Rail engineering (track) apprenticeships

As a rail engineering (track) apprentice you will train to become a skilled track operative.

National Rail apprentices - picture courtesy of National Rail 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 assets that go to make up the railway - the track, signals and trains - are kept in good working order.

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.

Training to become a rail track engineer

On this apprenticeship you will train to become a skilled 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 rail track maintenance team you will be responsible for inspecting track, both visually and using measuring devices. You will also carry out general maintenance tasks using manual and automated tools. When the weather is bad, you will clear the tracks so that they are safe for trains to run on. You may have to walk along sections of live track and work in areas where trains will be running very close by so it is important that you are always aware of your environment to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.

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.

Skills required

You will need basic literacy and numeracy skills as well as dexterity for using a range of hand tools, a good understanding of health and safety, and the ability 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. You may also be required to undergo checks through the criminal records bureau.


Once qualified you can expect a starting salary of £12,500-£14,500.

Want to find out more about rail track engineering?

Further information on rail engineering (track) apprenticeships can be found at apprenticeships.co.uk.


Reproduced from The Apprenticeship Guide [new window].

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