Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Old May 27th 2023, 5:11 am
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Default Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Good Morning.

I'm new to the forum and was hoping someone could.

I have been a main line train driver in the UK for 22 years. Started when I was 21 so still got abother 18 years left to do my 40. Ecs passenger trains and over my time I have learnt about 7 different stocks. I was also a qualified domestic electrician on the side.

We are considering a move to canada. Haven't looked that deep into it but was wondering if anyone had done it as a train driver. Got a wife and 2 kids so family mover. If so was it a good move and how easy is it working out there, finding work.

Thank yoi for your help.
Regards
Robin
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Old May 27th 2023, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Hi Robin, and welcome to BE.

You may find that you’ll need a job offer and a sponsoring employer to get a visa, so first step would be to look in to the visa side of things.

This is the official government eligibility tool, start with this and let us know what it says so we can help you further - https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration...nada-tool.html

If it asks you about an English exam just say yes for now (it’s only to give you an idea of your eligibility) and assume max points as a native speaker.

This Wiki article is useful reading too - https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Quick...an_Immigration

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Old May 29th 2023, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Originally Posted by Robwestsussex
Good Morning.

I'm new to the forum and was hoping someone could.

I have been a main line train driver in the UK for 22 years. Started when I was 21 so still got abother 18 years left to do my 40. Ecs passenger trains and over my time I have learnt about 7 different stocks. I was also a qualified domestic electrician on the side.

We are considering a move to canada. Haven't looked that deep into it but was wondering if anyone had done it as a train driver. Got a wife and 2 kids so family mover. If so was it a good move and how easy is it working out there, finding work.

Thank yoi for your help.
Regards
Robin
Can't speak from experience but Canada's intercity passenger rail services are a lot more limited than in the UK, but freight rail such as Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway are a huge thing here and the jobs are unionized, so quite desirable, but I assume you will be required to travel all across the country.
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Old May 29th 2023, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Thank you for your advise. We are looking into it. It may be alot of research. We have to children with autism so lots of things to investigate.
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Old May 30th 2023, 5:29 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

A good majority of railroad type jobs in North America are unionised and very hard to access. If you really want to work in Canada your chances of gaining railroad employment are not likely to be good unless you have someone on the inside at a railroad or have a job offer which with the global economy as it presently is in decline is not likely to happen. I think you will have to explore other employment options, but If you really have your heart set on rail employment I would suggest you send out your CV to employers operating trains and see what happens.

If your employment situation is stable where you work now your probably going to be better off to remain there until retirement age before setting off on a new life adventure. Good luck, Keep us posted and Welcome to the forum.
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Old May 30th 2023, 6:10 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Thank you so much for the reply. I do have the option of returning to being an electrician. I ran my own domestic electrical company here for 10 years on the side, not sure how transfersble it is. Waiting to retirement wouldn't be an option as the kids would have grown up and we would never leave them. The idea Is to give them a better quality of life as things seem to of gone down hill here with schools and the NHS. I do have a very good job. Keeping options open. Need to look into lots of things, medical care, transferring pension. Schools. Big decision.
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Old May 30th 2023, 7:13 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Originally Posted by Robwestsussex
Thank you so much for the reply. I do have the option of returning to being an electrician. I ran my own domestic electrical company here for 10 years on the side, not sure how transfersble it is. Waiting to retirement wouldn't be an option as the kids would have grown up and we would never leave them. The idea Is to give them a better quality of life as things seem to of gone down hill here with schools and the NHS. I do have a very good job. Keeping options open. Need to look into lots of things, medical care, transferring pension. Schools. Big decision.
FWIW, I disagree with the suggestion of waiting until retirement if you want Canada, simply because you've got pretty much no chance of getting a visa then. Any points based visa will give you no points for age by then, and most people require a job offer to get a visa which would be tricky if you've retired and probably the last thing you'd want to do. So for retirement you'd need to look at other countries.

An electrician would be more likely to get a visa, so if you can get recent (full-time) work experience doing that then that may be an option.

But I'd also strongly suggest you do a search of the forum to find info about services for autistic children in Canada. The general consensus is that if you can get a visa (depending on the severity, it could mean a medical failure) then the UK is a much more autistic friendly place than Canada. Dig out posts by user 'dbd33' who has a lot of experience in this area, here's one to get you started - Regret leaving Canada And also search for info on 'moving for the kids'. If you really love Canada then go for it, but better to move for the love of a country rather than the perceived negatives of the country you're leaving behind as you may just find that the same problems are everywhere. If schools where you live aren't great, perhaps a move within the UK may be better (and would save you £20-30k or so!). But hunting around the forums will give you loads of good info.

