Becoming a train driver

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Thornaby, 30 Apr 2008.

  1. Thornaby

    Thornaby New Member

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    Hey all

    What tests do prospective train drivers have to pass before being accepted as trainees? Colour blindness? Eyesight?

    Advice appreciated.
     
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  3. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    Click.

    Admin: Given how often this question comes up, is there any chance this could be made sticky?

    O L Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 24 Feb 2013
  4. Thornaby

    Thornaby New Member

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    Many thanks for the link. One of my sons is looking at train driving as a potential career - this should help him a lot :)

    Edit: what would the tests have been like in, say, 1980? Did they still use psychometrics etc?
     
  5. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    No idea. I would imagine not, as the railway was a somewhat less formal environment then than it is now.

    O L Leigh
     
  6. Respite

    Respite Member

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    I went for two or three interview's in 1991 at bescot ( no chance of getting it as I was 17, but hey it was worth a go! )

    Then there was just an general english & maths test followed by a kind of general knowledge test all done in a strict time limit. The kind of answer as many as You can type affair. After that the succesful few were hand picked & had an informal interview, then the job was given to the person who's relative worked in the same region, normally in managment!:grin:

    Well thats how it was done there on the LM region of BR, probably had been similar to 1980 really.
     
  7. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    I think things might have been even more lax than that around that time.

    I know of a guy whose dad was a driver on the Eastern. He got called in one day to see his dad's manager. "So, young man," the manager said. "I guess you're interested in becoming a driver some day". "Yes", he replied. "Good," said the manager. "Report to Waterloo at 9am sharp on Monday morning to start your MP12".

    It couldn't happen today.

    O L Leigh
     
  8. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    The recruitment process today is a very intricate process. The most important part is the application form. For say 10 positions you can receive up to 750 applications and all these need to be sifted to about 6 per position so from 750 only 60 will be sifted out. So, it is extremely important that everything is done correctly on the application form, date, height, weight, clear writing and signing it. You can get an applicant that has all the credentials but if they don't sign the form they get dumped. When you get the induction prior to interview listen to what is said, so for instance if at the induction the presenter says Our TOC carries 2m pax a month remember this as at interview when you are asked "so what do you know about our company" the reply is errrr not a lot this is a real no no. That's just a start there is hell of a lot more info regarding recruitment. As for relatives of managers etc. that is now in the past as it will not be tolerated by upper managment.
     
  9. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    That was a tale from the days of black and white. :)

    Accuracy is one thing, but to stand any chance of getting through the first sift you really have to tailor your application to make sure that you bring out experiences and skills that are applicable to train driving. They want responsible, reliable people who can follow instructions, keep their head when things go wrong and work independently.

    Yes the interview is important, but you won't get anywhere near one if you fail to get past the first sift and flunk the aptitude tests.

    O L Leigh
     
  10. Thorpelad

    Thorpelad New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I've just recently qualified as a driver for National Express East Coast at Leeds.

    I was an internal applicant but I will pass on my experience.

    First there was the interview. 300 applicants down to 30 to be interviewed. It is important on the application form as well as the interview to talk about professionalism, your reliability but even more importantly they want to hear about how importantly you take communication and safety. You must be able to show you have done some research. Tell them where their driver's depots are, their train depots, which routes they travel over.

    There were 2 positions and they only sent us 2 for the pyschometric testing, whereas usually they send half a dozen because the pass rate is about 25%.

    At the testing you will do a short term memory test. You get a passage of text to read for about 5 minutes and then have to answer as many multiple choice questions as you can in the time given. You can make notes whilst you read the text and I cant stress enough I much this will help you.

    You will then have to do the concentration test, which is also known as the barden test. It is pages of groups shapes made up of 3, 4 or 5 dots. The idea is to put a mark through each of the 4 dot shapes and do as many as possible. This is difficult but photocopy loads and loads of pages before you go and just do them over and over again.

    There is then the co-ordination test on a computer. There is a monitor with a special keyboard which has 4 coloured buttons on. You also have 2 foot pedals and ear phones on. Basically the idea is which ever colour flashes on to the screen you press the corresponding button. When ever you get a buzz in your left ear your press down the left foot pedal etc. This should be fine if you are used to using a playstation etc.

    Then there is the mechanics test. This is basically a physics test. You'll get diagrams and questions like if pulley A is turned clockwise which way will pulley C turn. Buy Physics for dummies. This was a great help to me.

    Anyway, pass all that and you are in! Then the hard work starts.

    Hope this helps. I was thinking of operating some sort of seminar for people that are looking to get in to train driving and want to know what is involved. I'd provide examples used in the psychometric testing and interview techniques etc. Do you think anybody would be interested in attending such a thing?

    Anyway, bye for now.

    Mike
     
  11. Bayum

    Bayum Established Member

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    You also have to have a strict medical as well... According to my Careers Advisor, anyone with any sort of disability has their shot at being in charge of passengers, severely disrupted or even non-existent.
     
  12. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    The medical tests your eyes for both vision and colour blindness, your hearing, blood sugar levels, alcohol and drugs, general fitness, an ECG and your mobility, I think all these things are important if you are potentially carrying up to 1000 people around.
     
  13. adamp

    adamp Member

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    Not about driving...im still at school but when I leave would it be possible at 16 to get a job on the platforms of Manchester Picadilly?
    is it relativley good pay and is part-time possible e.g. if I wanted to go to college?

    Taaaaa folks.
     
