Summary of occupation
Railway track workers install and maintain railway tracks, as well as the tracks that are used in quarries and by the mining industry. They lay and fix the foundations and sleepers for tracks, cut rails to length, install railway switches, and repair and maintain worn or rough rail ends. They remove damaged track parts, examine and maintain switch signal lamps and the wheel bearings of rolling stock, and may also assist with the righting of derailed rolling stock. Railway track workers work in both the passenger and freight rail service industries and are therefore required all over the state, from the busy passenger lines in and around the Perth metropolitan area to freight lines servicing the mining industry in the state's north.
Lays and repairs tracks for railways, tramways, quarries and mines, and installs and repairs signals and other equipment.
A railway track worker needs:
- physical fitness, strength and stamina
- manual, mechanical and practical skills
- problem solving skills
- strong spacial awareness
- organisation skills
- the ability to complete work in a methodical manner
Railway track workers work outdoors on the construction of passenger and freight rail transport lines. They work in most weather conditions. They also work in train depots and railway yards. Conditions may be hazardous as they usually work with large industrial machinery.
On average, railway track workers can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a railway track worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Railway track workers use a range of tools and equipment in the construction of railway tracks, including rails, sleepers, bolts, welding and industrial bolting equipment. They also work with ballast, which provides the foundations for railway tracks, and also install railway switches. Railway track workers may also use electrical equipment to repair signals. They may also use two-way radios, and may be required to wear protective clothing such as boots, helmets, goggles, gloves and high-visibility clothing.
You can become a railway track worker through completing a traineeship in rail infrastructure. The traineeships take between 12 and 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.