A train driver drives the engine of a passenger or goods train. The engine may be diesel, electric or diesel-electric.
You could be:
inspecting the train – especially the brakes – before starting the journey
checking – perhaps on computer – that everything is working correctly and safely on the train before a journey begins
controlling the speed of the train, observing speed limits, weather and track conditions whilst ensuring the train runs safely and on time
making announcements to passengers
identifying and dealing with any problems that arise on the train or track
keeping in touch with control centres by radio
combining driving with guard duties
maintaining records of journeys, reporting problems and handing over to the next shift driver.
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.
ScotRail pay is £32,968 during the first year of intensive training. As a newly qualified driver the salary is £45,828, after 6 months £48,944 and after 9 months £52,566 a year. On successful completion of all training and the probation period, the salary is £58,028 a year.
There is also free or reduced rail travel for yourself and your family.
You might drive on long or short journeys.
You would spend a lot of time sitting in the driver’s cab, usually alone.
Conditions in the cab are usually reasonably comfortable, but it may be noisy.
You would have to wear a uniform.
You would work shifts, including evenings, nights and weekends.
You might also have to work overtime.
You are required to live within 45 minutes travel from the depot you are based at.
A good general education is useful. Some employers may prefer you to have some subjects at National 4 or 5, including English, Maths and a scientific or technological subject.
The application process includes sitting a series of psychometric and aptitude tests.
If your application is short listed, you attend two assessment days, followed by an interview day.
You will also need to pass a medical examination to check fitness, eyesight, colour vision, hearing and any misuse of alcohol or drugs.
You may also have to undergo a psychometric test, to see if your characteristics are suited to the job.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of course. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
By law you must be over 21 to drive a train, although you can begin training at the age of 20.
You may be able to start with a train operating company as a conductor and be accepted later for driver training.
Having a driving licence can be advantage but it is not essential.