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Rail track maintenance worker Railway worker

Rail track maintenance workers inspect and repair railway tracks, bridges, tunnels and viaducts.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £34,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually start as a trainee with a rail track maintenance company. You may not need formal qualifications but GCSEs including maths and English may be useful.

Experience in construction or engineering and mechanical and maintenance engineering qualifications can also help.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship with Network Rail or Transport for London.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • to be good at practical and mechanical work
  • excellent team working skills
  • an awareness of safe working practices on the railways

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • installing and renewing track, tunnels, embankments, cuttings, level crossings and bridges
  • checking sections of track are the correct distance apart and right height
  • inspecting tracks for defects
  • reporting and clearing potential obstacles, for example after bad weather
  • surveying sections of track to identify maintenance needs
  • reporting accidents and incidents
  • performing lookout and hand signalling duties during trackside operations

You'll use hand tools, pneumatic drills and welding equipment. For major repairs and to lay new track, you'll use heavy machinery.

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £21,000 (after training)

Experienced: £22,000 to £28,000

Highly Experienced: £34,000 (track maintenance supervisor or inspector)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll normally work in shifts covering days, nights and weekends, in all weather conditions. You'll be given protective clothing like reflective overalls, a hard hat and safety boots.

For safety reasons, there are strict policies on drug and alcohol use. You could be tested at any time.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could be promoted to supervisor or team leader. With further training, you could become a track inspector, engineering technician, track designer or manager.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016