Rail Transport Operatives

Rail transport operatives assist drivers in the operation of passenger and goods trains, drive locomotive engines in coal mines, guide wagons and coaches in marshalling yards and sidings to make up trains, operate signals and points to control the movement of rail traffic, and monitor the operation of surface and underground railways.


New workers

New workers start around £21,515. Normal pay is £48,751 per year.
Highly experienced workers can earn up to £77,064.

Available jobs

In the past year there were 14,304 vacancies for this type of job


Projected job growth over the next 8 years

Related courses

People work towards these careers by taking these courses at college and uni.

What they do most days?

  • Checks loading of tubs and carriages, and informs driver of load distribution and any special features of route.

  • Assists drivers in the operation of diesel, diesel-electric, electric and steam locomotives.

  • Examines shunting instructions, uncouples wagons and coaches, guides movement of carriages using manual points and wagon breaks, links-up carriages, ensures security of couplings and reconnects brake and heating systems.

  • Operates signals and opens and closes barriers at level crossings as required.

  • Examines schedules and decides priority of movement of trains, monitors movement of trains and issues instructions to drivers, signal operatives and level crossing keepers.

  • Provides crews for breakdown trains, allocates relief and replacement crews as necessary, keeps crews informed of any line repairs or restrictions, and checks train running times for punctuality.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are specific, learnable, measurable, often industry or occupation-specific abilities related to a position.

Skills are ranked based on the number of job adverts that list them as required skills.

  • Switchgear

  • Electrical Wiring

  • Auditing

  • Suspension (Vehicle)

  • Ballasts

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Hand Tools

  • Project Management

  • Operational Performance Management

  • Powertrain

Soft Skills

Soft skills can be self-taught and usually do not necessitate a certain completed level of education.

Skills are ranked based on the number of job adverts that list them as required skills.

  • Communication

  • Management

  • Planning

  • Teamwork

  • Operations

  • Problem Solving

  • Customer Service

  • Calmness Under Pressure

  • Willingness To Learn

  • Composure

How do I get a job like this?

People in these types of job started their career paths after studying courses like the ones below.