Signals & Communications Apprentice

Signals and Communications Apprentice – US

Enjoying physical labour and working outdoors as well as being safety-minded are vital to a career in rail operations at CN. If you like being part of a team and working in different locations every day, a rewarding career in track maintenance will appeal to you. Working on a crew, you’ll be part of an ever-changing, safety-first work environment that ensures our infrastructure is safe, sound and train-ready. At CN, the careers we offer are meaningful because the work we do matters. Join us! 

Job Summary

The Signals and Communications Apprentice (S&C) – United States (US) is responsible for installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining various signals and communications systems and apparatuses, including railway signaling systems, wayside information systems, and highway grade crossing protection systems.

Major Responsibilities

  • Install, repair, maintain, test, and inspect signal systems and apparatus, including automatic blocks, traffic controls, train stops, train controls, cab signals, and interlocking systems
  • Perform construction duties, including digging holes and trenches to lay cables, wiring apparatus, setting piers, and installing equipment
  • Perform highway grade crossing protection and automatic classification yards
  • Use a wide variety of hand tools, bonding rail, and testing signal plans, including on track high-rail equipment and test instruments to bury cable and wire equipment
  • Ensure a safe working environment by following CN’s safety policies and procedures

Working Conditions

  • Must be available for shift work, including weekends and nights
  • Work is performed outdoors, sometimes in extreme weather conditions and on uneven terrain and surfaces
  • Regular exposure to dust, pollen, fumes, noise, and vibrations
  • Must meet medical fitness for duty requirements
  • Ability to grasp and work at heights and elevations
  • Able to perform repetitive physical activities
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds frequently, and up to 85 pounds occasionally
  • Must be available to work away from home in isolated locations


  • Grade 12 Diploma or General Educational Development (GED)
  • Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree, or a 2- or 3-year College level program in Electronics, Engineering or other related field such as Physics or Mathematics*
  • Successful completion of CN’s apprenticeship program, including in-class theory and laboratory work, as well as hands-on skill development in the field
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Collaborates and maintains positive interactions with others
  • Ability to work independently, well organized, and maintain schedules
  • Ability to understand and apply electrical, electronic, and mechanical principles
  • Ability to follow company safety procedures, apply critical thinking, and maintain safety awareness
  • Capable of making effective decisions in unfamiliar locations and when responding to changes, as well as interruptions in work processes
  • Ability to judge the condition of objects and parts for wear and defects
  • Meet established standards of quality, productivity, and client satisfaction
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Good climbing and balancing skills for performing installation and maintenance activities
  • Knowledge of signals or Rail Operating Rules
  • Basic computer knowledge


The incumbent receives 3 weeks classroom training sessions at 40 hours per week at the CN Campus during the one-year apprentice training program. The training is primarily on health and safety rules, standard codes of practice, installation methods, testing and maintenance procedures, and equipment familiarization. Successful completion of the classroom training is mandatory to work as a Signal Maintainer. Once qualified, the role is subject to promotion as a Signals and Communications Maintainer and protect seniority as vacancies arise.

This position is a unionized position. As such, pay and benefits are governed by the applicable collective agreement.

About CN 

CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year. As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the Southern tip of the U.S. through a 19,500 mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship. At CN, we work as ONE TEAM, focused on safety, sustainability and our customers, providing operational and supply chain excellence to deliver results. 


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