Rail infrastructure engineering apprenticeship (track and electrification maintenance)

Rail infrastructure engineering apprenticeship (track and electrification maintenance)

There are over 10,000 miles of railway track in the UK, connecting more than 2,000 stations. It’s the oldest railway network in the world and it requires an army of skilled engineers to make sure that the elements that make up the railway are kept in good working order.

The rail infrastructure is a complex set of systems including signaling, track, telecoms and electrification, that have to work together to ensure the trains operate safely and efficiently. Every system has to be designed, installed, commissioned and maintained and a whole host of engineers and technicians are required to apply their engineering skills and knowledge to deliver a fit-for-purpose rail system.

Train drivers only know where to go, how fast, and whether a station is safe to approach or not because of the signalling system. It’s a vast network of signs, lights and more, telling drivers what to do and when. If it goes wrong, the results could mean delays, diversions and even disasters if the problem isn’t sorted quickly. Add to that the jobs involved in laying the track, keeping communication between stations and trains up and running, and even using the vehicles necessary to get from one point to another on a track to fix it, and you’ve got a lot of opportunities.

Companies such as Network Rail, and other major contractors and sub-contractors, require skilled staff to undertake the complete range of engineering tasks, including track maintenance and renewal. The industry is always looking for innovative ways of reducing costs while maintaining its outstanding safety record.

Intermediate Level – On the Intermediate Level Rail Infrastructure Engineering apprenticeship, you will train to become a track operative and will play a key role in ensuring that the network of track across the UK is in good condition for the safe and efficient running of trains. As part of a maintenance team you will be responsible for inspecting track, and carrying out general maintenance tasks using manual and automated tools. You may have to walk along sections of live track and work in areas where trains are running very close by so it is important that you are always aware of your environment to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.

Advanced Level – The Advanced Level apprenticeship covers four pathways dealing with track, signaling, telecoms and electrification (overhead power cables and third rail supplies). Whichever pathway you choose you are likely to work as a technician or junior technical engineer. Technicians play a key role in inspecting, fault finding, maintaining and renewing the assets within their discipline. The junior technical engineer is critical in the measurement, analysis and planning of work on the various assets.

As an apprentice, you might work in an office as well as on site. You’ll need to enjoy solving problems, be willing to work shifts and be prepared to work outdoors in all weathers.

If you have a keen interest in working in the rail industry, are willing to work shifts, enjoy physical work and are prepared to work outdoors in all weathers, this could be the apprenticeship for you. You will need to be good at working with your hands, have a good understanding of health and safety, and be able to follow instructions and diagrams. Due to the safety critical nature of the role, you should be prepared to go through checks for physical health, including hearing and eyesight, and be tested for drugs and alcohol abuse.


Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3)

Starting salary (once qualified):


Job roles:

Skilled track operative, Junior signal technical engineer, Signal technician, Junior track technical engineer, Track technician, Junior telecoms technical engineer, Telecoms technician

Issuing Authority:

Semta – www.semta.org.uk

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