Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) Driver info needed please

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Choice

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I'm a qualified train driver looking to move to Ireland from the UK within the next 5 years or so.
I saw that Iarnród Éireann had a recruitment drive in 2019 for drivers and said that they wanted to recruit 100 drivers in the next 4 years.
I have lots of questions!
Any current employees or anyone know if this is still happening? Has covid stopped/ postponed this?
The ads I've seen are for trainee drivers. Could I just contact them and ask to apply as a qualified driver?
They've said that they will be expanding the railway. Any further info on this?
Depots? Where are they and do you get any choice where you are placed?
What are the conditions of employment? The ads said 39-48 hours per week?! Is this actually the case?! What kind of shift patterns would you be doing?
That's all I can think of for now.
Thanks in advance to anyone able to help me.
 
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tiptoptaff

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I'm a qualified train driver looking to move to Ireland from the UK within the next 5 years or so.
I saw that Iarnród Éireann had a recruitment drive in 2019 for drivers and said that they wanted to recruit 100 drivers in the next 4 years.
I have lots of questions!
Any current employees or anyone know if this is still happening? Has covid stopped/ postponed this?
The ads I've seen are for trainee drivers. Could I just contact them and ask to apply as a qualified driver?
They've said that they will be expanding the railway. Any further info on this?
Depots? Where are they and do you get any choice where you are placed?
What are the conditions of employment? The ads said 39-48 hours per week?! Is this actually the case?! What kind of shift patterns would you be doing?
That's all I can think of for now.
Thanks in advance to anyone able to help me.
Unfortunately I don't know much, if anything about them beyond that their pay is a lot lower than most UK TOCs and despite being a UK qualified driver, you're unlikely to be able to go across as a qualified as their rulebook will be different
 

irish_rail

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They haven't shown any inclination to take on UK drivers for many many years, to the best of my knowledge not since the 1990s. I know a driver on GWR who tried hard to get in a couple of years back with no success.

I think youll be lucky, but I guess a European driving licence may go in your favour and there's nowt wrong with giving it a go.....
 

tiptoptaff

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They haven't shown any inclination to take on UK drivers for many many years, to the best of my knowledge not since the 1990s. I know a driver on GWR who tried hard to get in a couple of years back with no success.

I think youll be lucky, but I guess a European driving licence may go in your favour and there's nowt wrong with giving it a go.....
The European Driving License is a complete red herring. It's mentioned a lot by people wanting to move internationally, both in and out of the UK, as something that indicates that we should be considered qualified drivers everywhere. But it merely represents meeting minimum medial and psychometric standards. Nothing to do with being qualified to drive in any given country.
 

Muse29

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I'm a qualified train driver looking to move to Ireland from the UK within the next 5 years or so.
I saw that Iarnród Éireann had a recruitment drive in 2019 for drivers and said that they wanted to recruit 100 drivers in the next 4 years.
I have lots of questions!
Any current employees or anyone know if this is still happening? Has covid stopped/ postponed this?
The ads I've seen are for trainee drivers. Could I just contact them and ask to apply as a qualified driver?
They've said that they will be expanding the railway. Any further info on this?
Depots? Where are they and do you get any choice where you are placed?
What are the conditions of employment? The ads said 39-48 hours per week?! Is this actually the case?! What kind of shift patterns would you be doing?
That's all I can think of for now.
Thanks in advance to anyone able to help me.
Hi Choice - I don't work for IE but going through the recruitment process at the moment so can give a bit of insight.

IE ran an external trainee train driver recruitment drive in both 2019 and then again in Oct 2020 (when I applied) - my understanding from a friend who knows people in the business is that they have a number of drivers nearing retirement age. IE always recruited drivers from within the organisation so going external for trainees is a new thing - no idea whether they would consider qualified drivers from another country. As has already been said, the rulebook would be different here so they may only be prepared to put people through the trainee program. The assessments are ongoing - I had my last battery of psychometric tests on Feb 12th and waiting the result of those to see if I am through to the interview stage.

