Did you know?

Many rail organisations have indigenous scholarships to encourage young people into rail careers. These include cadetships, school-based traineeships and apprenticeships. Check out the careers page of organisations in your area.

Occupation description

Infrastructure or track workers are responsible for doing the physical work of building and maintaining infrastructure assets and equipment, such as rail track, bridges, tunnels, platforms, level crossings, and overhead wiring structures. In Australia,infrastructure workers also build and maintain point machines and signal hardware. Crews (sometimes called ‘road gangs’), maintain the tracks (also called  'right-of-way') and use power equipment, such as spike driving machines and bulldozers, as well as picks and shovels.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

You should enjoy practical and manual activities, be physically fit and able to work as part of a team.  You must have a strong regard for safety.

Working conditions

Rail infrastructure workers spend most of their time outdoors and the work can be physically demanding. Additional tickets or certification may be required to work in the rail corridor, depending on organisational requirements and government legislation. 

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

  • New Zealand: There are no specific requirements for infrastructure workers. Employers usually require NTEA1. You will be expected to up-skill as technology changes. Training is in-house and you will be encouraged to increase your knowledge and experience in areas such as signalling and bridge structures.
  • Australia: There are no specific requirements for infrastructure workers. Employers usually require Year 10. You will be expected to up-skill as technology changes through in-house or external training and certifications. In Australia, the Certificate II in Track Protection may be offered as a traineeship. There is also a Certificate III in Track Protection.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association; About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

For more information

Career paths

Demand for railway infrastructure workers depends on levels of railway construction and maintenance activity. The rail industry offers a wide range of opportunities. Experienced track workers can advance by becoming skilled in operating the machines used to repair the railroad right-of-way. The most qualified track workers may become a track inspector or track supervisors of road gangs. Other career path opportunities may include roles as a plant maintainer, track machine ganger, track welder, and non-destructive tester (ultrasound rail).

If you are keen, you may be offered the opportunity (and be paid) to study additional qualifications including: track protection, track resurfacing, and rail infrastructure. 

This information is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary slightly depending on the structure and needs of your organisation and government rules and regulations.

Useful related qualifications

In Australia, there are related qualifications that may help in your career. These are:

Certificate III options

  • Certificate III in Track Protection
  • Certificate III in Mechanical Rail Signalling
  • Certificate III in Rail Infrastructure
  • Certificate III in Rail Track Surfacing
  • Certificate III in Rail Structures
  • Certificate III in Track Vehicle Operating

Certificate IV options

  • Certificate IV in Rail Infrastructure
  • Certificate IV in Rail Structures

Diploma option

  • Diploma of Rail Infrastructure

Advanced Diploma option

  • Advanced Diploma of Rail Infrastructure

Related Jobs

The jobs below may require additional qualifications as well as experience.

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for an infrastructure worker

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