Track – What you'll do

There are a number of key tasks that we do every day.

Inspection

Track needs to be inspected visually and by using measuring devices. This allows us to monitor any deterioration so that priorities for work can be confirmed and repair/maintenance work carried out. Inspection does mean walking long sections of track while trains are running, with lookouts to warn of approaching trains.

Planning of work

This means organising all materials, manpower and equipment (tools, lighting, generators and road-rail vehicles) so that they are on site together. Working on track is different to working in the closed, controllable environment of a factory. Here you will be outside, or in a tunnel and miles away from your depot, so planning is extremely important.

Maintenance

Maintenance is all about inspection – identifying work to keep the track fit for trains, then planning and carrying out the work. It's all about having an eye for detail and doing small jobs to prevent the need for significant work.

Faulting

When something unexpected happens, we have to respond. Because track is exposed to the weather and very heavy loads running sometimes at very high speeds, deterioration can happen sooner than expected. If it does, we send out a team to fix the fault or reduce the risks on the line.

Basic track work can be physically demanding, as it involves handling materials and plant. Specialist skills include:

  • Techniques for inspecting rails
  • Welding
  • Grinding
  • Ultrasonic testing rails
  • Stressing rails
  • Fitting sleepers and fastenings
  • Adjusting the geometry of the track

You could also become involved in:

  • Drainage issues
  • Line-side vegetation
  • Site surveys
  • Maintenance and repair of crossings

As you are doing this, you will be working as part of a track maintenance team, generally outside and often during unsociable hours when trains aren't running. Of course, safety is paramount to us – so working in a disciplined way is essential.