Why work in rail transport?
Okay, so a few of us may have one or two gripes about the rail network. You may have encountered the odd late train or overcrowded carriage, but more often than not they run like clockwork.
The UK rail industry boasts some of the nation’s biggest and most important employers, such as DB Schenker Rail and Network Rail. Oh, and there are plenty of ways for you to get involved in one of the UK’s most traditional industries.
What options do I have to work in rail transport?
Let’s start by explaining the sort of job roles you could pursue. To be honest, it’s pretty varied. You could be working as a specialist transport engineer or maintenance technician, helping to build and maintain railway infrastructure, equipment and vehicles.
You could work as a train driver, a customer services executive or as part of the station staff, who are responsible for keeping passengers safe on the platforms and providing them with important information about delays and platform changes.
You might even be able to pursue a career within the corporate services arm of a major rail company, i.e. within an HR, admin or I.T. position.
This industry is all-encompassing and gives people from all academic backgrounds the chance to develop a long and successful career. The very best rail companies offer all kinds of training opportunities to help you kick-start your career and get you rolling like a locomotive. Companies such as Network Rail and First Great Western offer internships, apprenticeship schemes and other opportunities that aspiring rail-aholics can pursue.
Rail companies offer a wide range of opportunities for I.T. professionals. However, you’re likely to need a relevant computer science degree and some work experience, as competition for jobs is quite fierce.
For pretty much every role, from customer services representatives to train drivers, you need to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. You’ll need to be friendly and patient with passengers. What’s more, you’ll need to have excellent organisational skills and sometimes be willing to work unsociable hours.
What does it take to work in rail transport?
For more information on rail engineering jobs, head over to the Transport Engineering subsector now! For everything else, we’ll give you a run down right here, right now!
You’ve really got to know your stuff to become a train driver nowadays. It’s not easy, but it can be an interesting and challenging role. You’ll have many strings to your bow. You might be sorting out problems on the train at one point and attempting to resolve any passenger issues the next.
Your responsibilities may also include identifying technical problems that need repairing and delegating maintenance tasks to engineers in order to make sure that they get rectified quickly and efficiently. However, most importantly, you’ll be the superstar that makes sure everything runs smoothly and on time.
Train operators work alongside train drivers and engineers to record any technical hitches that are discovered on vehicles. Following this information gathering process, they will then write and distribute reports regarding technical defects or other incidents at railway stations. On a much more functional level, these guys are the people in charge of maintaining health and safety standards at stations, keeping passengers safe and making announcements to keep everyone informed about cancellations, delays and platform alterations.
Sometimes there are problems with rail operations. This is where the customer service personnel come in to play. These are the people who offer advice on the best route to your destination, the cheapest way there and what time the train leaves. Basically, they provide customers with any help they possibly can. However, these can be some of the most stressful roles and you’ll have to be thick-skinned to put up with angry commuters.
If none of these are for you, fear not! Working in the rail sector affords a ton of diverse positions, such as:
- I.T. staff, who are responsible for making sure rail websites and platform computers are up to date and displaying the right information
- Marketing and advertising executives, who promote good deals, cheap tickets and general awareness of the company
- On-board food and drink staff, who are responsible for the upkeep of the shop and preparation of various snacks.
You probably won’t be dealing with anorak-wearing, binocular-toting train spotters, or Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, so that’s always a plus – not that there need to be any extra pros to working in this sector, given the huge variety of occupations!