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NOC Code: NOC Code: 7531a Occupation: Railway yard workers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Railway yard workers regulate yard traffic, couple and uncouple trains and perform related yard activities. They are employed by railway transport companies. Railway yard workers regulate yard traffic, couple and uncouple trains and perform related yard activities. They are employed by railway transport companies.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • 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 Reading 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2


  • 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
  • Read memos from rail traffic control about switching rail cars from one train to another or sending cars back that were switched accidentally in another city. (1)
  • Read operating bulletins, containing information about crew changes, unsafe conditions in the yard, tracks taken out of service or changes in equipment. (2)
  • Read memos regarding policy and procedure changes. (2)
  • Read railroad operating manuals to find procedures and rules about task performance and changes in operations, particularly before taking re-qualification exams. (3)
  • Use loading manuals to look up rules for loading open cars and to check if cars meet company and regulatory agency requirements. (3)
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Writing
  • Record car numbers beside track numbers to show the location of railway cars. (1)
  • Fill out safety forms to request changes and make complaints. (1)
  • Write notes to dispatchers, for example, to obtain authorization to bring wide loads onto tracks or into yards. (1)
  • Write entries in transfer books to inform the next shift's co-ordinator about yard status and problems. (1)
  • Fill in forms restricting a car's travel pending prescribed repairs. (2)
  • Write 'strange occurrence' memos to inform yard managers about unusual events. (2)
  • Record the main details of safety talks conducted with crews. (2)
  • Complete clearance forms to take trains onto tracks. (2)
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Document Use
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels and dangerous goods commodity lists. (1)
  • Read directional and warning signs in the yard and signs on cars which indicate their ownership and number. (1)
  • Read traffic projection sheets from rail users, detailing the number of cars they expect to use and the kinds of commodities the cars will carry. (2)
  • Refer to master train schedules, giving times and other details about trains coming into the yards. (2)
  • Refer to yard schematics showing the number of rail yards and the number of tracks per yard. (2)
  • Fill out forms to receive authorization for unusual procedures, for example, going through a red light. (2)
  • Read repair forms giving car identification, defects and repairs by code. (2)
  • Initial operating bulletins presented in table format. (2)
  • Read and update rail yard scans on computer, showing which tracks are occupied, and the length and type of train. (2)
  • Read and co-ordinate switch lists showing the location of all railcars that need to be switched from one train to another. (3)
  • Read drawings showing how switches work and how handbrakes function. (3)
  • Fill out clearance forms when taking trains on a track, stating the time the train will be on the track and recording radio dispatch information. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use computerized consoles to enter employee numbers and job numbers. (1)
  • Use other computer applications. For example, use computers to read scans of all trains in the rail yards. (2)
  • Use a database. For example, enter data in yard inventory systems consisting of columns for track numbers, car numbers and the work to be completed on each car. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Listen to orders from the head of the crew when beginning a job. (1)
  • Contact track users regarding when to switch cars at their site and the location on the track where rail cars should be unhooked. (1)
  • Inform dispatchers by two-way radio of the arrival of trains at the station. (1)
  • Talk with yard co-ordinators to exchange information about yard status and personnel needed. (2)
  • Exchange information with other yard crew as cars are inspected and repaired. (2)
  • Discuss with helpers or engineers the best way to arrange the cars in a train. (2)
  • Talk with companies to arrange delivery times and clarify car unloading details. (2)
  • Interact with dispatchers to get clearance for a train to use a track outside the yard. A mistake can result in two trains on the same track and possible accidents. (2)
  • Communicate with supervisors about unusual occurrences, work schedules and changes in the switching of rail cars. (2)
  • Participate in group meetings before making up and moving trains to discuss sequences of switching to ensure that each crew member understands. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure the thickness of a car's wheel flange to see if it falls within specified requirements. (1)
  • Calculate how many cars a track will hold before blocking crossings and how much tonnage an engine can handle. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate by eye whether a loaded car meets line clearances. (1)
  • Estimate the number of cars that can be added to a train before it will extend from the yard to a crossing. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Railway yard workers receive work assignments from yard co-ordinators and lead hands. They follow established routines, such as visually inspecting train cars. Work is dependent on the schedule of arriving and departing trains and on orders from customers for the delivery of loaded cars or empty cars to be loaded. Factors such as congestion, track restrictions, faxes from customers and calls from train crews and supervisors may require workers to reorganize their work. Railway yard workers plan and organize their own tasks within the constraints of an established work schedule, for example, determining the priorities for switching. (2)
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Decision Making
  • When inspecting a train with a partner, decide who will do what function such as who will drive and who will connect the airbrake hoses. (1)
  • Decide whether to do repairs on site or send damaged cars to the shop. Base the decision on the extent of the damage and whether or not there is the time, tools and expertise to complete the job on site. (2)
  • Decide how to switch out cars when there is not enough clear track to place them on. May switch individual cars to side tracks, remembering where the cars were put when it comes time to switch them back to their proper location. (2)
  • Decide which cars to move first and what tracks to put trains on. Decisions may be subject to the approval of the yardmaster. (2)
  • Decide whether cars should be closer to customer facilities or vehicles at loading stations and what tonnage to put on the trains. (2)
  • Decide how to set up and take trains from one location to another, taking into consideration what loads have to be let off first and that cars with hazardous loads cannot be next to cars with certain other kinds of loads, such as livestock. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • You have arrived at a switching point with a switch list and find that the expected railway car is not there. Phone the yardmaster to inform the yard that it is missing and it may be necessary to walk further to find it. (1)
  • A train is stranded on a track because of engine failure. Call locomotive shops to find out if and how the train can be fixed and to assess how it can be moved. (2)
  • There has been a train derailment. Contact other crews to tell them not to bring their trains in and call for assistance in clearing the tracks. (2)
  • An accident has occurred at a railway crossing. Administer first aid, set up signals and radio for help. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Refer to operating bulletins for restrictions to switching on certain tracks. (1)
  • Get information regarding switch lists from yard masters. (1)
  • Call other railroad yards to get information about traffic projections in order to plan own yard's work. (2)
  • Consult operating manuals to find rules and procedures or computer manuals to find information on how to use particular software packages. (2)
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