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Railway Fitter Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Railway Fitter. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Railway Fitter
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Railway Fitter Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Mechanical maintenance fitters repair and service the traction units that pull trains, passenger carriages and goods wagons. Some fitters and electricians build new traction units and carriages.

Routine maintenance checks are carried out. If units are not working efficiently, a range of hand and machine tools are used to fit spare parts, re-wire and re-adjust to eliminate the fault.

Technical drawings and manuals are used for reference. Work is carried out alongside other craftspeople such as carpenters, painters, upholsterers and sheet metal workers.

Hours and Environment:

The working week is normally 37 hours. Shift work is likely and may include weekends and bank holidays.

The workplace is usually a depot or workshop. Most of these are enclosed and heated. However, some fitters may work outside on the sidings. The work can be dirty and oily. Protective clothing and footwear are provided by employers.

Skills and Interests:

To be a railway fitter or electrician, you should:

  • be flexible to work shifts and anti-social hours
  • have good eyesight and hearing
  • have normal colour vision
  • have literacy and numeracy skills to work with technical drawings and write reports
  • be computer literate
  • be able to learn to use hand and machine tools
  • have patience and a logical approach for fault finding
  • be safety conscious
  • be a team player
  • be able to work independently
  • be physically fit.


Experience of working as a mechanical fitter, electrician or multi-skilled craftsperson in another industry is usually desirable.

You will have to pass a medical examination for physical fitness, eyesight, colour vision and hearing. The medical will also screen you for drug and alcohol abuse. There may also be an aptitude test or an assessment of your existing skills and knowledge.

There is no upper age limit for those with previous apprenticeship training and/or related work experience. The RITC may be able to advise on adult apprenticeships within the rail industry.


An increasing number of companies are offering craft apprenticeships to school and college leavers. Entry onto an apprenticeship is usually with GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) in maths, English and a science.

As an apprentice, you would first train in basic engineering craft skills in a workshop. You would then spend time in different workshops working on maintenance tasks under the supervision of experienced craftspersons. You would also go to a college on day release to learn the theoretical aspects of the work.

NVQs/SVQs in Rail Transport Engineering: Maintenance (Traction and Rolling Stock) or (Plant) at Levels 2 and 3 are currently available.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


Employers include the 23 Train Operating Companies (TOCs), the underground, light rail and metro companies in big cities, freight companies and leasing companies. It may also be possible to work with specialist maintenance companies who are contracted by operating and engineering companies.

Qualified and experienced craftspeople are most likely to gain employment in this field. However, there may be more vacancies for school and college leavers in the next few years as the industry continues to grow.

Opportunities for promotion are usually to maintenance team leader or manager. Through further training or academic study towards an engineering technician or degree level qualification, it can be possible to broaden promotional opportunities or change career.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

New entrants without experience start at around £12,000 a year.
Experienced fitter/electricians average about £17,000 to £20,000 a year.
Some earn over £28,000 a year.

An extra benefit may be free or reduced price travel.

Further information:

Centre for Rail Skills *
PO Box 39685
W2 1XR
Tel: 0845 345 2700

Network Rail
40 Melton Street
Tel: 020 7557 8000

Northern Ireland Railways
Human Resources Department
Central Station
East Bridge Street
Tel: 028 9089 9400

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Railway Fitter Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Railway Fitter job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Railway Fitter Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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