HS2 Route Engineer

What is an HS2 Route Engineer?

A route engineer at HS2 is responsible for designing the new railway: they plan where the railway could run and where stations could be.

Sounds simple? There’s more to it than you might think.

A high speed railway needs a line that is as straight as possible, so the trains can travel at top speed – high speed trains do not like corners! But a route engineer also needs to think about how a new railway would affect the environment, how much it will cost, and how to keep it safe. All of these things combined make it a complex job.

So tell me more about how to be an HS2 Route Engineer

You could go to university or get an apprenticeship to learn on the job. But whichever pathway you choose, never underestimate the importance of work experience. Get in touch with some major rail or road projects to see what they could offer you, from a day of work-shadowing to longer work placement where you can get a bit more involved.

Becoming an HS2 Route Engineer: What does it take?

To be a route engineer, you have to be confident in maths and science subjects: these are the foundations of any engineering career. It also helps if you have an interest in geology and how and why buildings and other structures work – the kinds of things that most of us take for granted, most of the time!

Route engineering can have a creative element to it, but you also have to think logically, back up your decisions with clear reasons, and be a natural problem-solver.

Communication skills are also really important. Designing new rail routes is very technical, but you’ll need to explain those technical ideas simply. Part of the job is explaining and justifying your designs to the government and the public.

Learning and development courses and training to build your career

Whether you go to university or get an apprenticeship, you will benefit from joining a professional institution, like the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Organisations like these give members the opportunity to attend conference and seminars, so they can build their knowledge. They also encourage you to work and study for a professional qualification.

HS2 can help support you as you progress in your career, with opportunities to attend conferences, seminars, and other industry events. It also offers a mentoring scheme: if you’ve got a new challenge – maybe running your own project for the first time, or leading a team – you can choose to be matched with someone who’s done it before, so you can talk to them about it.

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