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Rail track maintenance worker

Alternative titles for this job include Railway worker, track operative

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

Average salary (a year)

£30,000 Starter


£43,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

45 to 47 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a rail track maintenance worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You might find it useful to take an engineering qualification at college before looking for work. 

Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering
  • Level 2 Diploma in Maintenance Engineering Technology

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More Information


You could do a Rail Engineering Operative Level 2 Intermediate apprenticeship.

You might be able to find apprenticeships with companies like Network Rail and Transport for London.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You could apply directly to work as a rail track maintenance worker. You'll usually start as a trainee. 

You'll find it useful to have:

  • experience of manual work in a related role like construction or engineering
  • GCSEs including English and maths

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a rail track maintenance worker from Network Rail and Transport for London.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

As a rail track maintenance worker, you'll work in a safety critical environment around live wires and on train tracks. This means you'll have a medical as part of the selection process. This will include checking your hearing and vision.

You might also need to:

  • take regular drug and alcohol checks
  • have a driving licence so you can drive rail company vehicles
  • live no more than an hour away from the location you wish to work

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a rail track maintenance worker, you could:

  • install and renew track, tunnels, embankments, cuttings, level crossings and bridges
  • check sections of track are the correct height and distance apart
  • inspect track to see if it has any defects or needs any maintenance
  • clear potential obstacles and report incidents
  • use hand signals and be a lookout when working on the track to keep your team safe

Working environment

You could work on rail tracks.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

London Underground Track Operative Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £23,404.00 Annually
  • Location: London

Courses In England

Rail Engineering Track Maintenance PTS

  • Provider: Capital City College Group
  • Start date: 11 January 2025
  • Location: London

Rail Engineering Track Maintenance Level 2

  • Start date: 13 May 2024
  • Location: Birmingham

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