Personal Track Safety (PTS) Rail Medical


PTS is a system of safer working practices employed within the UK that is designed to ensure the safety of railway workers who are going to work on or near the line.

The PTS Courses (which is where any rail maintenance career begins) can only be attended after the successful completion of the PTS Medical and a Drug & Alcohol Test. These tests are the requirements of Network Rail for obvious safety reasons and are compulsory. A valid PTS Medical and PTS Drug & Alcohol Test are required throughout your entire rail career.


PTS Medicals Explained

Any potential employee must undergo a PTS Medical and a Drug and Alcohol Test before attending a “Personal Track Safety” course.

When you embark on your chosen rail career, you will be issued with a smartcard, which links you to your account on the NetworkRail online database – which is known as Sentinel – which holds details of the holders’ PTS Medical, Drug & Alcohol status and any training courses that have been successfully completed.   

Details of competencies attained can include:

  • Medical Certificate (usually lasts 10 years, but dependent on age)
  • Drug & Alcohol Results
  • PTS (AC or DCCR) (expiry 2 years)
  • PICOP, COSS, IWA or others…

The medical assessment for these certificates must be undertaken by an accredited medical provider, such as ARC Medical. In the case of PTS this is authorised by RISQS under the authority of Network Rail.

ARC Medical are registered appropriately and regular audits are undertaken to ensure that we meet the quality control levels for the specific standards of performance and training needed to reliably undertake the medical assessments.

The Basic PTS Medical

The Basic PTS Medical assessment for Network Rail involves the following medical modalities and components.

  • Medical questionnaire
  • Medical questionnaire
  • Height and Weight
  • B.M.I.
  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse
  • Blood Glucose Level
  • General Health
  • Mobility
  • Vision testing
  • Colour Testing
  • Hearing Test

What do I need to bring?

  • Valid Sentinel Card (or your Sentinel Number)
  • Photo identification ie Passport or Photocard Driving Licence or Valid Sentinel Card
  • Proof of National Insurance Number ie National Insurance Card or Pay Slip
  • List of any prescribed (or over the counter) medicines/drugs taken within the last 14 days
  • Glasses if normally worn

*Please note if any of the above are not available on the day of the appointment, the medical will not be carried out. Another appointment will be required and the fee will still apply.

Persons with minor medical conditions (e.g. Wears Glasses or Colour Blind) may still be issued a PTS – though the Sentinel Card will have an indicator to inform the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) to that person’s ailment.

Where an individual fails to meet the specific medical standards on the day of the medical, depending on the issue, it is still sometimes possible to ask the candidate’s G.P. for a report. This can then be used to issue a PTS Medical Certificate – this is sometimes the case, for example, where candidates show high blood pressure on the day of the medical.

The object of the medical assessment is to ensure that employers meet their duty of care so that individuals working in this potentially dangerous environment are not subject to increased risk of harm to themselves or their colleagues, or in some cases members of the public, due to any foreseeable underlying medical condition.

Network Rail operates a zero-tolerance policy on Drugs and Alcohol. If you return a “Positive” (Fail) result from your Drug & Alcohol test, your Sentinel Card will be cancelled and you will be prohibited from working on any Network Rail infrastructure for a period of five years. This applies to new workers as well as workers who have worked on rail for many years.

We are able to conduct PTS Medicals at our conveniently located facilities, throughout the UK – or alternatively (subject to minimum numbers) we can come to you.

How can I book a PTS Medical..? Give our Medical Division a call, or, drop us a line by clicking the link below and we’ll get right back to you.