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Signalling technician

Signalling technicians maintain and repair rail telecommunications equipment and signalling systems.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this job through a rail infrastructure engineering (signalling) apprenticeship.

You can check to see if apprenticeships are available through organisations like Network Rail or Transport for London (TfL)

If you've experience in electrical or electronic engineering from another industry, or from the armed forces, you could apply directly to rail engineering companies for work.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical and technical skills
  • a methodical approach
  • the ability to read technical diagrams
  • computer and maths skills
  • strong written and spoken communication skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • installing new signalling systems
  • carrying out routine maintenance checks
  • measuring and recording equipment test readings
  • upgrading radio and electronic communications networks
  • finding and fixing equipment faults on-site
  • repairing more complex faults back in the workshop

You'll use a range of electrical and computer-controlled instruments to test and inspect equipment. You'll also use hand and power tools to carry out maintenance and repair work.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £28,000

Highly Experienced: £29,000 to £40,000

Free or reduced price rail travel is often included.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, possibly on a shift system including nights and weekends.

You'll work in a signal control centre, an engineering workshop, or outdoors. You'll wear protective clothing when working trackside. This is an active role, so you'll need a reasonable level of fitness.

You'll usually have to travel to different parts of the track network each day, often with overnight stays.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move from junior to senior technician jobs and take on team leading responsibilities.

With more qualifications and experience you could become a signalling designer or incident investigator.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017