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- Install and service mechanical and electrical systems on trains
- Requires mechanical and electrical skills & the ability to interpret technical drawings
- You could become maintenance team leader or engineering workshop manager
You'll use hand and power tools, including welding equipment. You'll follow technical plans drawn up by senior technicians or engineers and you'll work closely with other craftspeople like carpenters, painters, upholsterers and sheet metal workers.
- Helping to build new engines and carriages
- Fitting out carriages with lighting, upholstery, control panels and communication systems
- Inspecting bodywork, roofs and undercarriages for wear and tear or damage
- Repairing or replacing parts
- Carrying out regular checks on brakes and couplings
- Taking apart, testing and reassembling mechanical, electrical and pneumatic systems
- Writing reports
- Updating maintenance records
You'll usually work in shifts, which could include weekends and bank holidays. You'll spend most of your time in a rail depot or engineering workshop, with some duties outside on the sidings. Some tasks are dirty but you'll usually have protective clothing and footwear. There's a strict policy on drugs and alcohol and you could be tested at any time. You may need a driving licence and your own transport to start shifts outside public transport hours. You'll take work-based qualifications in personal track safety, installation, testing and maintenance. You may work for train operating companies, London Underground, light rail and metro companies, rail freight and leasing firms. Specialist rail engineering maintenance companies are also big employers.
This role requires mechanical and electrical skills, the ability to interpret technical drawings, report-writing skills, and communication skills to work closely with other craftspeople.
You'll need to pass a medical check, have good eyesight and be physically fit before you can start training. You may also have to take an aptitude test to assess your existing skills and knowledge.
To apply directly for rail technician jobs you would normally need experience and qualifications as a mechanical fitter, electrician or craftsperson with a rail engineering company, or from elsewhere in engineering. For example, a background as a coach builder or construction plant technician may be helpful.
You could start out in a rail track maintenance worker. With experience and further training, you could then apply for a technician role.
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Such as, a Level 2 Diploma in Rail Engineering Operative Competence or Level 3 Diploma in Rail Engineering Technician.
Alternatively, you can get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as a rail engineering technician. You can do apprenticeships with Network Rail or Transport for London.
With experience, you could become maintenance team leader or engineering workshop manager.