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Metra Assistant Conductor in Chicago, Illinois

Assistant Conductor


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United States of America



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Metra is one of the largest and most complex commuter rail systems in North America, serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane, and McHenry counties. The agency is linking communities in Northeastern Illinois by providing safe, reliable and efficient service.

The Transportation Department is responsible for providing safe, efficient and dependable transportation to commuters on all Metra-operated lines: Milwaukee North and West, Rock Island, Metra Electric, South West Service, North Central Service and Heritage Corridor and those lines operating under purchase of service agreements: BNSF and Union Pacific.

Metra’s Assistant Conductor program is a challenging and rewarding opportunity. All individuals who graduate from the Assistant Conductor program will be assigned to work on the CUS, RID or Metra Electric District; you will be assigned to the Guaranteed Extra Board (GEB) until you have enough seniority to "hold" one specific job. What does this really mean to you?

  • You must be available to work seven days per week.

  • You may work 25 consecutive days in one month and still be subject to be called into to work for the remaining 5 or 6 days in that month. This does happen.

  • You will not have any regularly scheduled days off (including weekends and holidays).

  • Your work hours will vary from day to day. This is not a 9-5" Monday through Friday job. The typical job at Metra is on duty for more than eight hours and up to twelve hours in many cases for any given day.

  • Many jobs on the extra board are called yard assignments where you will be working outside for long periods of time. Employees must be able to work outside with exposure to all weather conditions (heat, rain, ice, snow, cold).

All individuals in train service are subject to random drug testing as required by the Federal government. These are conducted during your duty hours when your name is selected by computer.

All applicants must complete an intensive fourteen-week training session comprised of seven weeks of intensive classroom training followed by seven weeks of on-the-job training. During the on-the-job training, you will be assigned to various jobs on your assigned district to help you become familiar with the territory and job assignments. Applicants must pass exams and quizzes with 85% or better.

A train service employee may work in three major areas: passenger service, flagging assignments or yard assignments. An Assistant Conductor on the extra board, you will work in all these areas.

  • Passenger Service: The Assistant Conductor works in a unique environment that requires self-discipline and the ability to work without direct supervision. The ability to work well under stress is also important in handling the volume of passengers and cash fares collected during rush hours and special events. Your duties in train service also include train setup and inspection, fare collection, accurate handling of daily remittance, door operation and good customer service.

Flagging: The primary responsibility of the flagman is to that workers and equipment are not allowed to interfere in any manner with normal train operations except when specific provisions have been made.

  • Yard Operations: The yard is a system of tracks within defined limits provided for the making up of trains, storing of cars and other purposes. The assistant conductor performs switching operations for on-time I on-plan car routing, delivery and pickup.

The following are descriptions of the various job functions that a train service employee must be able to perform.

  • Train Operation and Movement: Assure safe, on time performance, take appropriate action when conditions threaten safety of crew or passengers. Must be able to communicate information using radios, telephones or the use of hand signals. Must receive, relay and act upon directives given to you by Transportation Officials, Train Dispatchers and customer service personnel and communicate with police and emergency response personnel.

  • Switching Operations: Must be able to get on and off stationary and moving equipment, couple and uncouple air hoses, must ride on moving equipment by holding on to grab irons and standing on ladder steps in all types of weather, must be able to adjust and align knuckles for coupling. Must be able to read and align switches for train movement, must understand track numbers and locations, operate various track switches and derails to change routing of trains or cars and apply and release hand brakes.

  • Conduct Train Inspections: Must inspect the condition of the train and equipment by doing radio tests, brake tests, door operation. Must make sure equipment has necessary inventory (flagging kit, fire extinguisher, first aid kit etc.). 'Must also inspect exterior of the train by walking the entire length of the train consist in inclement weather.

  • Communicate and Report Information: Must be able to communicate information using radios, telephone or the use of hand signals. Must receive, relay and act upon directives given to you by Transportation Officials, Train Dispatchers and Customer Service personnel. Communicate with police and emergency response personnel.

  • Cash Fare Collection: Responsible for collection and remittance of monies collected from passengers.

Metra is a railroad employer subject to the provisions of the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, not the Social Security Administration.


  • High School Diploma or GED and a minimum of two (2) years of train service experience with a railroad and must pass a preliminary operating rules assessment; OR

  • 60 college level credit hours from an accredited college or university and must pass a preliminary operating rules assessment; OR

  • Minimum of two (2) years of active Metra employment and rules qualified; OR

  • Minimum of two (2) years of active Metra employment and must pass a preliminary operating rules assessment; OR

  • Minimum of two (2) years of active duty Military service and must pass a preliminary operating rules assessment.

  • Proof of eligibility (college, military or previous experience) must be provided if selected to take the assessement.

Metra is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. It is our policy to fill vacant positions with qualified candidates without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, gender identity, disability, or any protected categories, assuming an individual can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.

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