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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'll need in this job. 

You could do a course like the Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Rail Services.

You would usually need to be working in the rail industry or be on a 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 Engineering Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Rail Infrastructure Operator Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Rail Infrastructure Operator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Rail Engineering Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship and choose the 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 become a railway signaller with Network Rail, who operate the rail system. You'll need a 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 railways signalling jobs. During the assessment day, you'll be tested on skills like 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 (IRSE) for professional development.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a railway signaller from the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) 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

As a railway signaller, you could:

  • check incident reports at the start of your shift
  • track trains 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
  • do further training to work as a signalling designer
  • apply for jobs not related to signalling through Network Rail's internal promotion system

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

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  • Wage: £14,238.88 Annually
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Apprentice Rail engineering Technician (traction and rolling stock)

  • Wage: £17,111.00 Annually
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Courses In England

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