor and regulate coastal and inland marine traffic within assigned waterways. They are employed by port, harbour, canal and lock authorities and by the Canadian Coast Guard. Railway traffic controllers co-ordinate passenger and freight train traffic on railways. They are employed by rail transport companies. Marine traffic regulators monitor and regulate coastal and inland marine traffic within assigned waterways. They are employed by port, harbour, canal and lock authorities and by the Canadian Coast Guard.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read instructions and comments on reporting forms such as natural gas leak forms, derailment and rail accident forms and vessel defect and deficiency reports. (1)
  • Read operating bulletins and notices to stay abreast of changes in the status of tracks or navigational aids. Railway traffic controllers read bulletins about train operations such as where there are special speed restrictions and areas affected by mud slides or floods. Marine traffic controllers read notices to shipping about changes in navigational aids such as buoys and marine charts. (2)
  • Read articles in industry periodicals to learn about new railway or shipping technologies and practices. For example, marine traffic regulators may read Pacific Yachting magazine to learn about the layout and features of popular ports. (2)
  • Read memos and email about current job tasks, scheduling and other matters from supervisors, co-workers and colleagues. For example, railway traffic controllers may read memos from track maintenance managers about track improvement work planned on corridors over the summer months; marine traffic regulators may read email from bailiffs asking them to watch for vessels that have skipped out on fuel bills. (2)
  • Read reports on subjects such as staff absenteeism and equipment performance testing. Check the content and accuracy of various reports and verify acceptance with a signature. (3)
  • Consult operations and safety manuals to check procedures for handling unusual situations. For example, railway traffic controllers may consult the Manual of Railway Traffic Controllers to find instructions for carrying out rare manoeuvres involving more than one train. Marine traffic regulators may refer to the Radio Aids to Marine Navigation manual to learn how and where the LORAN-C system for determining marine coordinates is used. (3)
  • Consult national and international regulations to know how to deal with safety, security and environmental protection issues. For example, railway traffic controllers may read Transport Canada's Canadian Rail Operating Rules to check the protocols for ensuring the safety of conductors who must stop and exit trains to investigate problems on tracks. Marine traffic regulators may refer to the Canadian Shipping Act and American marine traffic laws to know how foreign laws differ from Canadian laws and to be able to carry out international agreements authorizing Canadian agents to help enforce foreign laws. (4)
Back to Top

Writing
  • Write reminder notes to remember information given by train, track and vessel crews. Use the notes when making traffic scheduling decisions and completing reporting documents. (1)
  • Write brief descriptions of incidents that occurred and actions taken on forms such as emergency train separation logs and marine occurrence reports. (2)
  • Write general bulletin orders that briefly describe problems such as floods on tracks and provide details such as locations and damage done. Prepare daily operating bulletins which summarize the general bulletin orders that will remain in effect on the following day. (Railway traffic controllers) (2)
  • Transcribe communications with train, track and vessel crews. For example, railway traffic controllers write instructions and train orders that by regulation must be given to crews both verbally and in writing. Marine traffic regulators log communications in message data system logs at a minimum of fifty words per minute. (2)
  • Prepare personal statements concerning serious occurrences under investigation. Review written records as well as video and audio tapes of interactions in order to write accurate and concise statements. (3)
  • Write email and brief reports to supervisors, co-workers and colleagues. For example, railway traffic controllers may write reports explaining system delays. Marine traffic regulators may write email about special projects such as emergency exercises to be carried out jointly with American coast guard staff. (3)
Back to Top

Document Use
  • Complete a variety of forms to keep a record of activities, events and permissions granted in the territories. Enter codes and brief notes to complete forms such as train emergency separation logs, track occupancy permits, pollution reports, traffic and communication violation reports and marine occurrence reports. (2)
  • Locate a variety of data in complex lists and tables. Railway traffic controllers locate train numbers, track numbers and arrival and departure times in published train schedules and scan 'daily consists' of trains circulating through their territories to identify unusual or problematic traffic such as trains with extra wide cars. Marine traffic regulators look up tide levels and current speeds at different times to know when grounded vessels can lift off and to anticipate traffic problems in tight passages. (2)
  • Capture a variety of data such as identification numbers, tonnage, lengths, arrival and departure times, minute gains and losses, mileage, siding capacity, speed restrictions and clearances using large tables called 'train sheets.' On un-signalled tracks, railway controllers may have no other visual representation of train and track status. (Railway traffic controllers) (3)
  • Take information about distances and bearings from marine charts when planning courses for vessels. Apply specialized knowledge to interpret codes, markings and colours that indicate features such as currents and shallows, separation areas between traffic lanes and military exercise zones. (Marine traffic regulators) (3)
  • Monitor displays of raw radar data and displays with map overlays which show vessels in relation to topography and specified traffic lanes. Interpret coloured icons and vectors representing vessel types, bearings and speeds when analyzing traffic patterns. Radar information is updated every few seconds and marine traffic regulators scan the whole system many times an hour to stay up to date on vessel movements. (Marine traffic regulators) (4)
  • Monitor traffic control system screens to determine the status of trains and vessels. Interpret icons, codes, coloured lines and lights, and schematics of track systems and maps of waterways to locate trains and vessels, identify their type, size and cargo, and determine whether they are on schedule. Examine displays at varying scales to detect more precise information and may monitor displays of traffic in adjacent sectors to coordinate efficient traffic transfers. (4)
Back to Top

