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 £26,003 during the first year of intensive training. As a newly qualified driver the salary is £35,829. On successful completion of all training and the probation period, the salary is £45,365.
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.
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- 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 may need a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
- By law you must be over 21 to drive a train.
- You may be able to start with a train operating company as a conductor and be accepted later for driver training.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- very reliable and responsible
- aware of health and safety matters
- alert and observant
- smart in appearance.
You need to be able to:
- concentrate for long periods
- communicate clearly
- understand and remember complicated systems and regulations
- work alone
- keep calm and deal with emergencies quickly and efficiently.
- Train operating companies provide comprehensive training for trainee drivers. This usually lasts for 9 to 18 months.
- The training includes classroom sessions on topics such as types of train, company rules and regulations, signalling systems, safe working practices and emergency procedures.
- You would also practice driving under the supervision of an instructor, and learn routes by going out with experienced drivers.
- You would have regular assessments to make sure that you keep up to the necessary standards.
- With experience and further training, you may move on to drive high-speed or international trains.
- You may wish to consider becoming a train driving instructor.
- You may also be able to move into a supervisory role or into more general management within the rail industry.
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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