Rail industry labour hire in New South Wales has a long and proud history of keeping the community moving. From humble beginnings, with the completion of the state's first track, bridging Parramatta and Sydney in 1849, the rail network now sprawls virtually the entire Sydney area. This rail coverage is also set to increase further, with the impending completion of the Sydney Metro.

In 2017, over 349 million trips were made on NSW train lines. This number is only expected to swell, with Opal figures highlighting an increase in commuters across all major lines, particularly T1 and T2. There will be an increasing need for Labour hire rail workers and labour hire staffing solutions.
To help ease the growing congestion, the Sydney Metro Northwest and the Sydney Metro City & Southwest are currently underway to increase the public transport infrastructure that is available. However, as the population grows, strain on the public transport system will be a recurring issue and require ongoing attention and planning. The announcement of new rail projects in the future, including the expansion and upgrade of existing rail networks are likely, in order to accommodate the masses and ensure that NSW doesn't come to a stand still.

Another important branch of rail in New South Wales, is rail freight. Rail freight is concerned with the transportation of goods, rather than passengers, via a train network. Commodities that are transported via rail freight include, consumer goods, industrial components, building materials, mining products, such as iron ore and coal, etc.
Freight contributes a staggering $66 billion annually to the NSW economy, and with the strength of this sector likely to continue into the future, the efficient movement of these goods will be the key to enabling its growth. This growth will add to the strength of the economy through Labour hire job creation. In addition to this, rail freight transport is logistically more reliable and environmentally-friendly than road freight transport, which will encourage increased investment and allow it to become a more preferred mode of transportation.

Working in Rail Construction

Since rail is the backbone of NSW's public transportation industry and a significant contributor to the state's economy, it provides a number of employment opportunities (Labour hire rail and RIW workers) for Australians. The jobs available in the rail industry fall under three main categories - construction, operation, and maintenance of the train network.

It is an exciting time to work in NSW's rail industry, as business is booming. There are a number of rail construction projects currently underway, with the promise of more in the pipelines. These rail construction projects have injected thousands of jobs into the labour hire market, and will continue to when the pending plans receive the go-ahead.

The requirements of rail construction jobs vary depending on the position. More technically skilled jobs, such as engineering surveyors and project managers, may require the completion of a bachelor's degree. Whereas, more hands-on positions, such as labour hire, civil labourers and plant operators, may require the possession of specific tickets, licences, experiences and traineeships, rather than extensive formal tertiary education. So, depending on what role you're interested in doing, it is important that you do your research to ensure that you meet the specifications of the job.

Basic Requirements For Rail Construction Work

Although there are variations in terms of the education, skills, experience and licensing required for different roles in rail construction and labour hire, there are some requirements that are necessary across the board.

RIW Card
The National Rail Industry Worker Card, more commonly referred to as a RIW card, is a nationally-recognised proof of competency. It is mandatory for all those working on labour hire rail sites in NSW to hold a RIW card, as it helps to reduce the risk of untrained/unqualified people working on these sites. This is because when you apply for a RIW card, you upload a copy of all relevant qualifications, statements of attainment, certificates, licences, cards, and other competencies, to a profile in the Onsite system, that is linked to the issued card. Site supervisors and managers can use the unique RIW ID number on the card to locate and verify this information in the online database.
Also, since the RIW Card was designed to consolidate a number of cards, including the Rail Industry Safety Induction (RISI), it also provides evidence that the holder is aware of common hazards that are present on rail sites and that they have the ability to manage these hazards and minimise potential risks to themselves and others, it has become imperative in the labour hire industry.
RIW cards are valid for 10 years.

White Card
Another basic requirement for workers to be on a labour hire rail construction site is a White Card. White Cards provide evidence that the holder has successfully completed the general construction induction training course, which covers the main hazards present on a construction site and strategies to manage and reduce the risks. A White Card is valid across Australia and must be held by all workers present on a construction site.
White Cards do not expire. However, it is important to note that they do become invalid if the holder has not worked in construction for two consecutive years.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In order to be admitted onto site, it is compulsory for all rail labour hire workers to wear appropriate PPE for the site. Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, refers to the items or articles of clothing specifically designed to maintain the health and safety of a worker whilst on the job.
Some of the most common PPE present on rail construction sites, include hard hats, high visibility vests, gloves and steel capped work boots.