Best of luck.
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Old May 30th 2023, 7:21 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Thank you so much for the advise. We have always loved Canada and to be fair the main reason for moving would be a better quality of life as nothing is keeping us here. Both my childreb are autistic and adhd but also for want of a better term highly functioning. My daughter is 2 years ackedemcally advanced and my son is doing very well. They cope in main stream they just don't deal well with no control of the kids and shouting teachers trying to control kids with no respect. There's a lot to look into to. I could possibly re open my electrical company on the side but can't give up my job as a train driver here. Not unless we were leaving as its not a job you ever leave. I could bring my qualifications back up to currently regulations but that would depend on them being transferable. I will definatly check it those posts. Thank you so much for the direction.
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Old May 31st 2023, 3:25 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Originally Posted by Robwestsussex
Thank you so much for the advise. We have always loved Canada and to be fair the main reason for moving would be a better quality of life as nothing is keeping us here. Both my childreb are autistic and adhd but also for want of a better term highly functioning. My daughter is 2 years ackedemcally advanced and my son is doing very well. They cope in main stream they just don't deal well with no control of the kids and shouting teachers trying to control kids with no respect. There's a lot to look into to. I could possibly re open my electrical company on the side but can't give up my job as a train driver here. Not unless we were leaving as its not a job you ever leave. I could bring my qualifications back up to currently regulations but that would depend on them being transferable. I will definatly check it those posts. Thank you so much for the direction.
The education for even high-functioning autistic and ADHA kids is not generally much better and often worse than in the UK.

If a child has not been diagnosed as such before entering school, it can take years, and they will get little or no special assistance in the classroom.

I have 2 family members with children classified as "special needs" that centre around concentration/easily distracted/can't organise time, one was diagnosed early as on the spectrum, and is highly functioning but is easily distracted by what is happening around, and also needs help in understanding how to arrange time and detail.

That child is 13, in what is called Middle School here, and despite having been diagnosed and identified as "on the spectrum" well before entering kindergarten, is struggling now. The teachers have said "yes, I understand" "Yes, we will keep you informed", even "I have an autistic child of my own so I know what it is like" .......... they have failed at almost every step of the way since last September.

The family member is now looking at getting the child accepted a an academy that specialises in children needing the same sort of help, and with the aim of getting them back in the mainstream school in 2 years.

I urge you to consider this aspect very very carefully! The onus is on you, the parent, to help every step of the way, and pay for everything that might be needed. There is very little financial help.

I think that every province is in fact worse in general than the UK schools.

You might not be giving your children the best education.
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Old May 31st 2023, 5:52 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Thank you for your reply. My son is 13 and is digonosed ASD. ADHD, SPD and dyslexic. He does need additional support in having tasks broken down, he processes slower than average and struggles with some social and communication support. He will also struggle in large busy atmospheres as he doesn't handle that very well. My daughter is soon to be 10 and going through the process of be diognosed for ASD. ADHD and Sensory. She would be fine in a normal school as needs no additional help academically but needs some support with social and communication. From what has been said it probably wouldn't be s great move for them. They will always be our priority and I'm not sure they would cope with a move to a new country with no support. It sounds like they would both benifit from specialist schools which as you have said would need funding from us. Finding a job was a challenge as we're not sure how transferable my train driving and electrical skils were, but finding a job that would pay enough to support a family of 4 and pay for 2 private schools is out of reach. My wife can only ever work around the kids as she is always needed for childcare. Thank you for all being so honest. Its always best to find out these things early rather than later. Maybe when the kids have grown up if they want to all go as a family we will re visit.
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Old Jun 2nd 2023, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Talking with a buddy last night, he works for CN and said they are crying out for engineers (train drivers) and no experience he did not hing would would be a problem. CN have a training centre in Winnipeg and any new hires go through there for around 8 weeks.As far as immigration is concerned, one would have to contact them to find out.

In regard to people with disabilities, there is a lot less support in schools than there used to be. Getting diagnosis here often difficult, as is getting a family doctor.
Once children are adults, there is little to no help, the onus is on the family.
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Old Jun 2nd 2023, 9:41 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Thank you so much for your reply. With looking into driving wise. I have been driving trains for 22 years so hopefully that would make me appealing as a hire and I have a very good record. It all comes down to the kids now. If they can not get the support they need nothing can happen. My son id diognosed and my daughter will be by the end of the year but would need to know they will be supported. Lots of research. Thank you so much for the advise.
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Old Jun 3rd 2023, 6:56 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Originally Posted by Robwestsussex
Thank you so much for your reply. With looking into driving wise. I have been driving trains for 22 years so hopefully that would make me appealing as a hire and I have a very good record. It all comes down to the kids now. If they can not get the support they need nothing can happen. My son id diognosed and my daughter will be by the end of the year but would need to know they will be supported. Lots of research. Thank you so much for the advise.
There is very little passenger rail in Canada outside of the Quebec-Windsor corridor except city transit systems. I can't speak to whether VIA (the crown corp that runs said QC-ON services along with the few long-distance trains left) would hire externally for drivers or whether it'd be worth pursuing in other respects. I can comment on CP/CN to a certain extent (don't work for them, have spent enough time around people that do for both to know), those (Canadian Pacific / Canadian National) being the main freight railways that stretch across the country:

