John Doyle is a signaller for Network Rail

Could you be signaller? Network Rail needs you

The Railway Hub

Network Rail is appealing to people in Yorkshire and the North East to join them as a railway signaller.

A signaller recruitment event is taking place on Saturday, 14 March at the Rail Operating Centre in York, with a host of Network Rail signallers, managers and staff attending to offer advice, answer any questions and show people some of the operational workstations which control the signalling systems on the railway.

What is a signaller?

Signallers make sure the railway operates safely by setting signals, controlling level crossings and allowing trains to run.


Most signallers at Network Rail begin their careers out in signal boxes and then progress to the state-of-the-art York Rail Operating Centre, where the signalling systems for areas across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and along the East Coast Main Line have been moved to.

John Doyle, who started working as a signaller 18 months ago and was based at Hammerton signal box on the York to Harrogate line, now controls the running of the railway in the Brough area from the ROC.

John Doyle is a signaller for Network Rail

He said: “Signallers oversee the safety of the railway. No train moves without our say so. If there’s an incident, we are there to step in and get the railway running again.


“I’ve had the opportunity to work using both signalling systems; in the older signal boxes from around 60 years ago and with the modern signalling system in the ROC. “I enjoy getting a buzz from the responsibility, as you get to make the decisions about a big area of the railway.”

Network Rail is currently recruiting around 60 new signallers for various roles in the Rail Operating Centre in York and at other locations including York, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and the North East.

Signallers join Network Rail from a wide range of backgrounds and go through intense training which is provided as part of an accredited apprenticeship scheme.


John came from an events management role and said: “You have a lot of responsibility, but Network Rail don’t put pressure on you. The training starts in a classroom and you get as long as you need until you feel comfortable.”

John has already moved up three positions since joining Network Rail and said: “There’s loads of opportunities here. If you’ve got the right attitude, the practical skills will follow. Network Rail are 100 percent behind you.”

The recruitment event will take place at the York ROC on Saturday 14 March at 10:00 and 13:00. The full address is: Cinder Lane (off Leeman Road), York, Y026 4AB. Booking is necessary, email​ to book you spot.


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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...