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Engineering design

Signalling technician

Signalling technicians identify problems, repair, maintain and test the equipment that moves trains safely.

Annual Salary

£16,500 to £43,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 43 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 5% fewer Signalling technician jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • install new signalling systems
  • carry out routine maintenance checks
  • measure and record equipment test readings
  • upgrade radio and electronic communications networks
  • find and fix equipment faults on-site
  • repair more complex faults back in the workshop

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work on rail tracks, in a control room or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be noisy, outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

The following apprenticeships are relevant to this role:

  • rail engineering technician advanced apprenticeship
  • rail engineering advanced technician higher apprenticeship
  • high speed rail and infrastructure technician higher apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are offered by rail and tram operating companies, Transport for London and Network Rail.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You may be able to apply directly to rail engineering companies if you've got experience and qualifications in electrical or electronic engineering from another industry, or from the armed forces.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • As you will work in a safety critical environment around live wires and on train tracks, you will have a medical as part of the selection process. This will include checking your hearing and vision.
  • You may also have to take regular drug and alcohol checks.
  • For some roles you will need a driving licence so you can drive rail company vehicles.
  • You may also be required to live no more than an hour away from the location you wish to work.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can apply to join the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, which offers professional development training to its members.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in the rail industry from Network Rail and Tomorrow's Engineers.

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With experience, you could move from junior to senior technician jobs and take on team leading responsibilities.

With more qualifications and experience you could become a signalling designer or incident investigator.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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