Computer Use
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, railway traffic controllers may use Excel to create and edit train schedules. (2)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, use centralized traffic control systems to monitor traffic, assess the status of tracks and sea lanes and issue communications. Marine traffic regulators use computer generated displays of real-time radar information to monitor vessel movements, ranges and bearings. Railway traffic controllers use computer-controlled equipment to change switches and signals. (2)
  • Use intranet systems to obtain information about trains and vessels and may use the Internet to access a variety of information such as weather reports, ferry schedules and train and vessel specifications. (2)
  • Receive bulletins and notices by email and exchange email with co-workers and colleagues about traffic problems or special projects. Attach files such as photographs. (2)
  • Look up and enter information about trains and vessels in traffic control system databases. Marine traffic regulators refer to databases to find out when vessels are scheduled, view information about vessels and determine when they should appear on radar. (2)
  • Use word processing software to write personal statements for occurrence reports. (2)
Back to Top

Oral Communication
  • Exchange information about the status of the territories with co-workers during shift changes. Discuss traffic movements with colleagues managing adjacent territories to coordinate traffic 'hand offs.'. (2)
  • Give detailed descriptions of equipment malfunctions to repair crews and technicians. (2)
  • Broadcast weather reports to the boating public. To be understood by boaters, read weather reports at an appropriate pace, use standard pronunciation and enunciate words clearly. (Marine traffic regulators) (2)
  • Communicate by radio with train, track and vessel crews regarding routine matters such as speeds, locations, itineraries, track occupancy permits and clearances for departure. Communicate according to strict protocols, including identification of both parties, repetition of the messages back and forth and verification that verbal repetitions match instructions entered into traffic control system databases. (2)
  • Speak with supervisors to ask for advice and to explain the rationale for traffic control decisions. Describe the histories of traffic situations to provide the necessary context for subsequent actions. (2)
  • Respond to calls for emergency assistance. For example, a railway traffic controller may speak to a panicked station master who has found a suspicious package in a refuse container; a marine traffic regulator may respond to a call from a mariner who is experiencing a medical emergency on board. They must elicit all necessary details from people who may be distraught and incoherent, and at the same time provide reassurance and instruction. They also contact appropriate authorities and rescue units. Marine traffic regulators broadcast mayday calls to other vessels in the vicinity and coordinate communication among all parties involved. (3)
  • Communicate with multiple parties to execute complex traffic manoeuvres. For example, railway traffic controllers may communicate with train crews, station masters and yard masters when guiding trains through crowded urban corridors during periods of heavy traffic. Marine traffic regulators may facilitate communication among masters of foreign vessels from different non-English speaking countries to ensure they understand each others' intentions when making safe passing arrangements. (3)
Back to Top

Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Schedule maintenance work on tracks, calculating time that allow maintenance vehicles and crews sufficient time to do the work without causing unacceptable delays in train service. (Railway traffic controllers) (2)
  • Monitor, manage and adjust the schedules of trains and vessels in the control sectors to ensure safe and efficient transport. Execute multiple scheduling tasks quickly, especially in busy sectors such as large urban terminals and harbours. Adjust schedules to accommodate delays caused by problems such as engine breakdowns, signal or buoy failures, poor weather and accidents. Analyze numerous factors including the itinerary, speed and manoeuvrability of trains or vessels; the status of tracks or sea lanes; and the needs of controllers in adjacent territories. Railway traffic controllers also consider the trains' assigned priorities and the shifts worked by train crews. Marine traffic regulators need to anticipate movements of opposing, crossing, and overtaking vessels, including those of new vessels unexpectedly entering their systems. (4)
Back to Top

