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Railway signaller

Alternative titles for this job include Points operator, signal operator

Railway signallers operate the signals and points on rail tracks to keep trains running safely and on time.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

44 to 46 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 railway signaller

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant courses include the Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Rail Services.

You would usually need to be working in the rail industry or be on a relevant placement to be able to complete this course.

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 infrastructure operator or rail engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship. There is also a rail engineering technician advanced apprenticeship in which you can follow a signalling specialist pathway.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly to Network Rail, who operate the rail system. You'll need a good general standard of education, including English and maths GCSEs.

Signallers can come from a variety of work backgrounds. Network Rail is interested in people with experience of work that:

  • needs concentration
  • is safety critical
  • involves communicating with others

You'll go through initial checks before being invited to an assessment day and interview.

Non-technical skills are very important in this job, like safety awareness, staying calm under pressure and being able to deal with large amounts of information. These qualities will be tested during the assessment.

Find out more about the recruitment process to become a signaller with Network Rail.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers for professional development.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a railway signaller from the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers and Network Rail.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • be screened for drugs and alcohol
  • pass a medical check

What you’ll do

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may

  • check incident reports at the start of the shift
  • track trains on computer systems and electronic displays
  • operate controls in a manual signal box or electronic control centre
  • speak to drivers and other staff to give and receive updates
  • contact maintenance teams to report signal problems
  • write incident reports for managers
  • train in track regulations and new technology

Working environment

You could work in a control room.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a signalling supervisor or control room manager. With further training, you may be able to work as a signalling designer.

You may also be able to apply for non-signalling jobs through Network Rail's internal promotion system.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Rail Engineering Technician Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £15,817.00 Annually
  • Location: Allerton, Liverpool

Rail Engineering Technician Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £15,817.00 Annually
  • Location: Newton Heath Manchester, Manchester

Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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