- (Entry-level) railway jobs are not hard to get in Canada at the moment; they'll hire some absolute idiots. This is because:

- If you start working for one of them you'll start as a conductor (helper/coupler/yard person/car checker/etc sort of dogsbody) not as an engineer (driver). It is a dangerous job with long hours in, depending on where you go, unpleasant to extremely hostile weather. Absent extremely exceptional circumstances you will not be hired externally as an engineer. These are very unionised positions and promotion is by bid ie seniority as that's the method that was established to prevent management from playing psycho games with peoples' lives. You should expect that to take several years. There is a long history of viscerally hostile labour relations in the railway industry here and there is absolutely no love lost between the workforce and management. You can and will be fired for many, many things up to and including 'some guy was having a bad day' or 'there was a quota for headcount reduction this month and you were the first one in the office'. Less so at present - they're overloaded with work - but if there's ever a downturn they start shedding staff hard, immediately. There's a union, you can fight it and may even win, but it's months of hell. I have had some incidental dealings with railway management (again, I don't work on or for a railway) and I can say that, at least, the ones that get let out into the field have been some of the most psychotic freaks I've ever encountered in my life. There is no amount of money that's worth having to deal with those people on a regular basis. Could you get a decent set? Sure. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

- You will not have any kind of work/life balance for the first X years of working for them (X depending on your seniority vis-a-vis what the railway wants). Freight rail here marches to the beat of its own drum schedule-wise, you can and will be called in at 3am out of the blue to take a train Y number of hours from home, be deposited in a bunkhouse in the middle of nowhere for your legally required hours of rest then immediately called in to take another one Z hours away from there, put in a crew bus to another bunkhouse to repeat the process somewhere else etc. You are vanishingly unlikely to have any kind of fixed schedule for several years unless you take a posting somewhere extremely remote where they can't keep people (which is to say, far away from any kind of support for complex kid problems). You may have the option to take a yard job (so, less travel, more switching cars ie more danger) but these usually come with the tradeoff of less and less consistent hours of work. They do not care that you had a party planned, that you were going to take a few days to go away to the coast, that you this that you that etc. You get the call, you report to work two hours from the call, that's it. AIUI you get a certain number of annual refusals but each one will nevertheless move you further up someone's shitlist.

Yeah, they pay well. They have to because noone would work for them if they didn't. If you like driving trains, for the love of god stay in the UK; most traincrew here would bite your head off for your working conditions. I know, I've put the comparison to a large number of them. I cannot emphasize enough that I've talked to hundreds of traincrew over several years and I never, ever, ever, ever, not once, met a single one of them with less than a decade's seniority who was happy. Most of them, saying that, even liked their jobs! It's just that the scheduling, management etc make it nightmarish. It is an utterly loathsome, abusive existence starting out and it's only once you're years in that it stops being so.

Non-rolling trades (signalling, car shop/repairs, construction/MOW, police etc) are much more normal and there's a decent chance you could spin electrical stuff into something interesting given time and recertification. But, there's no guarantees of anything from a distance. City transit systems should be a lot more comparable to what you're used to, but don't hire externally very much - they're mostly highly desirable jobs and not separate from the rest of the city transit system ie you would put in, say, 10 years driving a bus then apply internally for those.
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Old Jun 3rd 2023, 7:25 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Good morning. Thank you so much for you reply. The more research we do the less lightly it becomes a possibility. Kids are the priority and it doesn't look like that would be a great option. The railway out there Is looking like one long headache. If it was just me and the Mrs maybe, but as a family I think it might be time to put this one to rest. Thank you for all your advise.
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Old Jun 3rd 2023, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada as Train Driver

Your best bet is to come here, check out the schools, medical and talk to rail companies. We made several trips over before moving back.
Contrary to the previous post, my buddy who works for CN said they are crying out for engineers (drivers) and are proactively hiring. There are three crew on the locomotives, conductor, engineer, and brakeman. It can be somewhat hazardous in some areas, but with the technology today this has significantly improved.
The only way you'll find out for sure is to come over and speak to them and do research.
The rail companies have a good extended medical plan, which may also cover some of what you need.
Hurdle to overcome would be immigration.

Last edited by Hemlock; Jun 3rd 2023 at 7:53 pm.
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