Train Conductor

Job Description:

Train conductors issue tickets to rail passengers and make sure that their journeys are safe and comfortable.

Job Category:
Transport & Logistics

What you will do:

On a typical day you may:

  • check the carriages are clean before the start of a journey
  • make sure equipment, doors and controls are working properly
  • greet customers and create a welcoming atmosphere
  • walk through carriages during the journey to check tickets and travel documents
  • answer passengers’ questions about routes, arrival times and connections
  • make announcements over the public address system
  • make sure passengers get on and off the train safely
  • deal with unexpected delays or emergencies, for example a passenger falling ill


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Train Conductor, you don’t need specific subjects, but it’s essential to have a good educational foundation and some key skills. Train conductors are responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of passenger and freight trains. Here are some general qualifications that can help you prepare for a career as a Train Conductor:

  1. English: Strong communication skills are crucial for train conductors as they need to communicate with passengers and other crew members.
  2. Mathematics: You may need to handle tickets, manage schedules, and perform basic calculations.

Post School

There are no set entry qualifications for this role, although employers will expect you to have a good standard of English and maths.

Experience of working with the public in retail or customer service could give you an advantage.

You may also be able to move into this job after first working as a member of the train station staff team.

If selected for interview, train operating companies (TOCs) will usually test you on your maths, communication, and customer service skills. You’ll also have to pass a medical (checking fitness, eyesight, colour vision, and hearing) and be screened for drugs and alcohol.

In the UK, you may need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 35 to 37 hours a week, possibly on a shift system including early mornings, late nights and weekends.

You’ll work from a cab on the train, but may also spend time on the platform.

Your employer will supply you with a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

Train operating companies often promote existing station staff to conductor jobs, so you may be able to transfer from a platform assistant or onboard customer host role.

With experience, you may be able to move on to senior conductor or train manager, or transfer to a driver training programme.