Rail engineers build and service the mechanical and electrical systems on train engines and in rolling stock. They work with other trades people including carpenters and electricians.
Who can I work for?
You can work for train operating companies, London Underground, tram companies, rail freight and leasing firms and engineering companies who are contracted by the rail operators.
Where and when can I work?
You will typically work a standard 37-hour week, but you will work it in shifts so this could mean weekend or overnight work. You will be based either in a rail depot or workshop.
What can I earn?
Junior rail engineers start on anything between £9,000 and £15,000. Salaries rise to about £30,000 with experience.
What are the benefits?
You could receive free or discounted rail travel.
Are there chances of promotion?
There are excellent career progression opportunities for experienced rail engineers and you could go on to becomes maintenance team leader or engineering workshop manager.
What will I be responsible for?
Building new engines and carriages, fitting out new carriages with upholstery, lighting, control panels and communication systems, inspecting bodywork, roofs and under-carriages for wear and tear or damage, repairs and replacements, carrying out regular maintenance checks on systems such as brakes and couplings and writing reports and updating maintenance records.
Do I need any experience?
Experience as a mechanical fitter, electrician or craftsperson in another industry is essential. You'll also have to pass a medical exam to test your physical fitness, eyesight, colour vision and hearing.
There are apprenticeships available within the industry and these are a great way to get on-the-job training.
What attributes are needed?
You will need excellent mechanical and electrical skills and the ability to work both as part of a team and alone. Excellent communication skills are a must as are a flexible attitude to work and a high level of physical fitness.