Train Driver at TransPennine Express

Is this career right for me?

Ever wondered what it’s like to be in the driver’s cabin of a train? Like being in control? Want a job where you’ll get to see the country and its beautiful scenery from the best seat in the house?

If that sounds like you, then a career as a train driver could be the answer.

Perks and Challenges of being a train driver


  • You’ll get a huge amount of satisfaction from driving smoothly and efficiently.
  • You’ll experience the great outdoors in all conditions, getting to see different views every day!


  • You’ll need to be quick on your feet and alert to any problems that might arise. You’ll the necessary precautions to make sure that all your passengers and cargo are safe. You’ll aim to get the problem fixed quickly before it disturbs other train services.

Useful skills

The following skills are very useful:

  • Decision making – you’ll need to make decisions quickly and accurately to ensure that your passengers and cargo arrive to their destination safely – your training will support you with this.
  • Responsibility – you’ll be responsible for all your passengers, so being ready and willing to take on that responsibility is a great skill to have!
  • Customer service and interpersonal skills – you’ll need to be able to answer any questions customers may have on the train service, as well as announce any changes to the schedule of the train.

People who work in this role say that the following skills and qualities are useful:

  • Reliability – customers and your team will rely on you to drive the train smoothly and safely to their destination.
  • Calmness under pressure – if there’s a problem, you’ll need to show your team and passengers that you have it under control and are able to fix it quickly.

What qualifications do you need to be a train driver?

You don’t need any specific qualifications to become a train driver, but having a good general standard of education (including GCSEs in maths and English) helps.

You’ll also need to be in good health, have good hearing and not be colour-blind - that will be tested during your application.

Top tip: a good way to get your foot in the door is to start by taking another role in the rail industry. For example, starting in customer services and then looking out for potential internal openings can help.

What is the workplace of a train driver like?

You’ll spend between your time between train journeys in an office, catching up on the latest safety guidelines and checking safety equipment. You will also use the time to read reports on the train journey you’re about to embark on so you are in the know about weather conditions.

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