Measurement and Calculation
  • Take basic weather measurements such as temperatures and wind speeds. (1)
  • Use scales on marine charts and radar screens to determine the range and bearings of radio and radar contacts. Mentally calculate reciprocal bearings for vessels by adding or subtracting 180 degrees from bearings called in from vessels. (Marine traffic regulators) (2)
  • Calculate weights and other measures needed to assemble trains. For example, use power to weight ratios such as one locomotive for seven cars to calculate the number of locomotives needed to pull larger trains. (Railway traffic controllers) (2)
  • Calculate the points at which trains or vessels will converge. Use these speed and distance calculations to anticipate traffic positions and prevent collisions. Marine traffic regulators determine the closest point of approach for converging vessels based on measurements of the vessels' bearings, speeds and separation distances. Railway traffic controllers calculate where two trains traveling in opposite directions on the same track will meet given their speeds and distance apart. They use these calculations to plan which sidings the trains should use for passing to minimize total waiting time. (3)
Back to Top

Data Analysis
  • Compare scheduled with real times of arrival to determine whether the differences are significant enough to require filing cause of delay reports or altering traffic advisories. (1)
  • Calculate basic operational statistics. For example, calculate statistics such as the average speed of trains through areas with various speed restrictions and the average percent rise in distress calls handled by control centres. (2)
  • Integrate a variety of data to assess traffic patterns and predict the likelihood of problems. Analyze the positions, speeds, sizes and trajectories of trains and vessels; the locations and dimensions of rail tracks and marine features; and weather, tide and ocean current data. (3)
Back to Top

Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the times of arrival of trains and vessels according to the speed at which they will likely be able to travel and the distance they have to traverse. Consider numerous factors including train and vessel power and cargoes, topography, speed restrictions, and track, weather and sea conditions. Inaccurate estimates could affect traffic schedules in your own and other control sectors. (2)
  • Estimate how long it will take to carry out manoeuvres or resolve delays. Refer to rules of thumb and past experience to estimate how long it will take to carry out tasks such as coupling rail cars of given types and moving disabled vessels from narrow channels to free up passages. (2)
Back to Top

Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Railway traffic controllers and marine traffic regulators plan and organize their own tasks to ensure that traffic moves through their control sectors safely and efficiently. Their tasks are generally dictated by the scheduled movements of trains and the proposed itineraries of vessels. A major part of their job, however, is to adjust these schedules and itineraries in response to delays and problems. Their tasks vary according to the volume and complexity of traffic and the seriousness of problems that arise. In managing traffic and responding to emergencies, they must closely integrate their tasks with the tasks of train, track, vessel and rescue unit crews. Railway traffic controllers are responsible for scheduling the work of track maintenance crews. They play a significant role in their companies' operational efficiency through their work of directing the movements of trains and scheduling maintenance work on tracks. Railway traffic controllers are responsible for scheduling the work of track maintenance crews. They play a significant role in their companies' operational efficiency through their work of directing the movements of trains and scheduling maintenance work on tracks. (3)
Back to Top

Decision Making
  • Decide to operate traffic control devices manually. For example, when railway traffic controllers judge there is not sufficient margin of time for safety, block switch control devices to prevent trains from reaching certain points rather than sending orders to crews in the usual manner. Marine traffic controllers activate fog horns when automatic sensors fail to function. (2)
  • Select the most appropriate trains or vessels to carry out tasks such as to pick up railcars waiting on passing tracks or to check the functioning of navigational aids. Consider the locations, types, priorities and accumulated delays of various trains and vessels. (2)
  • Decide which of several tasks to perform first in emergency situations. For example, choose to mobilize assistance to disabled trains and vessels before issuing severe weather warnings or calling to clarify the status of uninvolved trains and vessels. Consider the effects of actions on individuals and overall traffic safety and efficiency. (2)
  • Decide when service work should take place on tracks. Consider the urgency of the repairs and the safety of repair crews. For example, repairs are rarely scheduled during busy periods when heavy traffic should not be interrupted and when any disruption is likely to increase the likelihood of accidents. (Railway traffic controllers) (2)
  • Make clearance and transit decisions in normal traffic situations. For example, railway traffic controllers may give clearance to passenger trains before freight trains based on general company policy to avoid delaying passengers if at all possible. Marine traffic regulators clear vessels going with the tide flow in narrow channels while recommending that vessels in the opposing direction delay their transits. (2)
  • Decide the level of distress to communicate by assessing the need. For example, after assessing weather and sea conditions, raise the level of vessel distress calls, as appropriate, from "pan pan" to "mayday" when forwarding information to rescuers. (Marine traffic regulators) (3)
  • Make multiple decisions rapidly regarding train and vessel movements to ensure traffic efficiency and safety. Consider numerous factors including traffic locations, weather conditions, cargo specifications and priority levels and the punctuality of trains and vessels. Postponing decisions to see how situations will evolve may seriously limit options. Poor decision making can result in congestion or collisions, monetary losses for companies whose trains and vessels fail to meet schedules and damage to the reputations of traffic control service providers. (3)
Back to Top

