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Rail construction and maintenance operatives

£16,640 Average salary at age 20
£35,880 Average Salary
47 Average hours per week


Rail construction and maintenance operatives lay, re-lay, repair and examine railway track and maintain surrounding areas.

Main Tasks

  • Patrols length of track and visually inspects rails, bolts, fishplates and chairs for distortion or fracture;
  • Checks tightness of bolts and wedges, replaces damaged rail chairs and repacks ballast under sleepers if necessary;
  • Lubricates points, examines fences, drains, culverts and embankments and carries out any necessary maintenance;
  • Spreads ballast and lays sleepers or metal plates at specified intervals;
  • Positions lengths of rail, sets of points and crossovers and secures rail with bolts, wooden wedges or clips;
  • Fastens together sections of rail by bolting fishplates to rails.


There are no formal academic entry requirements. Off- and on-the-job training is provided. NVQs/SVQs in Rail Transport Engineering are available at Levels 2 and 3.

UK Prospects

13100 Workforce Size
12.71% Predicted decline 2021 - 2027
1844 Predicted Replacement 2021 - 2027

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