Career Profile: Signaller
Steer your career towards the rail industry with one of these rewarding possibilities.
To start your career as a railway signalling operator, you’ll need a qualification in Certificate III in Rail Signalling.
What is a signaller?
A signaller operates signal equipment to control the running of trains, records the details of trains that pass and notifies the control centre in cases of delay or accident.
A signaller may use hand signals but advances in signalling technology have enabled the centralisation of this function in some organisations, with both signalling and train control being managed by network controllers.
Importantly, signallers will make decisions that affect the safety of passengers, staff and train services. The signaller will also make decisions, in consultation with train controllers, to prioritise and allocate access for track maintenance. They also provide information through passenger information systems and keep signal boxes safe and clean.
What might a signaller do?
- Determines locations of trains by observing electric indicator boards
- Reads and interprets movement orders and timetables to monitor train movements and the arrangement of rolling stock
- Receives advice of alterations to train movements
- Use screen based equipment to monitor locations of trains and status of signalling equipment
- May control marshalling yards and supervise shunting operations
- May operate railway turntables to change the direction of rolling stock
Who might it suit?
Signallers need high-level communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills to work with station staff, contractors, engineers, train crews, clerical staff, yard/depot staff and train controllers.
They also need computer skills, analytical skills and close attention to detail for dealing with train movements and emergency situations where quick and safe responses are needed to avoid or minimise train delays. They must be extremely safety conscious.
Where and when is the work?
Signallers generally work in signal boxes in the rail corridor or in offices working on computers. They may be required to work shifts, including weekends and public holidays.
What is the pay?
In 2019, the signaller salary is average $70,000 and can increase with experience.
Once in the rail industry, to progress in your career, you will need to complete additional studies or authorisations based on operational and state requirements.
With experience, you could become a Network Controller, Train Controller, Shift Supervisor or Train Driver.
You may have opportunities to work with rail partners on large infrastructure projects, like the Level Crossing Removal Project.