How To Become A Railway Engineer (With Duties And Scope)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Railway engineering is concerned with designing, constructing, operating and maintaining railway transport systems and networks. Engineers from various disciplines such as civil, electrical, mechanical, electronics and instrumentation engineering collaborate and work in the railway sector. By understanding the different interdisciplinary roles of railway engineers, you can decide if an engineering career in this field suits you. In this article, we discuss how to become a railway engineer, explore their responsibilities and look at the career scope of this position.

How to become a railway engineer

You can become a railway engineer by following these steps:

1. Pass 10+2

It is essential to pass the 10+2 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination in the science stream from a recognised board. You can benefit from selecting physics, chemistry and mathematics or physics, chemistry and biology. Since the admissions to engineering colleges can be competitive, it may be beneficial to score more than the minimally required 45% aggregate marks.

Related: How To Get A Railway Job After 12 (With Benefits And Tips)

2. Clear college entrance exams

For admission to graduate and postgraduate programmes in various engineering colleges, it may be necessary to clear any of the following competitive college entrance examinations:

  • Joint Entrance Examination-Main (JEE Main)

  • Joint Entrance Examination-Advanced (JEE Advanced)

  • Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MHT CET)

  • Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT)

  • West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (WBJEE)

  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Aptitude Test (IISER Aptitude Test)

  • Manipal Entrance Test (MET)

  • Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)

3. Complete an engineering programme

You can do a four-year bachelor's degree or a two or three-year diploma in any engineering stream from a recognised college or university. Programmes that focus on the railway sector include a four-year bachelor of technology (B.Tech) in railway engineering and a two-year master of technology (M.Tech) in railway engineering. The M.Tech course requires a B.Tech or a B.E. degree and at least two years of railway engineering experience.

You can also do a one-year correspondence diploma in railway engineering with the Institution of Permanent Way Engineers. It is open to railway employees with an HSC in the science stream and B.E./B.Tech/diploma holders with two years of railway engineering experience. Additionally, you can do the following courses:

Diploma programmes by the Institute of Rail Transport

After getting a bachelor's degree or a diploma in engineering, you may be eligible for the distance education diploma programmes that the Institute of Rail Transport offers. They are as below:

  • Rail transport and management: a one year course that covers the economics and management of railway transport

  • Multi-modal transport (containerisation) & logistics management: a one-year course that deals with transportation, cargo handling and logistics management

  • Transport economics & management: a one-year programme that covers transport economics and management

  • Port development & management: a two-year course with a focus on expanding and managing port infrastructure

Postgraduate diploma in metro rail technology

Designed by railway and metro experts, the course is open to engineering graduates. It covers the technologies, manufacturing processes, implementation and operational procedures used in metro and modern rail industries. You may wish to explore this option is you want to broaden your expertise.

4. Appear for railway selection exams

After you get an engineering qualification, you can appear for the following exams:

Railway recruitment board assistant loco pilot (RRB ALP) and technician exam

The railway recruitment board conducts the RRB ALP and technician exam to recruit assistant loco pilots and technicians between 18-28 years old for Indian Railways. The online exam frequency is vacancy-based. The first computer-based test is for one hour, and a second computer-based test is of two hours and 30 minutes. You can give the exam in English, Hindi, Marathi and various other regional languages. After clearing the second exam, you can appear for a computer-based aptitude test. Next, you can go for an interview and document verification, taking along all original documents that the RRB requires.

Related: What Is A Loco Pilot? A Complete Guide

Railway recruitment board senior section engineer & junior engineer (RRB SSE JE)

The railway recruitment board conducts the online and zone-wise RRB SSE JE exam to recruit qualified engineers for various senior section engineer and junior engineer positions with the civil engineering department of the Indian Railways. Only Indian citizens can appear for the exam, and the age limit is 20-34 years for RRB SSE and 18-25 for RRB JE. The RRB SSE and RRB JE exams comprise a first stage computer-based test, a second stage computer-based test, medical examination and document verification.

You can give the online examinations in English or Hindi. Each exam has 150 objective-type questions, with four options for each question. The five main topics the exam covers are general intelligence and reasoning, general awareness, reasoning, technical ability and general science. After passing the online exam, you may undergo a physical/medical test. It may be essential to have excellent eyesight to clear the test. The next step is an interview and document verification.

