How to become a Train Driver

Train Driver


estimated salary
What do they do?

Have you always had a fascination with Britain’s railways? Do you dream of speeding through the countryside and love the idea of being able to travel for work? If yes, then why not become a Train Driver?

In this job, you could drive both passenger and freight trains locally and nationally, as well as working on the driving for engineering projects, so there’s lots of opportunity for variation, although you do need to be at least 21 years old to train as a national Train Driver

A Train Driver’s main responsibilities are typically:

  • Checking the vehicle before each shift and contacting the control centre for relevant travel information
  • Driving the train along a pre-determined route
  • Following signals along each route and stopping to pick up and drop off people or freight
  • Making passenger announcements and controlling the doors
Is it right for me?

If you find trains deathly boring and avoid travelling on them at all costs, then this definitely isn’t the job for you. If, however, you find them interesting and love the idea of being able to travel every day, then you may be the ideal candidate.

The training period usually lasts between nine and 18 months, starting in a cab simulator. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll also typically benefit from reduced price or even free travel, which is a nice perk.

A good Train Driver will be:

  • Able to concentrate for long periods of time
  • Good with customers
  • Patient
  • Responsible with a conscientious attitude to safety management
  • Able to react quickly and calmly in unforeseen circumstances
What's it really like?

I have always loved the railways and everything on them, from steam vehicles to today's diesel and electric trains, so becoming a driver was a natural progression for me. I find it amazing to sit in my cab and make my way right across the country in a few hours - who needs the roads when you've got rails?

Get qualified

You do not always need specific qualifications to be a Train Driver, although most employers will expect you to have a good general standard of education, including GCSEs in Maths and English. Some mechanical or electrical knowledge may also be useful.

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