Rail connects people to places and jobs and is a fundamental part of the economy. Our vast rail networks work to safely transport people and goods to where they need to be, on time, every time. The Rise of the Engineer Issue 3 factsheet looks closely at the rail sector, explaining the importance of modern engineering technologies and the varied opportunities that are available in bringing this once historic industry into the modern day.
In the West of England, our railway is more popular than ever. Passenger numbers have increased at a faster pace than expected and continue to rise. Every day four million people use the network and today we carry 50% more passengers than 10 years ago. Network Rail has enabled around 400,000 more passenger trains to run per year than in 2009 and the amount of freight moved has increased by 13%.
There are a wide variety of engineering jobs available in the rail industry, working for companies such as Network Rail, First Great Western, and now, with the electrification of parts of the network, Hitachi Rail Europe. Your responsibilities could range from delivering small-scale improvements to multi-billion pound civil projects. You could also gain experience in maintaining heritage bridges and structures, or be responsible for specifying innovative building materials and techniques to improve reliability and sustainability. What’s more, you could deliver management solutions for complicated inner-city assets, or establish inspection and maintenance requirements for embankments and cuttings running through the countryside. In fact, you might well do several of those things, one after another.
Modernisation and smarter ways of working have delivered more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter better stations. Enhanced rail services, improved connections and significantly reduced journey times are bringing enormous benefits to individuals, businesses, communities and the local economy in the West of England.
Claudia Philps, assistant track maintenance engineer at Network Rail is glad that she chose a career in rail engineering, she said; “I love my job and engineering has provided me with some interesting, some bizarre, and some brilliant moments. While completing the Network Rail graduate scheme I had the opportunity to work on the Climate Change Adaption Plan and to see my recommendations being implemented is really satisfying.”