As regards the rail network - they are in the process of extending the DART service to Maynooth which just means electrification of the existing line - construction hasn't started but my sister has been working on the archeological impact along the route so it's definitely in progress. There is a desire to extend the electrification of the network to select commuter towns I believe.

There has also been a story recently about extending the M3 parkway line up to Navan - although this could just be bluster to curry favour with the electorate.

Depots - when I applied, I had to advise what depot I wanted to work from so my assumption is that there would be a choice but don't quote me on that and I am prepared to relocate if I am lucky enough to get in.

Shift patterns - not a clue although all the adverts I've seen say 39-48 hours as well (over 5 days) so I'd say that is correct.

I'm not sure that is of much help but all I've got!
 

Choice

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Hi Choice - I don't work for IE but going through the recruitment process at the moment so can give a bit of insight.

IE ran an external trainee train driver recruitment drive in both 2019 and then again in Oct 2020 (when I applied) - my understanding from a friend who knows people in the business is that they have a number of drivers nearing retirement age. IE always recruited drivers from within the organisation so going external for trainees is a new thing - no idea whether they would consider qualified drivers from another country. As has already been said, the rulebook would be different here so they may only be prepared to put people through the trainee program. The assessments are ongoing - I had my last battery of psychometric tests on Feb 12th and waiting the result of those to see if I am through to the interview stage.

As regards the rail network - they are in the process of extending the DART service to Maynooth which just means electrification of the existing line - construction hasn't started but my sister has been working on the archeological impact along the route so it's definitely in progress. There is a desire to extend the electrification of the network to select commuter towns I believe.

There has also been a story recently about extending the M3 parkway line up to Navan - although this could just be bluster to curry favour with the electorate.

Depots - when I applied, I had to advise what depot I wanted to work from so my assumption is that there would be a choice but don't quote me on that and I am prepared to relocate if I am lucky enough to get in.

Shift patterns - not a clue although all the adverts I've seen say 39-48 hours as well (over 5 days) so I'd say that is correct.

I'm not sure that is of much help but all I've got!
Hey Muse29 and tiptoptaff,

Thanks for the info.

It's looking less and less likely that my plan will work :*(

My other half is Irish and we'd both love to move back to Ireland but really only the West of the country. Looks like most of the train networks are very Dublin-centric.

I'm potentially willing to take the hit on salary (work/ life balance) but that's partly the reason I wanted more info on the actual hours of work. 49 hours a week is absurd!

The European driving license comments above make sense. Having it only really means that you've gotten through all of the assessment stages before and can actually drive a train. It would potentially help in the recruitment phase but they'll still have to train me up on their rule book, traction, routes etc so understandable that I'd be taken on as a trainee.
With that, I assume the training is in Dublin? Any idea about what they do for accommodation etc while you're training if it's not in your depot location? I presume there is a trainee salary?

Maybe it'll be better to actually call them and ask myself. I've probably missed out on all of the recruitment anyway!

Good luck Muse29!
 

Muse29

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Hi Choice,

Thanks for the message - since I replied to you, I have actually spoken to a qualified driver based in the west. He started in Dublin (albeit, many years ago) and transferred out. He said that newly qualified drivers would be required to do a few years in Dublin (potentially shunting to start with) but could then transfer to another depot if there was a vacancy. He said he was aware of someone who had recently transferred from Limerick to Sligo which would obviously create a gap in Limerick. So there could ultimately be options to be based out west. As you say, it's Dublin centric so to get your foot in the door and so you can attend the training, I'd be prepared to live in or around Dublin to begin with.

I didn't ask about hours but he confirmed it is a 5/7 week - he did say though that he did his trip to Dublin and then came back and that was his day done. Assuming every day ran to time(!), that would be at the lower end of the range so maybe they're accounting for delays in that upper number?

There has been a government hearing recently where Jim Reade, CEO of IE gave an insight in to the ambition to extend the railway infrastructure in Ireland. Not sure if you've seen this article.


I have also heard that they will be recruiting again later this year so I think it's definitely worth trying to get in touch with them to ask the question if you're keen on moving.