Related: How Much Does An RRB JE Make? Salaries, Perks And Benefits

Indian engineering services examination (IES/ESE)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the IES/ESE exam once a year to select qualified civil, mechanical, electrical and electronics engineers for Class-1 officer designated positions. Candidates are in the 21-30 years age group, and the selection process consists of a preliminary exam with objective-type questions, a conventional main exam and an interview.

5. Get a railway job assignment

After the recruitment process, successful engineering candidates undergo training for a year. The railway recruitment board then assigns them to work in various zones in the technical cadre, Group A. Engineers from different engineering disciplines may have specific work duties related to the construction, logistics, operations and maintenance of Indian Railways.

Work responsibilities of railway engineers

Railway engineers may have the following work responsibilities:

  • planning, designing, constructing and maintaining railway tracks, bridges, tunnels, stations, signals and overhead wires

  • assessing railway construction materials, calculating soil capacity and analysing groundwater levels

  • estimating costs, material requirements, personnel and work completion dates and forecasting railway traffic

  • inspecting old railway infrastructure, preparing proposals for upgrading it and overseeing the work

  • implementing and operating automated systems to move freight and passenger trains in railway yards

  • undertaking the mechanical maintenance of trains and documenting the repairs undertaken in maintenance logs

  • tracking train schedules, implementing railroad regulations, ensuring safety measures and supervising the traffic control

  • halting or stopping trains in case of cyclones, heavy rains and other bad weather conditions

  • reporting to a manager or head of a railway unit or department

  • operating and monitoring the controls of locomotive trains, such as their battery power, air pressure and speed

Career scope for railway engineers

The career scope for railway engineers can be good as there are plenty of engineering opportunities in the railway sector. Selected candidates can work in the following services:

Civil engineers

Candidates with a civil engineering background can work in the following services:

  • Indian Railways service of engineers

  • Indian Railways stores service

  • central engineering service

  • Indian defence service of engineers

  • Indian ordnance factories service

  • central water engineering Grade A

  • central engineering service (roads)

  • assistant executive engineer (in Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) Grade A)

Mechanical engineers

Candidates with a mechanical engineering background can work in the following services:

  • Indian Railways service of mechanical engineers

  • Indian Railways stores service

  • central water engineering Grade A service

  • central power engineering service

  • Indian ordnance factories service

  • Indian naval armament service

  • assistant executive engineer Grade A in corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Ministry of Defence

  • assistant naval store officer Grade-I in the Indian navy

  • central electrical & mechanical engineering posts

  • assistant executive engineer (in Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) Grade A)

  • Indian supply service (Junior Time Scale (JTS) Group A)

  • central engineering services (roads) Grade A

  • Indian inspection service (assistant director Grade J)

Electrical engineers

Candidates with a background in electrical engineering can work in the following services:

  • Indian Railways service of electrical engineers

  • Indian Railways stores service

  • central electrical & mechanical engineering service

  • Indian naval armament service

  • Indian ordnance factories service

  • assistant executive engineering Grade A in corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Ministry of Defence

  • central power engineering service

  • Indian defence service of engineer

  • assistant naval store officer Grade-I (electrical engineering posts) in the Indian navy

Related: What Is Electrical Engineering? Definition And Opportunities

Electronics & telecommunication engineering

Candidates with a background in electronics & telecommunication engineering can work in the following services:

  • Indian Railways service of signal engineers

  • Indian Railways stores service (electronics & telecommunication engineering posts)

  • Indian naval armament services (electronics engineering posts)

  • assistant executive engineer Grade A (electronics & telecommunication engineering posts) in corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Ministry of Defence

  • central power engineering service Group A (electronics & telecommunication engineering posts)

  • engineer GCS Grade A in wireless planning and coordination (WPC) wing/monitoring organisation (MO) (Ministry of Communications and Information Technology)

  • assistant naval store officer Grade-I (electronics & telecommunication engineering posts)

  • Indian supply service (Junior Time Scale (JTS) Group A) (electronics and telecommunication posts)

  • Indian telecommunication service Group A

  • Junior telecom officer Grade B

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