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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)

£29,000 Starter


£55,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 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 Railway signaller

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could take a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you'll need in this job, for example the Level 2 Certificate in Rail Engineering.

Some colleges organise work placements with rail engineering companies as part of the course, so speak with them to get more details.

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
  • Rail Infrastructure Operator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Rail Engineering Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

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 become a railway signaller with Network Rail, who operate the rail system. You'll need a good general standard of education, including English and maths GCSEs.

You do not need any specific experience to become a railway signaller. However, it might be useful to have worked in a role:

  • that is safety critical
  • where you need to concentrate
  • that involves communicating with others

Assessment and interview

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

Non-technical skills are important in railway signalling jobs. During the assessment day, you'll be tested on safety awareness, staying calm under pressure and working with large amounts of information.

You can find out more about the Network Rail recruitment process to become a signaller.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can find out more about working in the rail industry from Network Rail and Routes into 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 operate and control equipment
  • 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

As a railway signaller, you could:

  • check incident reports at the start of your shift
  • monitor train movements on computer systems
  • operate controls in a manual signal box or electronic control centre
  • speak to drivers for updates, contact maintenance teams to report signal problems and write incident reports
  • do training for 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
  • take further training to work as a signalling designer
  • apply for jobs in other parts of the rail system through Network Rail's internal promotion programme

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Railway signaller 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

Rail Engineering Track Maintenance PTS

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

EAL L2 Cert in Rail Engineering Underpinning Knowledge

  • Provider: NCG
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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