Problem Solving
  • Discover vessels which are being operated illegally or dangerously. For example, find that naval ships are conducting training exercises too close to shipping lanes and are creating potential problems. Diplomatically inform appropriate naval personnel of traffic requirements and alert surrounding vessels to the hazards posed by the exercises. (Marine traffic regulators) (2)
  • Rail operations are incurring overtime costs or penalties. Explore various options to minimize overtime hours. For example, move delayed trains to alternate stations or passing tracks where replacement crews can board, or reorganize other traffic to give priority to the delayed trains. (Railway traffic controllers) (2)
  • Encounter situations such as locomotive and vessel breakdowns, equipment failures and leaks and spills that create delays or bottlenecks to traffic. Take immediate actions as needed, such as to shut off gas supplies. Arrange for repairs and removal of disabled trains and vessels, reorganize traffic schedules to accommodate delays and communicate changes to all relevant parties. (2)
  • Experience power outages that disable radio and traffic control systems. Try using back-up equipment and, if needed, contact other traffic control centres to pick up the slack. If those solutions are unworkable, think of other resources. For example, marine traffic regulators may request that nearby coast guard vessels take over radio traffic. (2)
  • Encounter train or vessel operators who ignore traffic control instructions. For example, deal with train crews who are angry about delays for their passengers, or vessels that continue to travel outside prescribed lanes despite warnings. Explain the logic behind the instructions and the consequences of non-compliance. If necessary, request that other traffic make accommodations and follow up by filing formal complaints against the non-compliant operators. (3)
  • Encounter emergency situations which disrupt normal traffic schedules and traffic flows. For example, a railway traffic controller may receive a call that a train has collided with a passenger vehicle at a level crossing or a marine traffic regulator may respond to a call from a mariner whose vessel is on fire. In these emergency situations, they must determine the extent of the emergencies, mobilize appropriate authorities and rescue resources, notify and reroute affected traffic, and coordinate communications. (3)
Back to Top

Finding Information
  • Find information about expected traffic by consulting published schedules and traffic control system databases and by calling train or vessel crews, controllers in other sectors and train company communications centres. (1)
  • Find vessel specifics such as engine types and cruising speeds by searching online registries of organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union and Lloyds of London Insurance. (Marine traffic regulators) (2)
  • Find information about the locations of signals, buoys, level crossings and calling-in-points by consulting various lists, tables, diagrams, navigational charts and maps. (2)
  • Find the names, locations and phone numbers for a variety of emergency responders and service providers by consulting references such as telephone directories and gazeteers. (Marine traffic regulators) (2)
Back to Top

Critical Thinking
  • Assess the accuracy of information received. For example, compare position data called in by train and vessel operators and corresponding data provided on control system screens and readouts. Railway traffic controllers and marine traffic regulators may also call operators to clarify their positions and verify that traffic control equipment is operating correctly. (1)
  • Assess the safety of train, track and vessel crews when issuing clearances and track occupancy permits. Consider where crews are located, what activities are proposed, when and how long they will be in proposed locations, restrictions or shipping notices in effect, and the status of other traffic. Assess safety to determine what precautions and restrictions should be included in clearances and permits. (2)
  • Evaluate the risk of collisions between trains or vessels. Analyze the trajectories, speeds, sizes and manoeuvrability of trains and vessels, and consider topography, weather and rail and sea lane status. Also draw on knowledge of how certain trains or vessels are likely to function. For example, a railway traffic controller knows that trains whose crews are nearing shift end may increase speed to reach their destinations. Marine traffic regulators know that fishermen may be asleep on their boats at night and therefore miss seeing fast approaching cruise ships. They must continually review and adjust assessments according to changing vessel activities. (3)
Back to Top

footer