Profession rail traffic controller

Rail traffic controllers operate signals and points that help make sure trains run safely and on time. They operate from a signal box in order to control the order and movement of trains and ensure safety at all times. They are responsible for maintaining safety standards when trains are running normally and also in degraded or emergency operational situations.

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Personality Type


  • Mechanics of trains

    Possess basic knowledge of the mechanics involved in trains, understand the technicalities and participate in discussions on related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.

  • Train routes

    Know principal train routes and quickly search for relevant information to respond to customer questions. Provide advice on potential shortcuts and itinerary options.

  • Signal box parts

    Know and understand the structures located besides railway tracks known as signal boxes, interlocking towers, signal posts, and signal cabins, from which signals, points, and other equipment are controlled.

  • Modern power signalling systems

    Understand traditional and modern signalling systems; operate railway signalling systems.

  • Signal boxes

    The different kinds of signal boxes, such as older signal boxes utilising levers and manual equipment, LED-based panel signal boxes, and integrated electronic systems.


  • Oversee the daily train operations plan

    Check the daily train plan and oversee operations according to the trains running in a specific area; be aware of any timetable changes or speed limitations and any line or electrical malfunctions.

  • Mark differences in colours

    Identify differences between colours, such as shades of colour.

  • Use different communication channels

    Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.

  • Oversee operational safety on trains

    Oversee all operations in a defined area, as part of a team that manages operational safety and train services for a specific geographical location.

  • Operate LED-based panel signal boxes

    Work with high tech LED-based signal boxes; a signaller flips switches and pushes buttons to manipulate train movements on stretches of track up to 50 miles long.

  • Write signalling reports

    Write accurate communications and reports about signalling operations and safety procedures. Perform record keeping and event recording.

  • Operate railway communication systems

    Operate railway communication systems; make announcements over the public address system or communicate with central train administration.

  • Maintain railway signal equipment

    Test, operate, and maintain railway signalling equipment such as power switches and grade crossing warning devices.

  • React calmly in stressful situations

    React quickly, calmly, and safely to unexpected situations. Provide a solution that solves the problem or diminishes its impact.

  • Operate train integrated electronic control centre

    Operate integrated electronic control centres where signallers apply modern-day technological operating systems and equipment to control train progression over long stretches of railway track.

  • Handle stressful situations

    Deal with and manage highly stressful situations in the workplace by following adequate procedures, communicating in a quiet and effective manner, and remaining level-headed when taking decisions.

  • Manage train working timetable

    Manage the train working timetable that shows every movement on the railway network. Prepare for the arrival and departure of every train, intermediate points, and appropriate passing points.

  • Test railway signalling equipment

    Test signalling equipment (signal lights and communication devices) utilised in railways and train yards, such as train instrument panel lights, the lights along each track, flashing red signal lights, and/or the alarms at each crossing.

  • Operate train signalling equipment

    Operate train signals to indicate whether or not train drivers may proceed; manipulate light signals or barriers; control direction of trains by moving points.

Optional knowledge and skills

monitor train schedules determine train operational safety actions train planning show responsibility

Source: Sisyphus ODB