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NOC Code: NOC Code: 7304 Occupation: Supervisors, railway transport operations
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Supervisors in this unit group supervise and co-ordinate the activities of railway and yard locomotive engineers, railway yard workers and railway labourers. They are employed by railway transport companies. Supervisors in this unit group supervise and co-ordinate the activities of railway and yard locomotive engineers, railway yard workers and railway labourers. They are employed by railway transport companies.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
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 4
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4

  • 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.

  • Read handling and storage instructions on the warning labels of hazardous material substances, such as propane gas. (1)
  • Read log book entries and short notes written on forms by railway or yard workers. (1)
  • Read trade publications such as Canadian Railway News, Railway Age and Interchange to stay abreast of events occurring in the railway industry. (2)
  • Refer to specific sections of collective agreements and employment contracts to verify terms and conditions. For example, read a worker's employment contract to verify its duration. (2)
  • Read emails from managers providing updates to train, shipment or work schedules, or inquiring about the daily activity planning. (2)
  • Read letters sent by unions on behalf of staff members who have filed grievances. These letters refer to articles of the Canadian Labour Code and collective agreements that they believe have been breached. (2)
  • Read bulletins outlining new safety procedures for railway transport operations. For example, read about speed reductions, the coupling of lead and remote locomotives, or the operation of locomotives without ditch lights. (3)
  • Read railway-specific operating manuals to learn how to report incidents and accidents, make emergency calls, inspect trains, classify railcars, operate switches, and handle inter-modal shipments. These lengthy manuals are modified regularly, and transport supervisors must keep up to date with the changes to be able to react quickly in emergencies. (3)
  • Refer to the Railway Safety Act, Train Operating Regulations and other Transport Canada manuals to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. For example, supervisors of freight transportation may review the rules and regulations governing the transportation of hazardous goods to confirm the proper handling procedures for liquid styrene. (3)
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  • Write emails to managers and employees to schedule or confirm meetings, ask for information, or respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write one-page monthly reports to inform management of all significant events that occurred during the month. In a typical monthly report, summarize incidents, accidents, injuries and grievances. (2)
  • Write short routine memos or bulletins to staff to give instructions regarding railway or yard operations. For example, instruct operational crews to report for work on statutory holidays. (2)
  • Write letters of reprimand to employees who have violated codes of conduct. These letters use an established format and describe the facts surrounding the breach. (3)
  • Write investigation reports following railway incidents such as derailments and collisions which result in damaged equipment or personal injuries. These reports describe the incident, its causes, its effects, and the results of the investigation process. (3)
  • Write letters to unions in response to employee grievances. These letters clarify the circumstances surrounding the alleged violations. Wording must be explicit and precise to rule out any misinterpretations. (3)
  • Write operating manuals. Analyze and summarize safety rules and regulations. By discussing with co-workers, identify safe work procedures and describe them using technical terminology intended for railway professionals. (4)
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Document Use
  • Observe railway signals indicating speed restrictions. (1)
  • Refer to overtime staff call lists when contacting employees to work extra shifts. (1)
  • Interpret a variety of icons to navigate railway association websites or to search for information about health and safety or train equipment. (2)
  • Refer to timetables to find the speed restrictions, haulage factors, train control methods and emergency detector locations for each railway subdivision. (2)
  • Refer to train schedules when choosing times to perform employee evaluations of train crew. (2)
  • Analyze graphical representations of train speed, incident, accident and injury data. Interpret these graphs to detect trends and determine if safety measures are working. (3)
  • Review incident report forms completed by operating crews. Search different sections of the form to locate information about the type of incident, the location, the operating crew involved, and the train equipment and contents affected. (3)
  • Record the performance and efficiency of railway and yard crew members on tracking forms. For example, enter checkmarks, codes and short sentences to indicate that operating crews have properly secured engines and cars, protected employees against moving equipment, and discussed safety issues prior to train departure. (3)
  • Refer to scale maps of train yards, train stations and nearby townships for re-routing incoming or outgoing trains. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use customized databases to record hours worked in a day, to store and retrieve proficiency test data, or to search the number of passengers onboard trains. (2)
  • Access railway association websites and perform key word searches for information about health and safety or train equipment. (2)
