Career Profile: Light Rail Overhead...

Career Profile: Light Rail Overhead Contact Systems Lineperson

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Every day, people in certain Canadian cities board light rail trains to go to work, school, or possibly to do errands or go visiting. For these people, having a reliable transit system is essential. Light rail overhead contact systems line-people can help make travel in cities easier for many residents.

Like regular trains, light rail lines need tracks, machines to lift cars onto the tracks, switches to direct trains from one track to another, and many other parts that help the trains run. Besides all of this, light rail systems have overhead lines that move them along and help with regulating speed, direction, and other factors.

Light rail overhead contact systems line-people build these systems and repair them if necessary. They might install lights in the tunnels or clear off anything that has fallen on the tracks or do other jobs that have to be done to make the trains run well. Normally, people in this trade work with others, but sometimes a linesperson might need to do a certain job alone. The work might be in tunnels or outdoors, depending on the line and where the tracks are located.

Jobs in this field are usually full time. Daytime hours are most common, but linepeople should be prepared for evening and weekend work when problems occur. Wages start at about $15 per hour and can rise to $30 with experience.

Becoming a light rail overhead contact systems lineperson (what a mouthful!) normally requires a high school education. After that, people complete a three- or four-year apprenticeship which includes 8000 hours of on-the-job training and 120 hours of in-class studies. People who complete all of the requirements receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship and can officially begin as qualified linepeople. Other certification is voluntary.

Jobs are available only in cities with light rail systems, such as in Edmonton and Vancouver, and qualifications are not necessarily valid everywhere in the country. Work in this field involves using a variety of power and hand tools, as well as electrical and lighting equipment. A good understanding of safety procedures and an ability to diagnose problems is also useful.

As with most trades, working as a light rail overhead contact systems lineperson involves physical effort, and it can be difficult for older people to do. Many people in this field might choose to move on to another job after fifteen or twenty years, but with help from others, workers can continue in this job for many years.

Steady hands and an ability to climb ladders are necessary for the work, and comfort with working in confined spaces can help make the job easier. Even when these become difficult, people might choose to work in offices, planning and coordinating the work of building or repairing light rail systems. This type of planning job likely requires more education, but the experience of working on the systems can be very valuable.

Light rail overhead contact systems linepeople have an important role in helping people get around large cities in Canada. If you want to help keep transportation systems running and you enjoy working with your hands, you might want to consider working in this trade.


Apprentice Search. “Light Rail Overhead Contact Systems Lineperson.” https://www.apprenticesearch.com/trades/light-rail-overhead-contact-systems-lineperson-270s.

Government of Ontario. “Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers.” https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/labourmarket/jobProfile/jobProfileFullView.xhtml?nocCode=7244.

Neuvoo. “Rail Transit Salary in Canada.”


Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. “Light Rail Overhead Contact Systems Lineperson.” https://oyap.com/trades/?fuseaction=Profile&appnum=159.

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