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Job Description

Train drivers are responsible for transporting both freight and passengers, they may work on either national or local networks and may spend time manoeuvring engines in sheds or in the yard.  The role comes with a lot of responsibility to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely and on time.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:


You can apply to a train operating company and begin a train driver advanced apprenticeship.

You'll usually need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, in English and maths.

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.


You can start as a rail passenger assistant or train conductor, then apply for a trainee driver post. This is also a common way to become a London Underground driver.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to a train operating company to become a trainee driver.

Employers usually expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.

Training can last between 12 and 24 months.

Career tips

A good way to find out about trainee driver vacancies is to sign up for job alerts with train operating companies.

You'll need to:

You can find out more about how to become a train driver from The Train Drivers Academy.

You'll find train operating companies through the Rail Delivery Group.

National Careers has more information about how to become a train or Tube train driver.

Career Path and Progression

Once you're qualified, you could work on passenger, freight or engineering trains.

With experience, you could combine your job with instructing trainee drivers, who are learning new routes and cab controls. You could also become a driver trainer, teaching new starters in the classroom, working with driver simulators and accompanying trainees on journeys.

You could move into management, supervising drivers and making sure trains and crew are where they need to be on the rail network. Operations management is another possibility, planning future rail developments.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Bus or coach driver
  • Community transport driver
  • Rail engineering technician
  • Rail track maintenance worker
  • Train conductor

Required Skills

  • high level of safety awareness
  • ability to keep calm in difficult situations
  • able to concentrate over long periods of time
  • good team working abilities
  • excellent understanding of emergency procedures

Salary Range

£20,000 to £60,000

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