  14. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    I don't think you can do any "safety critical" work (i.e. train despatch) until you're 18 years old, so you'd probably be limited to customer service, gateline or cleaning.

    If you're at all academic, my advice would always be to follow the academic path for a while after 16 and get some qualifications and life experience behind you. It's the best chance will ever get to make a decent start in life and might come in very handy if you later decide that the railway isn't for you after all or you have trouble with the recruitment process. Some may consider it a waste of 2-5 years, but my reply is that you never know what hand life will deal you and you might be grateful to have a back-up plan if things don't work out how you hope.

    O L Leigh
     
  15. Harry Douthwaite

    Harry Douthwaite Member

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    I have wanted to drive a train ever since I was very young. (Say, three years old), and I still want to. That is my job for the future. But are there any special qualifications you need to become a train driver? I have a backup plan too, if things don't work out when I move back to England, I just simply move back to Canada, as I now have dual-citizenship. (English and Canadian).
     
  16. adamp

    adamp Member

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    Thanks Mate :)
     
  17. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    All you need is basic maths and English (not qualifications). You need to be able to file a report, read a schedule card, you need to be physically able with good hearing and eyesight, no coloured blindness and preferably not had lazer eye treatment. Oh yeah, a basic knowledge of mechanics and a body mass index less than 33, over 5'2 and 6'6" or under.
     
  18. Aussie_Rail

    Aussie_Rail Member

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    Other than train driver jobs, what other jobs do they advertise, and where do they advertise them?

    Ryan.
     
  19. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

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    Most TOCs in the UK advertise jobs on their website, although you may have to search for them. There is usually a mix of Platform, Conducter, Booking Office and Driver, basically any job that has not been filled by internal applicants. Some also advertise in local papers and job centres.
     
  20. Aussie_Rail

    Aussie_Rail Member

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    Ah ok, cool. Because I have found that Connex and Yarra Trams contracted their recruitment to agencies and so you have to apply for positions through them. Which in my opinion is a bad way of doing it, but it's not likely to change any time soon.

    Ryan.
     
  21. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    As have Stagecoach Metrolink Manchester, they have an external agancy, the're taking on drivers, but you're Fupped to know where to find them ;)
     
  22. ungreat

    ungreat Member

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    Body mass not strict though,or height in some cases

    You will be viewed more favourably if you DO have qualifications in maths,english....

    Mechanical knowledge...your definition sounds like a basic mechanics course knowledge!! If you understand how things work,then you are on the way
     
  23. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    When you are sifting through 700 application forms for 4 posts body mass and height will make the difference from one person to another if the applicants are equally matched. So, I think it is an importannt factor.
     
  24. ungreat

    ungreat Member

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    Yes it will,but I meant at medical stage,which I thought you did mate.Providing you aren't a gigantic salad dodger you will probably be ok!!
     
  25. bish

    bish New Member

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    Hi

    Dont know if this has been coverd in a previous post so sorry if it has :)

    I just passed my assesment for trainee train driver and now have a "structured interview" in a weeks time.

    Can anyone give me any tips or advice about what questions they may ask or what sort of traits they are looking for in train drivers?

    Many thanks
     
  26. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    congratualtions :D

    They are looking for someone they cant trust to safely carry over 500 people a day from A - B, good at following procedure and rules logically and calmly. If you have experience of working in an emergency condition (road accident is a good example), been in charge of safety at some point (even if its your own) someone who knows the risks involved, knows a little about the role of the driver (see the job description for a brief overview) and about the TOC you've applied to.

    Read up on things, do your research and you'll be fine
     
  27. mysterio

    mysterio New Member

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    Hi there,

    Im thinking of applying in due course to be a Train Driver, it's something Id really like to do.

    Unfortunately, Im blind in my right eye, but have good vision in my left eye. Does this mean Im definitely not suitable?

    Its so frustrating if so, as I was born like this and have absolutely no issues with driving etc, and my field of vision is "normal" to me and I don't "not see" anything.

    thanks
     
  28. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Im afraid Railway Group Standards require good uncorrected vision in both eyes, same with hearing. See the link for more information

    http://www.railwayregister.care4free.net/becoming_a_train_driver.htm#MEDICAL STANDARDS
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2008
  29. Harry Douthwaite

    Harry Douthwaite Member

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    I could probably apply for a station job, as I'm sixteen in less than two weeks. However, I live on the wrong side of the world to do it right away.
    Also, do you need binocular vision to become a train driver?
     
  30. Juniper Driver

    Juniper Driver Established Member

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    Christ it has changed so much since I got on as a Traction Trainee in Late '85.

    I was a cleaner for two and a half years at Ilford the a guard for a year and somehow got into the footplate grade.Don't know how I did it but I did it.

    It is so much different now but I did really enjoy the days when it was British Rail.

    If you get a chance then don't blow it.I heard of a guy at work who had an interview to get on as a guard but was late or didn't turn up and he didn't get another chance.

    Good luck.I still enjoy doing the job after all this time and have learned a lot about myslef and of course railways.

    I always thought I've been lucky and privileged to be able to drive trains as a living.:grin:

    It has it's good days and the occasional bad day.
     
  31. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Greetings to all.

    New forum member, currently a very disillusioned airline pilot, I'd be extremely grateful if there are any Train Crew Managers, Drivers, (current and former) preferably with knowledge of Companies with bases in the North (Leeds, Hull, York etc) who could PM me. I'll explain more then.

    Thank you in advance.
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2008

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