Train driver

Alternative titles for this job include Engine driver, underground driver, Eurostar driver, tube driver

Train drivers operate trains on rail networks, making sure that passengers and freight get to where they're going safely and on time.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter

to

£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a train driver

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could 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

Typically you would apply directly to a train operating company to become a train driver.

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

More information

Career tips

You may find it useful to have some mechanical or electrical knowledge.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a train driver from Careers That Move.

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • concentration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • to be over 20 years of age
  • to live within 1 hour (travel time) of the area you're applying for
  • pass enhanced background checks
  • pass a medical check

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • checking equipment and engines
  • contacting control centres for information about routes and any problems
  • following signalling instructions during the journey
  • making passenger announcements
  • controlling automatic doors
  • positioning and handing over engines to drivers on the next shift
  • recording incidents like equipment problems, dangers and delays

Working environment

You could work from a vehicle.

Your working environment may be noisy and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear a uniform.

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a train driver right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a train driver?

Search for training courses near you.

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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