  • Use specialized software. For example, yardmasters may use specialized software to design trains; illustrate the distribution of tonnage by freight car; or download locomotive engine data when conducting incident investigations. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets to create train cycle schedules, daily activity summaries and budgeting tables. (3)
  • Create and maintain distribution lists, receive correspondence, and send emails with hyperlinks and attached documents to managers and supervisors in other locations. (3)
  • Use word processing software. For example, import graphics from other applications and use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, character fonts and columns to create investigation reports and bulletins. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, import, into presentation software, text and graphics created with other software in order to develop effective training packages for new hires. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Reply to customers inquiring about delays in shipments or train arrivals. (1)
  • Talk to suppliers or purchasing departments to order or inquire about train parts, maps, computer equipment and office supplies. (1)
  • Interact with employees such as locomotive engineers, train conductors, yard workers and railway labourers to assign schedules, tasks and routes; give instructions about railway and yard operations; and discuss completed tasks. (2)
  • Coach trainees by explaining tasks and duties, company policies, and safety procedures. (3)
  • Meet with senior management to discuss operational failures, absenteeism, safety issues, building repairs and budgetary concerns; and to obtain guidance, recommendations or approvals. In some cases, meet with senior management to refute accusations made by employees who have filed grievances against you. (3)
  • Discuss the results of efficiency tests with individual railway and yard crew members. Review employee compliance with health and safety policies, commend passing grades and address areas requiring improvement. Discuss new job assignments, further training or salary increases. (3)
  • Participate in meetings with other operations supervisors and managers to discuss customer complaints, administrative bottlenecks, operational efficiency and client service. At these meetings, you may be asked to present operating procedures you have developed or reports you have written. (3)
  • Interview train crew operators and witnesses following railway accidents such as derailments and collisions causing personal injuries. During the investigation process, consult government representatives and may answer questions from the media. At the end of each investigation, discuss conclusions and recommendations with transportation managers. (4)
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Money Math
  • Approve the reimbursement of travel expenses incurred by staff, taking into account the number of kilometres travelled, the per kilometre rate, accommodation and meal allowances, and applicable taxes. (2)
  • Verify total of bills received for train parts, maps, computer equipment and office supplies by multiplying the quantities purchased by their unit prices and adding the subtotals together. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Develop work and vacation schedules for operating crews, taking into consideration collective agreements governing overtime and the requirement to assign hours based on seniority. Work schedules are often adjusted to accommodate sick leaves or other unexpected occurrences. (2)
  • Monitor budgets to ensure that expenses incurred for human resources, supplies and operating equipment are within budgeted amounts. Adjust line items to accommodate unforeseen expenses. (3)
  • Plan train routes and coordinate the cycling of trains. Establish the times at which specific trains will depart from terminals; identify the lines on which they will run based on track occupancy; and calculate the times at which they will arrive at their destinations, taking into account speed restrictions and the number of kilometres they must travel. Transport supervisors often have to re-route incoming or outgoing trains and revise train schedules when railroad construction or accidents occur. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Calculate the total volume of diesel needed by trains to reach terminal train stations, by multiplying the number of kilometres to be travelled by the per kilometre diesel consumption rate specific to the train model. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Check that the amperage readings on locomotives do not exceed certain levels in order to prevent damage to traction motors. (1)
  • Compare speedometer readings to regulation speed limits while evaluating engineers onboard locomotives. (1)
  • Monitor the air pressure readings on locomotives to ensure they do not fall below the recommended levels. The brakes on some locomotive models automatically deploy if the air pressure is too low. (1)
  • Analyze data on train tonnage and length to determine the speed at which locomotives should be operated. For instance, in a certain railway subdivision, if tonnage is greater than 268,000 pounds but smaller than 286,000 pounds, and if train length is greater or equal to 54 feet, it may be determined that locomotive speed should not exceed 10 miles per hour. (2)
  • Verify the weight of railcar loads to ensure they adhere to regulations and to confirm that shippers are reporting load sizes accurately. (2)
  • Analyse the distribution of tonnage by freight car based on a bar chart in order to identify where tonnage is concentrated. (3)
  • Analyse locomotive speeds, crossing mileages, and other data collected at incident sites to determine the causes of incidents. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Based on experience, estimate the length of time needed for site clearance following train accidents. (1)
