Rail track maintenance worker

Alternative titles for this job include Railway worker

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

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£34,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

45 to 47 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a Rail track maintenance worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You'll find it useful to take an engineering qualification at college before looking for work. Relevant 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) for a level 2 course

More information


You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship like:

  • rail infrastructure engineering: track maintenance
  • rail engineering operative

These are offered by companies like Network Rail and Transport for London.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, 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:

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

    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

    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
    • sensitivity and understanding
    • the ability to work well with others
    • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
    • to be flexible and open to change
    • leadership skills
    • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

    Restrictions and requirements

    You'll need to:

    • have good eyesight and be physically fit, as you'll have to pass a medical before you can start training

    What you'll do

    Day-to-day tasks

    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

    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.

    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.

    Training opportunities

    Apprenticeships In England

    We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Rail track maintenance worker right now.

    The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

    Courses In England

    HNC Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering

    • Start date: 01 September 2019
    • Location: Wakefield

    Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering Level 4

    • Provider: KIRKLEES COLLEGE
    • Start date: 04 September 2019
    • Location:

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