What Does a Railway Car Technician Do?

A Railway Car Technician (268R) makes sure that trains, streetcars and subway trains are working correctly. They are responsible for inspecting the passenger and freight cars for damage and then making any necessary repairs. This could mean working with any number of the parts involved in the inner and outer works of a rail or passenger car, including compressors, air valves, piping, air cylinders, passenger seats, windows and washrooms.

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • using hand, power tools and welding equipment
  • practicing safety procedures
  • inspecting passenger and freight trains for damage
  • diagnosing and repairing any necessary problems
  • repairing and repainting metal and wood materials
  • installing or repairing air valves, bearings, compressors, cylinders and piping
  • maintaining, replacing or installing windows
  • repairing upholstery

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Industrial sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/industrial

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

Grade 12 is the legal minimum educational requirement to apprentice in this trade. To succeed in this trade, you should have courses in Mathematics, Science and Physics. This is an Voluntary trade, which means that you do not need to complete an apprenticeship to work in this trade, although it is highly recommended. In order to become a journeyperson, you must write a Certificate of Qualification  (C of Q) examination.

It takes about 4 years to complete a Carperson (Railway) apprenticeship (7280 hours of on-the-job and in-school training). The in-school component is comprised of 720 hours of in-class training. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

What’s Your Future as a Railway Car Technician [Carperson (Railway)]?

A Carperson (Railway) may work inside a car barn or outside in various weather conditions. They may be required to travel with the trains for trouble-shooting. Safety is very important in this trade. Carpersons (Railway) are exposed to dirt, grease and oil as they work inside, outside, under and over the rail cars. With experience, you may be able to specialize in certain parts of the railcar including wheels, axles, or brake lines.

Employment in this field is fair. With the rise in gas prices, freight transported by railcar is increasing. According to the Canadian Railway Industry Human Resources Study in 2002, Canada's railway employs over 41,000 people and is one of the world's largest rail systems.

Employers who hire Carpersons (Railway) include:

  • Railway transport companies
  • Public Transportation companies

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than Journeypeople, however as your skill and expertise increase, so does your wage. 
  • Fully qualified Carpersons (Railway) can earn in the range of $15.00 to $25.00 per hour

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Railway Car Technician [Carperson (Railway)] For You?


Do you have good manual dexterity, an eye for detail, and enjoy working with your hands?

Yes      No

Are you safety conscious?

Yes      No

Do you have good analytical and problem solving skills?

Yes      No

Would working with and around trains appeal to you?

Yes      No

Are you of good physical fitness, able to lift, carry and manipulate heavy objects?

Yes      No

Can you work indoors, outdoors, and in various weather conditions?

Yes      No

Do you like doing general maintenance and keeping things in good working order?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Railway Car Technician [Carperson (Railway)]  may be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Millwright
  • Bearings Mechanic
  • Facilities Maintenance Mechanic
  • Machine Fitter
  • Construction Millwright
  • Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Mechanic

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