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.
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.
To be a railway fitter or electrician, you should:
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.
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