All the training takes place in the Inchicore depot in Dublin and that's also where I had to undertake two of the assessment days so you'd need to bear that in mind - training is 6 months for DART and a year for diesel! I'm fairly sure there wouldn't be any allowance on accommodation but there is a trainee salary (30k - 35k I think - don't quote me on that though).
 

craigybagel

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FWIW, last time they recruited they were advertising for depots all across the country, which suggests they weren't making new hires necessarily start in Dublin. I've certainly heard of trainee drivers starting at other depots in the past, and a relatively recent study on SPADs carried out by the RAIU ( Link ) mentions the training of quite a few drivers across the country without any suggestion they started in Dublin.

The problem here though is that to the best of my knowledge there are no actual Irish Rail staff on this forum who can confirm for definite what the situation is. All I can suggest to the OP is that they contact Irish Rail themselves and explain their situation (with emphasis on their actual Irish connections and serious plans to move and not just as an unknowing Brit thinking "oh wouldn't it be nice to live there some day") and then you'll get much better answers than what you're getting at the moment.
 

irish_rail

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FWIW, last time they recruited they were advertising for depots all across the country, which suggests they weren't making new hires necessarily start in Dublin. I've certainly heard of trainee drivers starting at other depots in the past, and a relatively recent study on SPADs carried out by the RAIU ( Link ) mentions the training of quite a few drivers across the country without any suggestion they started in Dublin.

The problem here though is that to the best of my knowledge there are no actual Irish Rail staff on this forum who can confirm for definite what the situation is. All I can suggest to the OP is that they contact Irish Rail themselves and explain their situation (with emphasis on their actual Irish connections and serious plans to move and not just as an unknowing Brit thinking "oh wouldn't it be nice to live there some day") and then you'll get much better answers than what you're getting at the moment.
Whilst there is no harm in trying , we had a bloke at Plymouth who was married to or dating a girl from Dublin and I think he made a very serious attempt to get over , even involving the union over there and IR didn't want to know. As far as I know he had a good safety record etc and was quite young .
I imagine with the wealth of people they can pick from at home there is no need to poach people from abroad.
Craigybagel is also right that I believe the trainee recruitment campaign did cover all depots in Ireland, I distinctly remember Cork mentioned as one location. But that was for trainee drivers, already living in Ireland, not UK qualifieds , living in the UK.
 

craigybagel

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Whilst there is no harm in trying , we had a bloke at Plymouth who was married to or dating a girl from Dublin and I think he made a very serious attempt to get over , even involving the union over there and IR didn't want to know. As far as I know he had a good safety record etc and was quite young .
I imagine with the wealth of people they can pick from at home there is no need to poach people from abroad.
Craigybagel is also right that I believe the trainee recruitment campaign did cover all depots in Ireland, I distinctly remember Cork mentioned as one location. But that was for trainee drivers, already living in Ireland, not UK qualifieds , living in the UK.
It doesn't surprise me too much to be honest - CIÉ (the state run parent company of Irish Rail, and also Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann) are notoriously conservative and slow to change, or do anything outside of the accepted norms.

I do wonder with your colleague, was this a recent thing or something from longer ago? Until recently, driver recruitment was very strictly internal only, no exceptions, and I suspect that if someone was parachuted in direct to a drivers seat from outside the business (and especially from outside the country) there would have been uproar.

I should add this as a general observation and not aimed at anyone in particular in this thread, but there is a common misconception in the UK that just because the Irish Railway looks a lot like the British one (which is understandable given that when most of the Irish network was built the whole island was part of the UK) it must be a similar operation - when the truth is, it's a very different place, as different as you'll find in any other country away from Britain.

I remember reading a few years ago in a letter to a railway magazine about how the easy solution to the UKs shortage of DMUs would be to acquire the recent withdrawn 2700 class Irish Rail DMUs, since they were "basically the same as a 158", when the truth was other then both being DMUs they have nothing in common whatsoever! Similarly the Wikipedia article on the 29000 class DMUs used to contain the line "The 29000 Class bears a resemblance to the [[British Rail Class 166]] despite being built 10 years apart and by different manufacturers." They share a resemblance to pretty much anything long metallic and green but that doesn't mean they're the same!
 

theironroad

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Hey Muse29 and tiptoptaff,

Thanks for the info.

