Fettlers are railway track workers who are responsible for maintaining tracks and other railroad equipment in regular railways, plant yards, mines, and quarries. They use a variety of tools and machinery, including welding equipment, to repair tracks and rail equipment. Fettlers must have a strong knowledge of tools and equipment; they should have strong hand-eye coordination and be able to detect signs of wear or damage.

Duties and tasks

  • Cut rails and grind rail ends.
  • Drill holes for bolts and connect rail sections.
  • Inspect rails and equipment and determine necessary actions for repair or removal.
  • Maintain rail switches, signal lamps, and wheel bearings with regular cleaning and lubrication.
  • Position sleepers and fasten rails.
  • Safely operate machines and tools, including welding equipment.

Skills required

  • Ability to follow Safety Standards
  • Monitoring and Analysing Operations
  • Strong Attention to Detail
  • Strong Hand-eye Coordination and Manual Agility
  • Time Management

Working conditions

Fettlers work outdoors in yards, mines, and quarries, and may be exposed to all kinds of weather conditions. They work with specialised equipment and tools, so safety procedures must be followed to reduce health risks; awareness of ones surroundings is necessary as large equipment and vehicles are in use. They work during daylight hours in a typical seven day work week.

Professional associations / Industry information

Rail Track Association Australia 

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) 

Related jobs and job titles

  • Foundry Worker
  • Grinder
  • Labourer
  • Railway Infrastructure Worker
  • Track Inspector
  • Trades person