Signalling Design Engineer at Network Rail

Is a career in signalling design engineering right for me?

If you’re an adaptable person who likes making things work and has great problem-solving skills then a railway engineering career could be great for you. You’ll help to maintain and develop new signalling systems for a booming railway system. Thanks to the efforts of people like you, passengers and freight can travel smoothly and safely every day.

Perks and challenges of being a signalling design engineer


  • Every working day offers something different and new. You’ll split your time between using CAD (computer-aided design) to design signalling systems, meeting with stakeholders and visiting sites where your designs are being implemented.
  • Opportunity knocks – once you’re a signalling design engineer you could become a signalling design manager and manage a team of engineers as you oversee all design work. We need more people to fill these roles because of the numbers of really big projects coming up in the future.


  • You’ll need to keep building up your technical knowledge – engineering is constantly developing so you’ll need to keep on top of changes to technology and the railway.

Useful skills

The following skills are very useful:

  • Problem solving – you’ll need to spot errors in your designs (and in other department designs, too). Then you can come up with improvements so that the designs are ready to be turned into a reality that people can see and use.
  • Communication – you’ll be working in a team, so effective communication will make it easier to come up with the best signalling designs possible.

People who work in this role say that the following skills and qualities are useful:

  • IT – a large part of this role is using CAD (computer-aided design) to create signalling circuits and components. Being able to pick up new software easily is a great skill to have, and being interested in design is really useful.
  • Time management – you’ll need to manage your time smoothly in order to meet deadlines and produce good designs. It’s never too early to work on improving your time management – it’s something you can do in school and beyond!

What qualifications do you need to be a signalling design engineer?

There’s more than one route into an engineering career. One option is to take the university route to gain specialised knowledge, but you can also apply for an apprenticeship in signalling design to get your career off the ground with on-the-job training and learning. Network Rail have all kinds of apprenticeships to explore, so take a look.

If you choose the university route, a specialised MEng or BEng degree will help your application. It shows employers how committed you are to an engineering career. Signalling design is mainly about electrical and electronic engineering, which is offered at degree level.

You’ll need good passing grades in science and maths if you want to take up an apprenticeship or and engineering degree. From here you can progress onto a role in signalling design.

What is the workplace of a signalling design engineer like?

You’ll often be designing and meeting with team members and stakeholders in an office. However, when construction is taking place you’ll get the opportunity to go on site and see your designs being turned into a reality.

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