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Rail Track Worker 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 Rail Track Worker. This page details the following Information:-

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

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Rail track workers repair and maintain railway tracks. It is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the track by reporting and clearing potential obstacles.

Laying new track, or carrying out major repairs, requires the use of machinery to lay ballast (crushed rock used for the foundation of railway tracks). Spades and shovels, pneumatic drills, and welding equipment are also used.

Workers form small teams and take instructions from a team leader under the supervision of a technician or civil engineer.

Hours and Environment:

Work is carried out on the track in all weathers. Protective clothing is provided: overalls, hard hats, boots and ear protection.

Depending on the location of the track, long distance travel from base could be necessary. This could involve relocation for short periods of time.

Physical fitness is required as some of the work involves strenuous effort. There is also a lot of bending, lifting, carrying, standing and walking.

Skills and Interests:

As a rail track worker, you should:

  • be physically fit
  • have manual dexterity
  • enjoy working outdoors
  • be a team player
  • be safety conscious
  • have the ability to use hand and machine tools
  • have good communication skills
  • have good eyesight and hearing
  • have normal colour vision.


There are no academic entry requirements, but a good general standard of education, in particular, literacy and numeracy skills will be expected.

The minimum age for entry is usually 18, and previous experience of work in the building industry could be an advantage.

New entrants will be required to pass a medical examination; this is to test fitness levels, eyesight, colour vision and hearing. The safety of rail passengers is of critical importance, and there is a rigid policy on drug and alcohol abuse. Random alcohol and drug tests can be conducted at any time.

Mature applicants are welcomed, in particular individuals with previous work experience in construction or civil engineering. All applicants will need to pass the medical examinations and physical fitness tests.


After a short induction course to learn the safety aspects and company rules, new entrants will train by working alongside experienced track workers.

You may be able to work towards NVQ/SVQ levels 2 and 3 in Rail Transport Engineering Maintenance (Permanent Way).

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).


Job vacancies may be advertised locally for each area or network. Most opportunities are in big towns and cities.

Some underground/metro/light rail operators employ track workers.

Job opportunities are improving; there is a lot of work to repair faulty tracks around the country and make them suitable for the new, faster trains.

Some workers develop skills in welding in order to be able to join sections of rail together, or in operating track-laying machines. Train-driving training may also be necessary.

Promotion is usually to supervisor or team leader. Some workers become track inspectors or managers. Promotion may be faster if you move between employers.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

New entrants earn a basic wage of around £10,000.
Experienced workers earn £20,000 or more a year depending on skill and the hours worked.
Earnings can be over £30,000 a year with overtime and unsocial hours.

Some companies offer free or reduced price travel as an extra benefit.

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 Rail Track Worker Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Rail Track Worker 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 Rail Track Worker 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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