Rail Track Maintenance Worker

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Transport & Logistics

What you will do:

As a rail track maintenance worker, you could:

  • install and renew track, tunnels, embankments, cuttings, level crossings and bridges
  • check sections of track are the correct height and distance apart
  • inspect track to see if it has any defects or needs any maintenance
  • clear potential obstacles and report incidents
  • use hand signals and be a lookout when working on the track to keep your team safe


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Rail Track Maintenance Worker, formal subjects may not be a strict requirement, but a good general education can be beneficial. These workers typically gain experience through on-the-job training and apprenticeships within the rail industry. However, having some relevant knowledge can be useful. Here are some subjects that can help:

  1. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for measurements and calculations required for track maintenance.
  2. Science: A basic understanding of science principles, especially physics, can be valuable in understanding how tracks work and the forces acting on them.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can provide some insights into engineering principles and mechanical systems.
  4. English: Good communication skills are essential when working in a team, understanding instructions, and maintaining records.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You might find it useful to take an engineering qualification at college before looking for work.

In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Certificate in Mechanical Engineering
  • Diploma in Maintenance Engineering Technology


You could do a Rail Engineering Operative Intermediate apprenticeship. You might be able to find apprenticeships with companies.

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:

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

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 45-47 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/ bank holidays on shifts.

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 & 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.