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UK Railway People

Railway workers adjusting train tracks Image downloaded by John O'Reilly at 12:00 on the 29/01/13

There are hundreds of railway jobs across the UK rail industry. 

Some jobs have abbreviations but what do they mean and most importantly, what do they actually do?

Signaller – Used to be called Signalman but took on the non gender specific term Signaller as more women took up the role. 

A Signaller operates signals and points from either a Signal Box, Power Signal Box, IECC (Intergrated Electronic Control Centre) or a ROC (Rail Operating Centre). They make decisions on train regulation and ensure the safety of all trains in their control at all times. 

Older generation drivers still use the nickname ‘Bobby’ for Signallers. This stems back from wartimes when Signalmen went off to war and Police Officers stood trackside as handsignallers to maintain the safety of trains.

Signallers work for Network Rail.

Appleby Signal Box – Lincolnshire

Ranskill Power Signal Box

Upminster IECC

The Newly created Rail Operating Centre


Driver – This job speaks for itself! S/he makes the train move and work for varying companies.

A drivers cab



Conductor / Guard

The conductor ensures the safety of passengers on a train and operate the doors. They also provide tickets services.

Controllers – Controllers exist across all the rail companies and come in different forms as below.

Incident Controller

Network Rail Controllers oversee the day to day operation of an entire region.  They co-ordinate fault teams and response to any failure or emergency. They work closely with Controllers from other companies to ensure that any problem is co/ordinated effiently in order to get the train service back to normal. 

Train Running Controller

Train Running Controllers oversee the actual train service. They can work with Signallers to make regulating decision but work very closely with the Train Operating Companies to overcome infrastructure problems and get their train services back to normal. They also ensure that the timetable is running effiently.

Route Control Manager

The boss of the two above. Strategic planners and also takes up large scale incidents, liaising with emergency services and varying different agencies.

Mobile Operations Manager – Known in the industry as a MOM is a first responder to any incident on the railway that has an adverse affect on the train service. 

Incidents can range from trespass, bridges being struck by road vehicles, points failures, level crossing incidents and fatalities. 

A MOMs duty is to provide a frontline response to the Signaller and the Incident Controller. In large scale incidents, the incident Controller may be replaced by the Route Control Manager who would become Gold Command.

Mobile Operations Manager Response Vehicle

S&T Technician (Signalling and Telecommunications) – These guys renew and maintain the railway. From signals to points and even lineside telephones to an extent. 

These guys are the unseen heros of the rail industry who don’t get enough credit for the work or conditions in which they work.

S&T working in a lineside cabinet



P-Way – Permanent Way

These guys are responsible for track laying and maintenance of the permanent track. Duties range from welding, lifting and ballast packing.

Offtrack – Offtrack are responsible for drainage, lineside fencing and also respond to and dispose of large animals and people hit by trains.

Delay Causation Clerks – These were brought into force when the Railway privatised. They investigate delay on behalf of Network Rail to ensure the correct compensatory measures are enforced. They work closely with Signallers, Controllers and the Train Operating Companies.

Customer Support Assistant

Usually seen wandering busy station platforms. These guide you to the correct place for your train and assist with Times and luggage. 

Train Manager

Manage everything on the train except the driver and his cab.

There are many, many more railway jobs out there and we will add to this in time. If you’d like to know more, contact us via our Facebook page.

The list above are the frontline, who without; the railway would be at a standstill.

Next time you’re travelling on a train, stop and think about the people that actually make your journey possible. 

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