Rail track maintenance worker

Railway worker

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

Salary range: £18,000 to £34,000

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), or equivalent, 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, 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:

  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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 and use safety equipment.

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.

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