What they do
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.
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.
Tools and technologies
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a railway track worker you usually need to undertake a traineeship in rail infrastructure (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take between 12 and 24 months to complete, and the level 2 traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.