Railway Engineering – Start a Career in the Rail Industry

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About Course

Ignite your career with our highly-rated railway engineering course:




Welcome to our practical online Railway Engineering Course. This comprehensive program is tailored for those looking to learn the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a railway engineering-based career.

We’re not just about sharing info; we equip you for real-world success. Tailored to meet industry needs, our course ensures you’re ready for the challenges and opportunities in the ever-evolving rail sector.



Who Is This Course Tailored For?

  • Aspiring engineering students
  • Professionals considering a career pivot
  • Current railway sector employees aiming to up-skill
  • Urban planners and consultants
  • Railway enthusiasts seeking formal knowledge



What Insights Await You?

  • Industry context: Grasp the multi-faceted roles of Network Rail and other integral organisations.
  • Railway anatomy: Demystify ballast, sleepers, and rails and their engineering nuances.
  • Track geometry unveiled: Become proficient in vital geometrical components like gauge, cant, and alignment.
  • The art of switches and crossings: Delve into the mechanical and operational aspects of these pivotal track elements.
  • Career navigation: A roadmap to diverse roles, from Track Operative to Track Inspector, complete with salary insights and career progression opportunities.



Course unique selling points:

  • Flexible learning modules
  • Rich and updated study resources
  • Employment opportunities in the rail industry
  • Train towards becoming a fully qualified Track Operative
  • Certification upon completion



What happens after the course?

Most candidates will then opt to move onto the next phase, which includes a medical, drugs & alcohol screening, then Safety Critical Training, which includes gaining your PTS, TIC and OLEC 1 certs (not included in the Railway Engineering Course fee)

We can signpost you where to go for this element of the training or we can put you through our own network of providers for an additional fee of £1999.

Following this, you will then able to apply for jobs with railway employers.

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What Will You Learn?

  • Understand the structure and functions of Network Rail and its role in the UK railway industry.
  • Gain insights into the basic principles of railway engineering, including track design and construction.
  • Learn about key track components like ballast, sleepers, and rails, and their respective functions.
  • Acquire knowledge about track geometry elements such as gauge, cant, alignment, and profile.
  • Explore the operational and maintenance aspects of switches and crossings, including their types and functionalities.
  • Get an overview of the various job roles in railway engineering, from track operative to track inspector.
  • Grasp the significance of proper drainage in railway track construction and the role of ballast in facilitating it.
  • Familiarise yourself with the pay scales, benefit packages, and career progression opportunities in the railway engineering sector.
  • Understand the basics of railway signalling equipment and its importance in the safe and efficient operation of trains.
  • Develop a foundational understanding of safety protocols and best practices in railway engineering and maintenance.

Course Content

Introduction to the system

  • Introduction to the system

Introduction to the Railway
Welcome to RE-101, an integral module designed to offer you a comprehensive introduction to the diverse and dynamic field of railway engineering. In an industry as vital as rail transport, understanding the fundamentals and career pathways is crucial. This module will not only provide you with a broad understanding of how the railway sector operates but also highlight the array of career opportunities available—from track operative to track inspector.

Ballast formation and drainage
Ballast in UK railways is primarily crushed stone that supports the tracks and aids in load distribution. It ensures track stability and allows for adjustments during maintenance. Drainage is another crucial function; the ballast's porous structure helps divert water away from the tracks, reducing the risk of water damage and slippage.

Track Construction and Components
Track construction in the UK railway system comprises several key components assembled to create a stable and functional track. Subgrade: The ground level prepared for laying tracks. Ballast: Crushed stone providing support and drainage. Sleepers/Ties: Horizontal elements laid on the ballast to hold the rails in place. Rails: Long steel pieces that form the track's running surface. Fasteners: Clips, bolts, and screws used to secure the rails to the sleepers. Switches and Crossings: Special track configurations to guide trains from one route to another. Signalling Equipment: Controls to regulate train movement. The construction process generally starts with the preparation of the subgrade, followed by laying the ballast and positioning the sleepers. Rails are then placed and secured using fasteners. Finally, switches, crossings, and signalling equipment are installed to regulate and direct train movement.

Track Geometry
Track geometry refers to the three-dimensional layout of a railway track. In the UK, the focus is on ensuring safety, comfort, and efficiency. Here are some of the key elements: Gauge: This is the distance between the inner sides of the two rails. The standard gauge in the UK is 1,435 mm. Cant: Also known as cross-level or superelevation, cant is the angle of the rails relative to the horizontal. It's designed to help counterbalance the centrifugal forces when a train moves around a curve. Alignment: This refers to the layout of the track in the horizontal plane. It includes straight sections and curves, which are carefully engineered to smooth the transition from straight to curved tracks. Profile: This is the layout in the vertical plane, including gradients (slopes) and vertical curves. Gradients are essential for drainage and can affect a train's speed and efficiency. Track Spacing: This is the distance between parallel tracks, important for safe and efficient operation, especially in multi-track areas. Turnouts: These are points where a train can switch from one track to another. They have specific geometry to allow safe transitions. Clearances: These refer to the space needed around the track to ensure safe passage for trains, taking into account platforms, tunnels, and other structures. Understanding track geometry is crucial for anyone involved in track design, maintenance, or inspection. It plays a vital role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the railway system.

Switches and Crossing
Switches and crossings (S&C) are fundamental components of the UK's railway infrastructure, allowing trains to move from one track to another or to cross tracks. These components enable the complex network of tracks to be navigable, making it possible to operate a flexible and efficient railway system. Below are the key elements: Switches (Points) Switches, also known as points, consist of a pair of tapered rails, known as switch blades, that can be moved to direct a train onto one of two routes. A train moves along the 'stock rail' until it reaches the switch blades, which will either guide it onto a 'through route' or a 'turnout route,' depending on the position of the switch blades. Facing and Trailing Points: Depending on the direction of the train movement, switches can be categorised as facing points (where the choice between routes is presented before the switch) or trailing points (where the route merges after the switch). Crossings Crossings enable tracks to intersect, permitting trains to move from one to another at these junctions. There are various types of crossings, including: Plain Crossing: Where two tracks cross at the same level. Diamond Crossing: A more complex arrangement of a plain crossing, often involving multiple intersecting tracks. Single and Double Slip: These are advanced crossings that combine switching functions, allowing trains to switch tracks as well as continue straight through, all within a compact area. Operation and Maintenance Switches and crossings are usually operated remotely from signalling centres. They require regular maintenance and inspection to ensure they function efficiently, as they are mechanically intricate and susceptible to wear and tear. Understanding the design, operation, and maintenance of switches and crossings is essential for railway professionals, as these components are critical to the safety and efficiency of the railway network.

End of course quiz
you must answer all questions correctly to receive your certificate of completion. Good luck!

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