How to become a Train Driver

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leomartin125

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Maidenhead
Hi all,

I'm 17 and would love to become a driver with GWR in the future driving the Class 800 which would be my ultimate goal. I was going to go into an Operations Apprenticeship with GWR at 18 and then hopefully get offered a full time station job (dispatching trains or customer service most likely) and from there, once I'm 21, apply for any trainee driver roles that come up.

However, I spoke to a driver at Reading today who drives the Class 165/166 Turbo's and he mentioned how he was going to train up on the Class 387 with GWR once it enters service in the next year or so. He told me that GWR already have many drivers ready for training in the new stock and that recruiting new drivers is not something GWR would want to do until Control Period 6 when the GWML is fully electrified. Instead of going for the GWR Operations Apprenticeship, he told me to go in for a Network Rail Signalling Apprenticeship of some sort and then gain experience in that sector before applying for a trainee driver role with previous signalling experience.

What is everyone's view of this? Which route should I go down?

1). Operations Apprenticeship with GWR then job with GWR until 21

OR

2). Signalling Apprenticeship with NR then job with NR until 21


Thanks,
Leo
 
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Cherry_Picker

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18 Apr 2011
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2,714
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Birmingham
This comes up a lot. You probably get the same answers over and over again too but you took the time to write a fully realised question so I'll take a bit of time to give an answer. I will suggest that you do read other posts in this forum too.

Firstly, you have age on your side. You are three or four years away from being even able to legally drive a train and even then people who get in at the age of 21 are quite rare, presumably lack of life experience is a factor when it comes to managers being reluctant to offer driving positions to someone so young.

This is where I'd suggest you get in with a TOC. If your ultimate goal is to be at a TOC then go there first. You get to see what life is like on the ground, you'd be amazed at how much you don't know about the job as a member of the public, also if you are at a TOC then you get the chance to network a bit. The railway doesn't work entirely on nepotism but if people know you and they are impressed with you then moving up through the ranks is going to be easier than if you are a complete stranger.

Also don't limit yourself to GWR. You live in Maidenhead? If so you've got all of London at your mercy and there are more train crew depots than you can shake a stick at in a commutable distance from your home town. If you can't get in at GWR then maybe going onto the Southern out of Waterloo or Victoria (etc) where there tends to be a higher turnover of staff might be an idea to get qualified and then look at moving to GWR after a few years. It's much easier to move between companies if you are a qualified driver with a clean record.

Good luck.
 

MichaelAMW

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18 Jun 2010
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You would do yourself no harm to review the thread you started before Christmas with a very similar question. I would also ask yourself what is your acceptable timescale for this goal. Even if you managed to get a driving job at an unusually young age it is entirely likely that you might have to work your way towards that "ultimate goal." As several of the drivers have pointed out on this forum before, whilst the idea of strict seniority and moving up the links has somewhat diminished, your experience in the job (as in many jobs) is a significant factor in determining progression. Would you be happy driving turbos between London and Oxford/Newbury (say) for 10+ years? It's good to have ambition, of course, but it has to be tempered with a bit of reality too. From what others have said, getting *any* train driving job is a bit of a long shot and, presumably, for a specific job this is even more the case.
 
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