The industrial revolution was made possible by transportation of coal, cotton, steel, and other raw materials over long distances through railways. This gave birth to the field of rail engineering. Despite the ubiquity of air transportation, railways still hold sway in raw material transportation because of the cost of transporting materials through cargo trains is much lesser than air cargo. As a result, rail engineers remain in high demand even in this day and age.
Engineering jobs based on the railways are highly sought after by engineering degree holders. Railway engineering jobs are advertised on the websites of public as well as private rail corporations. Run-of- the-mill job websites typically do not carry rail engineering openings because it is such a niche field. Some private firms also approach the placement departments of engineering schools so they can go directly to the required candidates.
To beat the competition, aspirants should first reflect upon the requirements of these jobs, assess their fit, and work hard to bridge the gap between their knowledge and the knowledge required to excel in rail engineering jobs. Most rail engineering jobs requires aspirants to fulfill a set of eligibility criteria before appearing for written examination. A degree in civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, instrumentation engineering is typically mandated. Generally, most rail corporations mandate aspirants to have a minimum cumulative grade point average to be eligible to apply. Consistently good academic performance is another eligibility criterion.
After fulfilling the eligibility criteria, aspirants should start preparing for the written exam which tests them on their knowledge of theories, concepts, and quantitative problem solving relevant to rail engineering. Since this material is not covered in college level textbooks, aspirants need to refer to specialized rail engineering text and handbooks. Aspirants should also be conversant with use of technical design data handbooks in solving numerical problems related to structural engineering, electrical layout systems, signal control systems etc.
After cracking the written exams, aspirants have to undergo a series of interviews that include subject-specific questions related to the specialization/major of job applicant’s engineering degree. While these interviews revolve around technical knowledge, some interviewers also test the applicant’s logical reasoning ability. Rail engineering jobs demand skills that are biased towards practical engineering solutions over theoretical engineering knowledge. Therefore, aspirants should expect the interviewers to grill them on engineering knowledge applied to hypothetical on-the-job situations in rail corporations. Good verbal and non-verbal communication; and logical problem solving approach go a long way in demonstrating competence in these job interviews.