Railway training center on track in Homewood
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com August 29, 2013 7:02PM
Canadian National Railway U.S. government affairs director Jim Kvedaras speaks Thursday at the future site of a new CN training facility in Homewood. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2013 6:40AM
A new Canadian National Railway training center where 100 to 125 employees per week will be instructed is set to open in Homewood before the end of 2014.
Local officials and CN Railway executives celebrated the groundbreaking of the site Thursday at 175th Street and Ashland Avenue.
The 62,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar Southland site will complement a 100,000-square-foot training site the company is building in Winnipeg, Canada, officials said.
New CN hires and existing employees will be sent to the Homewood location to be trained to be locomotive mechanics, track supervisors, signal maintainers, car mechanics, electricians, heavy duty mechanics, rail traffic controllers, locomotive engineers and conductors.
CN Railway is one of the largest railroads in North America, spanning Canada and mid-America.
“The Canadian National has been an investor in the community, and their employees live in this area,” U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) said. “That’s what we need here is jobs, jobs, jobs.”
CN officials said the site will boast 14 classrooms, two learning labs and a 10-acre field training facility.
The training programs range anywhere from three to 24 weeks and will allow CN employees to earn proper certification.
For example, the conductor training program qualifies new hires to be conductors. The program requires employees to spend five weeks in the classroom and two weeks of intense field training to earn student conductor status. To earn conductor status, the students have to undergo an additional 45 to 60 structured, qualifying train trips.
“This truly is hands-on-style training where we will outfit and train these future railroaders in these state-of-the-art facilities,” said Michael Farkouh, CN vice president of safety and sustainability. “We are confident that our new training centers will become a benchmark for the railroad industry.”