Rail construction and maintenance operatives


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Rail construction and maintenance operatives lay, re-lay, repair and examine railway track and maintain surrounding areas.


There are no formal academic entry requirements. Off- and on-the-job training is provided. NVQs/SVQs in Rail Transport Engineering are available at Levels 2 and 3.

Typical tasks

  • patrols length of track and visually inspects rails, bolts, fishplates and chairs for distortion or fracture;
  • checks tightness of bolts and wedges, replaces damaged rail chairs and repacks ballast under sleepers if necessary;
  • lubricates points, examines fences, drains, culverts and embankments and carries out any necessary maintenance;
  • spreads ballast and lays sleepers or metal plates at specified intervals;
  • positions lengths of rail, sets of points and crossovers and secures rail with bolts, wooden wedges or clips;
  • fastens together sections of rail by bolting fishplates to rails.

Common job titles

Patrol (railways)
Roadsman (mining)
Man, road (mining)
Engineer, ultrasonic (railway maintenance and repair)
Trackman (mine: not coal)
Examiner, track
Constructor, way, permanent
Inspector, line (railways)
Patrolman (railway maintenance and repair)
Lengthman (railway maintenance and repair)
Inspector, ultrasonic (railways)
Patrolman (railways)
Installer, way, permanent
Detector, flaw, rail, ultrasonic
Engineer, ultrasonic (railways)
Trackman (railway maintenance and repair)
Man, maintenance (railway maintenance and repair)
Examiner, bridge (railways)
Man, way, permanent
Lengthman (railways)
Relayer (railway maintenance and repair)
Man, maintenance, track (railways)
Layer, track
Layer, rail
Trackman (railways)
Layer, road (railway maintenance and repair)
Examiner, bridge (railway maintenance and repair)
Hand, maintenance (railway maintenance and repair)
Operator, detector, flaw, rail, ultra
Railman (coal mine)
Relayer (railways)
Repairer, railway
Setter, road
Layer, plate
Operator, ultrasonic (railway maintenance and repair)
Patrol (railway maintenance and repair)
Man, maintenance (transport: railways)
Sub-inspector (railways: engineering)
Layer, road (railways)
Repairer, road (mine: not coal)
Sub-inspector (railway maintenance and repair)
Operator, ultrasonic (railways)
Man, maintenance, track (railway maintenance and repair)
Layer, block (mine)
Inspector, ultrasonic (railway maintenance and repair)
Worker, maintenance, track, rail