Train conductors look after passengers and equipment on board a train. They check that everyone has a valid ticket and sell tickets to those who don't. They are also known as train managers.
You could be:
- checking with station staff that it is safe for the train to leave and making sure the train doors are closed before departure
- helping passengers who need assistance, for example with wheelchairs
- walking through the train while it is in motion, checking and selling tickets, giving change and processing credit and debit cards
- explaining routes and fare systems and dealing with passengers’ enquiries and complaints
- dealing with disruptive passengers
- making public announcements through the public address system to passengers
- checking equipment such as toilets, doors, heating and lighting and reporting faults
- looking after the safety of passengers especially in a breakdown or emergency.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Pay at Scotrail is £19,503 during training (up to six months). Other companies may pay up to around £20,000 during training. On completion of training, the Scotrail salary rises to £32,220 a year.
There may also be a discount on the cost of rail travel for yourself and your immediate family.
- You could work on long or short journeys.
- You would spend a lot of time walking and standing on a moving and possibly crowded train.
- You would carry a ticket machine and money bag which might be heavy.
- There may be some other carrying and lifting involved.
- You would wear a uniform and, where necessary, protective clothing.
- You would have to work shifts, including early mornings, evenings, nights and weekends.
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- A good general education is useful. A satisfactory standard of English is important, together with the ability to handle money with confidence.
- It is useful to have experience of cash handling and customer service and of working in a field where health and safety is paramount.
- Candidates selected from the initial applications complete some online assessments and if successful, then attend an assessment centre. The next stage is an interview.
- If successful at the interview, you have to pass a medical examination which would include testing for alcohol and drugs.
- You must be generally fit and healthy, with good eyesight and hearing.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
ScotRail, which operates 2,300 train services per day across Scotland, is the main employer. But there are also national rail companies operating in Scotland such as Virgin Trains, Cross Country and TransPennine.
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- excellent communication skills
- awareness of health and safety issues
- a smart appearance
- a helpful and polite manner
- the confidence to deal with difficult passengers.
You need to be able to:
- work alone and use your initiative
- work under pressure
- deal with emergencies quickly and calmly
- solve problems and make decisions
- work as part of a team
- work to rules and procedures.
- Initial training is organised by the train operating company. With ScotRail the training lasts up to six months, but other companies it will be around three months.
- This training will include railway rules and regulations, first aid, fire safety, emergency procedures, fares and timetables, ticketing and customer service.
- The training will also include on the job training with an experienced conductor.
- You may have to attend further training courses from time to time as regulations, fares or timetables change.
- With experience and further training, you may be able to get promotion to posts such as senior conductor, conductor team manager, train crew team leader and senior manager.
- A conductor can also be considered for training as a train driver.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
People 1st - Careers That Move
People 1st is the Sector Skills Council for the hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism industries.
Careers That Move is in association with People 1st and the UKSP. It is the careers website for passenger transport and travel.
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