Rail Engineering Technician

Rail Engineering Technicians provide technical support to Rail Engineers. The engineering disciplines cover the following areas of “The Railway” (infrastructure and trains); track (including minor works), overhead line, electrification, signalling, telecommunications, traction & rolling stock and rail systems. 



Occupation overview

Apprentices will undertake the core learning and also specialise in one particular discipline. Those working within the occupation of Rail Engineering are responsible for the safe construction, installation, maintenance and renewal of The Railway to provide a safe and reliable railway for customers. The Rail Industry has a high level of safety critical work activities requiring a disciplined and responsible approach. Job titles include: Track Technician, Overhead Line Technician, Electrification Technician, Traction & Rolling Stock Technician, Signalling Technician, Telecoms Technician, Rail Systems Technician.

A Rail Engineering Technician may work on site or in a depot or in a technical office. Their work could involve:

  • Construction, installation, renewal, enhancement and modification of The Railway.
  • Fault finding and diagnosis to prevent or address equipment failures.
  • Maintenance and replacement of systems and components.
  • Functional and operational testing and inspection of The Railway using specialist equipment.
  •  Ensuring assets are installed, replaced or maintained to specification and maintaining required records.


Within a Rail context all Rail Engineering Technicians need to be able to:

  • Keep themselves and others safe by adhering to safe working practices.
  • Understand and comply with statutory regulations and organisational safety requirements, including safe access to work locations.
  • Plan a high standard of technical work: Gathering and interpreting information including drawings, plans, schedules needed for the development of rail engineering activity planning; Detailed inspection and performance & condition analysis of assets; Plan work to be undertaken including the appropriate resources.
  • Deliver a high standard of technical work: Undertake engineering activities in relation to maintenance, construction / installation and or renewal of assets.
  • Complete integrity and compliance checks on own work, instigate testing and identify where independent testing is required.
  • Transfer responsibility of assets once work has been completed. Supervise their own work and that of others.
  • Solve problems: Identify problems and apply a structured approach and appropriate methods to problem solving and diagnosis.
  • Manage resources including the correct utilisation and storage of tools, materials and equipment, and the lifting and moving of materials, components and equipment.
  • Communicate effectively. Use oral, written, electronic and IT based methods and systems for the accurate communication, reporting & recording of technical and other information, using correct terms, standards, templates and certifications.


  • Within a Rail context all Rail Engineering Technicians need to know about:
  • Safe and Professional working practices including legislation, regulation, industry procedures and safety requirements.
  • The scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical and design principles that are required to support the maintenance, renewal and construction of The Railway.
  • How to work effectively and contribute to engineering solutions and innovation including understanding and applying problem solving techniques and diagnostics, project planning and management, time management and quality management and assurance systems.
  • The importance of third party requirements and client confidentiality and the need to understand and adhere to corporate policies on ethics, equality and diversity.
  • How the railway works commercially including contractual principles and implications 


All Rail Engineering Technicians are expected to demonstrate the following behaviours:

• Act professionally demonstrating dependability, determination, honesty and integrity. Respect others, act ethically and contribute to sustainable development.

• Be risk aware so as to reduce risks through systematic monitoring and checking of information, concentration on the task, and awareness of changing circumstances on activity.

• Display a self-disciplined, self-motivated, proactive approach to work, able to make independent decisions whilst knowing one’s limitations and when to ask for help or to escalate.

• Work reliably and safely, often without close supervision, to approved industry standards and safe working practices.

• Work effectively and efficiently, individually and as part of a team, maintaining effective relationships with colleagues, clients, suppliers and the public.

• Receptive to feedback, willing to learn new skills and adjust to change. Identifying, carrying out and recording CPD necessary to maintain and enhance competence.

 • Prepared to make a personal commitment to their employer, the industry and its professional standards.

Entry Requirements 

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. Employers who recruit candidates without

English or Maths at Grade C or above must ensure that the candidate achieves a Level 2 equivalent standard prior to taking the end point assessment.


The typical duration for this apprenticeship is 36 months but this will depend on the previous experience of the apprentice and access to opportunities to gain the full range of competence.

Professional Qualifications/Recognition

Level 3 Rail Engineering (Competence) • Level 3 Rail Engineering (Technical Knowledge)

This is a Level 3 Apprenticeship. On completion the apprentice will have satisfied the requirements for registration as an Engineering Technician by the relevant Professional Engineering Institutions.


Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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