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Job Description

Drives trains to transport passengers and freight. Operate trains on both national or local networks and may spend time manoeuvring engines in sheds or in the yard.

Entry Requirements

You'll need to apply for a trainee driver job with a train operating company. To apply you’ll usually need:

  • to be over 20 years old to work on the national rail network (18 for the London underground)
  • to live within 1 hour’s commute of the area you’re applying for

Some employers may expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent in English and maths.

To be accepted for training, you’ll need to pass a medical check which will include eyesight, colour vision and hearing.

You could start out by doing another job like passenger assistant or conductor, which will show you have an interest in the industry. You can then apply for trainee driver posts when they become available.

You may also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

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

Career Path and Progression

Your train driver training will usually take around 12 months. Once you’ve completed this, you could also work for a rail engineering company, driving on-track machines used in maintenance work.

With experience you could take further training to become a train driver trainer, teaching other trainee drivers.

You could also move into management, making sure there are enough train drivers and trains so that the service can run on time. From there you could move into operations or senior management.

Related careers you may be interested in:

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

National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE.  Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.

Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.

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

Starting Salary

£20,000 to £60,000

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