It's looking less and less likely that my plan will work :*(

My other half is Irish and we'd both love to move back to Ireland but really only the West of the country. Looks like most of the train networks are very Dublin-centric.

I'm potentially willing to take the hit on salary (work/ life balance) but that's partly the reason I wanted more info on the actual hours of work. 49 hours a week is absurd!

The European driving license comments above make sense. Having it only really means that you've gotten through all of the assessment stages before and can actually drive a train. It would potentially help in the recruitment phase but they'll still have to train me up on their rule book, traction, routes etc so understandable that I'd be taken on as a trainee.
With that, I assume the training is in Dublin? Any idea about what they do for accommodation etc while you're training if it's not in your depot location? I presume there is a trainee salary?

Maybe it'll be better to actually call them and ask myself. I've probably missed out on all of the recruitment anyway!

Good luck Muse29!

If you're ok with a salary reduction,hours etc then I'd say just go ahead and apply as a trainee. Guess you could also give IR HR a call /email to see what their future recruitment plans are if no vacancy right now.

Your CV /work history section will show you are currently a driver in Britain so he experience.

I'd probably make reference in a covering letter / extra info section to your and OH plans to relocate.

If the thought of starting again as a day one trainee fills you with dread and horror then maybe give it a miss.

Don't try, you'll never know?

I'm assuming there is no dual language requirement required?
 

craigybagel

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I'm assuming there is no dual language requirement required?
I suspect the number of drivers at Irish Rail fluent in the Irish language is a small minority, as indeed is the case with the rest of the Irish population. Don't let the legal requirements for bi-lingual signage and automatic announcements fool you.
 

Hooligan

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There were also jobs in Sligo and Galway on last recruitment, there was another on west coast but can't remember where, wasn't somewhere I was familiar with.
 

D6130

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There were also jobs in Sligo and Galway on last recruitment, there was another on west coast but can't remember where, wasn't somewhere I was familiar with.
Probably Ballina or Westport. There also used to be a drivers' depot at Claremorris, but I believe that has now closed.
 

Choice

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This is all great info guys, thanks so much!

Those replies fill me with hope and fear I would hope that being an already qualified, female driver would go in my favour. But I expect being Britsh and living in the UK currently would go against me. I'll definitely write a covering note explain my situation. Unfortunately brexit is probably going to make it more difficult for me as I expect Ireland have been inundated with Brits trying to get over there to get citizenship.

I hope they advertise again this year. I'm kicking myself for not applying last year. Galway is my other halfs home town and Sligo would also be ideal. Fingers crossed guys! Thanks for all your help.

If you hear anything else, please let me know!
 

Elwyn

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A couple of years back I was getting off the Belfast to Dublin train in Connolly and there was a queue because the Gardaí were doing some check. The driver happened to get out of the loco cab beside us and was squeezed in the crowd. I ended up talking to her very briefly in the queue. She was Lithuanian. I have no idea what her circumstances were that led to her being a driver in Ireland plus it’s possible she worked for Northern Ireland Railways rather than CIE (they share the Belfast - Dublin service) but anyway, there are female drivers in Ireland and at least 1 isn’t Irish.
 

irish_rail

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This is all great info guys, thanks so much!

Those replies fill me with hope and fear I would hope that being an already qualified, female driver would go in my favour. But I expect being Britsh and living in the UK currently would go against me. I'll definitely write a covering note explain my situation. Unfortunately brexit is probably going to make it more difficult for me as I expect Ireland have been inundated with Brits trying to get over there to get citizenship.

I hope they advertise again this year. I'm kicking myself for not applying last year. Galway is my other halfs home town and Sligo would also be ideal. Fingers crossed guys! Thanks for all your help.

If you hear anything else, please let me know!
Being female = undoubtedly a big advantage that 50 percent of Brits won't have. That is probably the card I would emphasise the most if a vacancy comes up. Being qualified in UK probably won't be too much help in my view, but always worth mentioning.
Keep your ears to the ground, but be aware there is a notice on the IR website stating they are not accepting CVs sent in where a job vacancy isn't actually advertised.
 
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