Network Rail
My Sentinel

How to apply for a card

The Sentinel card (passport)  is only available to workers employed by rail engineering companies, not the general public. It can only be purchased by your Sponsor – see further information below

Interested in working on the railway?

Working on the railway can be very fulfilling and rewarding due to the importance of it. According to the Office of Rail and Road, ‘rail journeys across Britain have doubled in 20 years’ (, which requires greater efficiency on the rail infrastructure.

Rail track maintenance workers inspect, repair and maintain railway tracks, bridges, tunnels and viaducts to help keep the trains running smoothly, safely and quickly. If you are looking for a job working outdoors, have good practical skills and can work to high safety standards, this could be an ideal career for you. To work on the railway you will need:

  • A good standard of education, including GCSE’s in Maths and English.
  • Experience or qualifications in engineering would be helpful. You could study at a local college before looking for railway work.
  • To secure a trainee job with a rail track maintenance company, such as Network Rail [], Transport for London [] or an independent maintenance company.

What next to apply for a card?

Your new employer will sponsor you and ensure you’ve passed the necessary safety training courses (Personal Track Safety) and then they will order your Sentinel smartcard. You cannot work on the railway without it. Your Sponsor can only order a card when they have the following information from you:

  • Full name
  • Current and valid photograph [for guidance, please look here]
  • Valid Personal Track Safety (PTS) competence to work trackside or Industry Common Induction (ICI) competence to work non-trackside
  • Valid medical record [pass]
  • Valid drugs & alcohol record [pass]
  • Eligible to work in the UK

Your Sentinel smartcard will arrive within 10 days of being ordered by your Sponsor and you must present it to the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) every time you work on the railway. Failure to do this will result in you being turned away from the site and you will be unable to work. This Sentinel smartcard is swiped at the start of every shift by the COSS, using smartphone technology, to read the Sentinel system and check:

  • Your ID
  • You have a valid Sponsor
  • You hold the necessary competences to carry out the work that will be performed
  • You have a valid Personal Track Safety (PTS) or Industry Common Induction (ICI) competence
  • You have a valid medical and drugs & alcohol record

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