Train Driver

Job Description:

Train drivers operate trains on the rail network, carrying passengers and freight around the country.

Job Category:
Transport & Logistics

What you will do:

In this role you’ll:

  • check controls and equipment before a journey
  • drive the train between stations or freight depots
  • speak with control centres along the route about any issues
  • follow track signalling, safety and speed instructions
  • leave platforms and pull into stations safely
  • make passenger announcements
  • control automatic doors
  • position and hand over engines to drivers on the next shift
  • record incidents like equipment problems, onboard issues or delays


You’ll need:

  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • observation and recording skills

As well as:

  • concentration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • the ability to work well with others and on your own (teamwork skills and drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Train Driver, 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 Driver:

  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

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


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


You can start as a rail passenger assistant or train conductor, then apply for a trainee driver post.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to a train operating company to become a trainee driver.

Training can last between 12 and 24 months.

Career tips

A good way to find out about trainee driver vacancies is to sign up for job alerts with train operating companies.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 35-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays on shifts.

Your working environment may be noisy and you may spend nights away from home. You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

Once you’re qualified, you could work on passenger, freight or engineering trains.

With experience, you could combine your job with instructing trainee drivers, who are learning new routes and cab controls. You could also become a driver trainer, teaching new starters in the classroom, working with driver simulators and accompanying trainees on journeys.

You could move into management, supervising drivers and making sure trains and crew are where they need to be on the rail network. Operations management is another possibility, planning future rail developments.