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How to become a Railway Fitter/Electrician

railway fitter/electrician careers

What does a Railway Fitter/Electrician do?

Mechanical maintenance fitters repair and service the traction units that pull trains, passenger carriages and goods wagons. Some fitters and electricians build new traction units and carriages.

Routine maintenance checks are carried out. If units are not working efficiently, a range of hand and machine tools are used to fit spare parts, re-wire and re-adjust to eliminate the fault.

Technical drawings and manuals are used for reference. Work is carried out alongside other craftspeople such as carpenters, painters, upholsterers and sheet metal workers.

What's the working environment like working as a Railway Fitter/Electrician?

The working week is normally around 37 hours. Shift work is likely and may include weekends and bank holidays.

The workplace is usually a depot or workshop. Most of these are enclosed and heated. However, some fitters may work outside on the sidings. The work can be dirty and oily. Protective clothing and footwear are provided by employers.

What does it take to become a Railway Fitter/Electrician?

To be a railway fitter or electrician, you should:

  • be flexible to work shifts and anti-social hours
  • have good eyesight, including normal colour vision, and good hearing
  • have literacy and numeracy skills to work with technical drawings and write reports
  • have the ability to develop expertise in a mechanical or electrical field
  • be computer literate
  • be able to learn to use hand and machine tools
  • have patience and a logical approach for fault finding
  • be safety conscious
  • be a team player but also able to work independently
  • be physically fit.

Railway Fitter/Electrician Career Opportunities

Employers include the 13 Train Operating Companies (TOCs), the underground, light rail and metro companies in big cities, freight companies and leasing companies. It may also be possible to work with specialist maintenance companies who are contracted by operating and engineering companies.

Qualified and experienced craftspeople are most likely to gain employment in this field. However, opportunities for school and college leavers are increasing as the industry continues to grow.

Opportunities for promotion are usually to maintenance team leader or manager. Through further training or academic study towards an engineering technician or degree level qualification, it can be possible to broaden promotional opportunities or change career.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Railway Fitter/Electrician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Concorde House
Trinity Park
B37 7UQ
Tel: 0121 635 5520

GoSkills - Rail
88 Kingsway
Tel: 0845 345 2700

Careers in Rail

Network Rail
40 Melton Street
Tel: 020 7557 8000

Northern Ireland Railways
Human Resources Department
Central Station
East Bridge Street
Tel: 028 9089 9400

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