Railway station assistants carry out a range of duties on the platform and more generally around the station. These may include dealing with passengers, checking tickets, loading, unloading and moving luggage and parcels or keeping the platforms clear. Specific job titles include gateline assistant, ticket examiner and customer service assistant.
You could be:
signalling to the train driver that all passengers are safely on board
checking tickets at ticket barriers and making sure that automatic ticket barriers are working properly
operating information boards and making announcements over the public address system
dealing with customer enquiries and complaints and helping passengers with special requirements
directing passengers and managing queues
loading and unloading parcels and freight
if working in the ticket office, selling tickets and other rail products
carrying out train dispatch duties, ensuring trains leave safely and on time
keeping the platforms, footbridges and waiting shelters well maintained, clean and free from obstructions.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Railway stations assistants receive a training salary of £18,730 a year. Once qualified salaries may differ depending on the specific role. For example, as of November 2022 a station gateline customer service assistant earns £21,254 a year after training.
There is also free or reduced rail travel for yourself and your immediate family.
You would be based in a large or small station, rail depot or freight yard.
Your duties might involve working both indoors and outdoors, in all weather.
You would usually be part of a team, but at times might have to work on your own. Some stations are manned by one person.
You would work shifts, including early mornings, evenings, nights and weekends. In some cases you might work split shifts.
You must be physically fit enough to carry out your duties.
You would wear a uniform provided by your employer.
A good general education is useful, including a reasonable standard in English and maths.
Assessment and an interview form the first stage of the application process. The final stage for those successful in first stage is a medical questionnaire.
Your employer may require you to be 18 years of age or over. If so, this would be due to shift work regulations.
You could get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in Customer Service with ScotRail. This is an 18-month programme covering many roles including ticket examiner and gateline. For entry you require National 4 English and Maths.
You would have to pass a medical examination, including drug and alcohol tests.
Previous customer facing experience may be advantageous.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of course. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
In Scotland the main employer is ScotRail, which runs over 2,000 services every day, and is responsible for nearly 5,000 employees.
You would normally be given an induction course by your employer, covering topics such as company rules, regulations and services, fares and timetables, health and safety issues, first aid training, emergency procedures and customer care skills.
Following this, you would train on the job under the supervision of more experienced station assistants.
During an apprenticeship, you would work towards Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Customer Service at SCQF Level 5 and 6.
With experience and further training, you may gain promotion to posts such as station supervisor or train conductor.
If you show ability, you may in time be able to move into more general supervisory or management posts, or be recommended for train driver training.