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How to become a Signalling Technician

signalling technician careers

What does a Signalling Technician do?

Signalling technicians, or signal engineering technicians, install, service and repair the signalling and control systems needed to run a railway network. If a fault occurs on one of the systems used for controlling the movement of the trains, technicians travel to the area to trace the reason for the fault.

Repair and maintenance work is carried out with the use of automated and manual tools and reference to technical drawings and manuals. Faulty parts may be replaced, and taken back to the workshop for repair.

Signalling and control systems use electrical, electronic and fibre-optic cables and operate mechanical, electrical, electronic and computerised devices and displays, therefore technicians need a high level of expertise.

What's the working environment like working as a Signalling Technician?

Most signalling technicians work 37 hours a week. Shift work and overtime is likely, as work must be completed without too much interruption to services. The work is usually in a different place each day. This could involve some overnight stays.

The majority of work takes place outdoors on the track in all weathers. It may be necessary to work at heights, and some of the work can be quite physically demanding. Protective clothing is always worn. Working alongside the track means adherence to safety precautions at all times.

What does it take to become a Signalling Technician?

To be a signalling technician, you should:

  • have manual dexterity and an aptitude for practical work
  • have an ability for mental arithmetic
  • have good eyesight and normal colour vision
  • be logical for detecting system faults
  • be physically fit and have stamina
  • be able to work with engineering drawings
  • have computer skills
  • be interested in science and technology
  • have strong written and spoken communication skills
  • have good organisational skills
  • be a team player as well as having initiative.

Signalling Technician Career Opportunities

Signalling technicians are employed by Network Rail and its various contractors. There may also be opportunities within underground rail networks. Modernisation and improvement of safety standards means more recruitment is expected. This may include a growing number of apprenticeship places for school and college leavers.

Promotion is usually from junior to senior technician, team leader and manager. Senior technicians test and commission new signals installations and design new installations.

Some people move into telecommunications.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Signalling Technician 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

Institute of Railway Signalling Engineers (IRSE)
3rd Floor
Savoy Hill House
Savoy Hill
Tel: 020 7240 3290

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

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