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Railway Car Technician

Railway car technicians inspect, test, maintain, repair and fabricate railway passenger and freight car equipment.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Carman, Rail Car Mechanic, Mechanic, Service Technician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Railway Carmen/women (7314) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Railway Carmen/women (H414) 
  • 2011 NOC: Railway carmen/women (7314) 
Interest Codes
The Railway Car Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Railway Carmen/women

Interest in precision working to test and adjust parts using test gauges and other test equipment


Interest in replacing damaged windows, repairing upholstery and repainting wood fixtures, and in performing and documenting routine maintenance


Interest in compiling information to repair defective and damaged metal and wood components, to repair and install railway car parts such as compressors, air valves, bearings, couplings, air cylinders and piping, and to repair and maintain electrical and electronic controls for propulsion and braking systems

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians may work on passenger cars, freight cars or both. In general, they:

  • inspect rail cars coming into the rail yard to identify defects and determine the extent of wear and damage
  • test air brakes before trains leave the rail yard
  • repair or replace broken, defective or worn car components such as brake parts, wheels, bearings, pistons, gears and steel parts, ladders and doors
  • record information about defects, repairs and time required for repairs.

Railway car technicians often make minor repairs in rail yards or on repair tracks. If major repairs are required, they send rail cars to repair shops. When cars come off rails, technicians work from repair trucks and use mobile cranes to rerail cars.

In rail repair shops, railway car technicians:

  • perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade rail cars
  • work from blueprints, shop sketches and instruction manuals to repair, fabricate and install steel or wood fittings
  • repair and install parts such as air valves, bearings, air cylinders and piping
  • use test gauges to test and adjust parts
  • paint car exteriors and interiors.

Sometimes the cars in need of repair are not owned by the railway company that makes the repairs. When this occurs, technicians must do the paper or computer work required to invoice the other railway company for repair services.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians are required to work on top of and under equipment, often in confined areas. They work indoors in shops and outdoors in all weather conditions. The working environment often is noisy, dusty and dirty. Lifting up to 20 kilograms is required.

Since railway yards operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, technicians must work shifts. Some overtime work may be required. When cars come off tracks, technicians must travel to the site of the derailment. 

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians need the following characteristics:

  • an aptitude for mechanical work
  • an aptitude for mathematics
  • an interest in electrical work, welding and steel fabrication
  • excellent manual dexterity
  • good vision
  • good hearing.

They should enjoy:

  • using tools, equipment and machinery to perform tasks requiring precision
  • having clear rules and organized methods for their work
  • trouble shooting problems.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians must successfully complete an internal three to four year apprenticeship program offered by railway companies or provincially recognized training providers in the provinces where this trade is recognized. Applicants must have a valid driver's licence and be 18 years of age and a high school diploma or related technical training. Applicants for railway car technician apprentice positions may be asked to:

  • write aptitude tests that assess their ability to follow instructions and their mechanical and mathematical abilities
  • take a medical examination
  • pass a performance test.

Welding or metal fabrication experience and the ability to read and create blueprint printouts and diagrams are definite assets.

Apprentices first attend classroom training programs, then rotate jobs working with different journeyperson railway car technicians, and periodically return to the classroom for training in areas such as railway welding. They are gradually given more and more responsibility. 

Railway car technicians must keep up with new rules and regulations that are issued each year regarding repair techniques and invoicing procedures.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians are employed by railway companies and private railway car owners. Prospective apprentices are often recruited from among current employees.

Car technicians may advance to supervisory positions and later to management positions. It is possible for technicians to change employers but this occupation is unique to the rail industry and few railway car technicians transfer their skills to other industries.

Railway car technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7314: Railway Carmen/women. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the Transportation and Warehousing (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Transportation and Warehousing industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Railway car technicians earn from $26 to $34 an hour (2014 estimate).


Related High School Subjects
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Physics
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Fabrication
    • Mechanics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 08, 2015

Careers in Transportation website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 13, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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