  • Estimate the length of trains to decide if additional tracks are needed to switch and couple cars and containers safely. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Railway transport operations supervisors work in a dynamic environment with many conflicting demands on their time. Their work is team-oriented so they must integrate their own tasks with those of other supervisors and managers to deliver timely customer service, while maintaining the safety of railway and yard operations. They must be able to establish their own priorities and to sequence multiple tasks for efficiency and effectiveness. Changing corporate priorities, customer complaints, mechanical and electrical breakdowns, accidents, snow storms, staffing shortages and track construction can affect their work, resulting in the need to re-prioritize and re-sequence job tasks. Railway transport operations supervisors may contribute to the strategic planning of their organizations. They may also play a central role in organizing, planning and scheduling day-to-day railway and yard operations. In addition, they are responsible for training and assigning tasks to train crews, railway yard workers and railway labourers. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide how to alter work schedules to account for cancelled or extended shifts. For example, if locomotive engineers work an extended shift one day, supervisors ensure that they work a reduced shift the next day because by law, engineers are not permitted to work more than sixty-four hours per week. (1)
  • Decide when to ride trains to monitor the work of locomotive engineers, train conductors and other onboard staff. Examine train schedules and choose the times that will allow you to observe the most employees. (1)
  • Decide which tasks to assign to crew members. Make decisions based on individual skill sets, experiences and attitudes. Wrong decisions may have negative impacts on operations. (2)
  • Decide how operating crews will be trained to use new equipment safely and efficiently. Make decisions based on the cost and availability of training resources, venues and replacement workers. Consider time commitments and employee overtime needs. Past training decisions provide only limited guidance since the same equipment is not targeted. (3)
  • Decide, as part of a strategic planning team, how changes to policy, recruitment initiatives, service provisions, and organizational efficiency and performance will be made. When involved in a strategic decision making process, analyse various scenarios; the assumptions underlying each scenario; and the implications, both positive and negative, of the decisions featured. (4)
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Problem Solving
  • Receive notification of mechanical or electrical problems with railway traffic signals, tracks or locomotives. For safety reasons, ask rail traffic controllers to send technical or track maintenance support to investigate and provide feedback. (1)
  • Receive notification that railway construction has closed down sections of track. Refer to operations schedules and, in consultation with other station supervisors and managers, devise alternate routing plans. (2)
  • Face staffing shortages. Contact designated on-call employees to work extra shifts. If replacement workers cannot be found, re-arrange train or delivery schedules. (2)
  • Receive information that unexpected snow storms have made tracks impassable. Call Environment Canada or access the weather network website for weather forecast updates. Adjust schedules and work plans to accommodate the track closures. In some cases, try to minimize the impacts of the delays by having extra crews ready to start as soon as the tracks are cleared. (3)
  • Deal with safety infractions, absenteeism, misconduct and other rule violations committed by employees. These are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the severity and circumstances, supervisors may meet the concerned employees with their union representatives to remind them of the rules. They may also issue official reprimand letters or conduct full-fledged investigations. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Determine planned train arrival times by referring to train schedules. (1)
  • Refer to collective agreements to locate overtime rates for employees. (1)
  • Refer to technical and user manuals to find operating instructions for equipment. (2)
  • Find information about railway elevations and the location of signals by referring to maps. Knowledge of train operating regulations is necessary to interpret such maps. (2)
  • Search a wide range of sources including railway-specific and Transport Canada manuals to verify the interpretation of the various acts, rules, regulations and procedures governing railway and yard transport operations. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the performance of railway and yard crew members using standardized efficiency tests. As part of the assessment, determine the extent to which employees have adhered to health and safety policies and procedures. These conclusions may lead to the firing or promoting of employees. (2)
  • Evaluate candidate suitability for jobs such as railway and yard locomotive engineers, railway yard workers and railway labourers. Read résumés, interview applicants, assess qualifications using guidelines or grids, and review results from substance abuse tests. (2)
  • Assess the efficiency of various methods of transporting goods or passengers to their final destinations when trains encounter mechanical or electrical breakdowns and cannot continue their journeys. When such breakdowns occur, supervisors consider the location of the train, the physical impediments which might limit access to the train, and the length of time before another train is expected to reach the site. They determine the best course of action to minimize the impact of breakdowns on customers, while ensuring the safety of all concerned. (3)
  • Investigate the causes of railway incidents such as fires, derailments and collisions. These investigations include a review of incident report forms completed by train conductors; an analysis of data collected from interviews with train crew operators and witnesses; and an examination of black box findings including brake pressure, train direction, and possible whistle failure. Operating crews may face disciplinary procedures as a result of these investigations. (4)
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