Rolling stock electrician


Rolling stock electricians install, maintain and repair electrical and electronic systems in rail vehicles such as air conditioning systems, lamps, heating systems, electrical wiring etc. They use diagnostic testing equipment to inspect vehicles and find faults. To do repair work, they use hand tools and specialised electrical instruments and machines.

Rolling stock electricians typically perform the following tasks:

  • Responsible for troubleshooting, analysis, fault detection and repair of locomotive electrical and train control systems, sub-systems and components. 
  • Perform modifications from drawings, prints or electrical systems on locomotives as assigned. 
  • Perform fault detection and diagnostics through the use of microprocessor and diagnostic equipment.  
  • Install and maintain electrical wiring and equipment such as Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), electrical equipment. 
  • Perform equipment work order management using asset management database.  
  • Ensure compliance with all railroad rules and regulations for safety and operations.
  • Perform equipment work order management using asset management database.   
  • Operate locomotive, passenger coaches and prime mover as part of team to move rail equipment.  

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to rolling stock electrician:

multiple unit electrician
rail electrician
rail depot electrician
railway vehicle builder
railcar builder
railway workshop engineering technician
rail workshop engineering technician
railcar electrician
rolling stock builder
carriage builder
multiple unit builder
carriage electrician
rail vehicle electrician
railway depot electrician
depot electrician
wagon electrician
wagon builder
electrical train electrician
locomotive builder
railway electrician
workshop engineering technician
railway vehicle electrician
locomotive electrician
rail vehicle builder

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a rolling stock electrician. A valid driver’s license is often required too.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Rolling stock electrician is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Rolling stock electrician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to rolling stock electrician.

marine electrician
avionics technician
electromechanical equipment assembler
automotive electrician
motorcycle assembler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of rolling stock electrician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of rolling stock electrician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

aircraft maintenance engineer
rolling stock engine tester
avionics inspector
rolling stock engine inspector
aircraft engine tester

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of rolling stock electrician.

  • Electrical systems used in transportation: Understand the functioning of electrical systems, their specifications, and application in operations and systems for the transportation of freight and people.
  • Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
  • 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.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
  • Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.
  • Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of rolling stock electrician.

  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Install electrical and electronic equipment: Install equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work, or equipment to generate, transfer or measure such currents and fields. This equipment includes switchboards, electric motors, generators or direct current systems.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
  • Use testing equipment: Use equipment to test performance and operation of machinery.
  • Fasten components: Fasten components together according to blueprints and technical plans in order to create subassemblies or finished products.
  • Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
  • Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
  • Install electronic communication devices on trains: Install, adjust, and test electronic communication equipment, which includes sound, security, navigation, and surveillance systems.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of rolling stock electrician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Electromechanics: The engineering processes that combine electrical and mechanical engineering in the application of electromechanics in devices that need electricity to create mechanical movement or devices that create electricity by mechanical movement.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of rolling stock electrician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Check train engines: Ensure that train engines comply with regulations before commencing a journey.
  • Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
  • Detect malfunctions in train control systems: Detect malfunctions in train control systems such as radios, radar systems, and electronic and electromagnetic components.
  • Apply soldering techniques: Apply and work with a variety of techniques in the process of soldering, such as soft soldering, silver soldering, induction soldering, resistance soldering, pipe soldering, mechanical and aluminium soldering.
  • Position vehicles for maintenance and repair: Place vehicles in the right position (such as on top of a pneumatic lift) for repair and maintenance tasks. Follow safety procedures.
  • Use diagnostic tools for electronic repairs: Use diagnostic equipment to measure current, resistance and voltage. Handle sophisticated multimeters to measure inductance, capacitance and current transistor gain.
  • Use specialised tools in electric repairs: Use of a variety of specialised tools, instruments and machines, such as presses, drills and grinders; employ them to carry out repairs in a safety manner.
  • Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
  • Ensure maintenance of trains: Oversee train equipment maintenance and rail security.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Ensure compliance with warranty contracts: Implement and monitor repairs and/or replacements by the supplier in compliance with warranty contracts.
  • Test electronic units: Test electronic units using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
  • Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
  • Operate soldering equipment: Use soldering equipment, such as a soldering gun, a soldering torch or a gas-powered iron, to melt and join together pieces of metal or steel.
  • Write records for repairs: Write records of the repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, of parts and materials used, and other repair facts.
  • Install transport equipment lighting: Install lighting elements in transport equipment according to blueprints and other technical plans.

ISCO group and title

7412 – Electrical mechanics and fitters

  1. Rolling stock electrician – ESCO
Last updated on October 9, 2022

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