Rail Work: Current & Future Projects in NSW

Sydney Metro Northwest and the Sydney Metro City & Southwest

Currently, Stage One of the Sydney Metro is well underway - The Sydney Metro Northwest. This project has been a long time coming, with the Hills area notorious for its lack of public transport and high rates of car ownership, compared to other districts in NSW.
Presently, there are 16 Sydney Metro Northwest construction sites dotted along the planned track. The Sydney Metro Northwest will deliver 8 new railway stations and 4000 commuter parking spaces to accommodate the growing population.
The major construction works associated with the Sydney Metro Northwest project have already created thousands of direct and indirect jobs. With the Sydney Metro Northwest expected to be complete and fully operation by 2019, more jobs are likely to be created in the near future, to ensure that all the loose ends are tied and the timeline is met.

Stage Two of Sydney Metro is the construction of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest. Construction has already been initiated, with work planned to continue through to 2024. The construction of Sydney Metro City and Southwest will help to sustain the number of rail jobs available in Sydney's urban areas, once the Sydney Metro Northwest project starts to wrap up.The types of work that have been created by the Sydney Metro projects include, plant operators, trade assistants, construction labourers, project managers, and so on.

Badgery's Creek Airport Line

With the new airport in Western Sydney set to open in 2026, there have been commitments made by the state government to create an airport line that will allow the Western Sydney airport to be accessible via public transport, and service surrounding areas. To prepare for the line, a rail corridor has  been preserved to the site of the airport, as well as space to construct future stations. Currently, there have been 6 options proposed regarding how the airport line will be connected to the existing rail infrastructure.
For an outline of the different route options for the Western Sydney Airport line, click here.
Regardless of the route that will be inevitably chosen, a number of rail construction projects will be involved in order to establish the line and its associated stations. This will be a major undertaking and help to boost the number of job opportunities for those in Western Sydney, particularly in the realm of civil construction roles.
There has been no official announcement yet regarding when the construction of the Western Sydney Airport Line will begin. However, communities that could potentially be affected by the new line have been consulted, and it is expected that serious plans will be drafted soon.

Lower Hunter Freight Corridor

The Lower Hunter Freight Corridor is also another project that is yet to be officially given the go-ahead, but will inject a significant amount of rail jobs into the labour market when it does. The Lower Hunter Freight Corridor will connect Fassifern  and Hexham, bypassing Newcastle.
This extension will help to relieve the pressure caused by both passenger and freight train growth across the border rail network. The Lower Hunter Freight Corridor will allow for greater separation between freight and passenger rail services, helping to improve efficiency and reliability in this usually congested area. This increase in capacity facilitated by the proposed rail corridor will help to boost economic activity and growth in NSW.
The Lower Hunter Freight Corridor is high on the infrastructure Priority List and has been allocated $14 million in the 2016 budget.
Once the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor is approved for construction, it is estimated that it will generate hundreds of jobs relating to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the freight line. A range of job opportunities, requiring various skills and experiences will become available, making the projects associated with the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor accessible to a number of job seekers.

Where to Find Rail Work in NSW

Labour Hire Agencies

Labour hire agencies are increasingly becoming the go-to hiring solution for major rail projects. This is because labour hire agencies specialise in finding quality rail workers that best match the brief provided, allowing the client to save time and money on the recruitment process and focus on getting the job done. Major rail projects are partnering with labour hire agencies, as a way of staying dynamic since they can quickly acquire workers when the need arises. This means that labour hire agencies are usually a rich source for employment opportunities in the labour hire rail industry.

Workfast is a premier labour hire agency that is dedicated to connecting job seekers with job opportunities that suit their skills and experiences. Workfast Labour Hire currently has a number of rail jobs available throughout NSW. So, if you're looking for work on one of the exciting rail projects currently underway, why not give Workfast a go today!
To sign up with Workfast and gain access to relevant job opportunities to you, anywhere across Australia, call 1300 824 403, or sign up online!

Project Websites

Another avenue where you can find rail jobs is directly on the website of rail projects that you're interested in. Often these official websites will have a dedicated jobs board that lists the available roles and positions that they need. If the official website for these rail projects does not directly list the positions themselves, they may provide a link to the company that does supply their labour, and from there you can apply for the role.