The Train Driver Selection Process: Top Tips on How To Pass

The train driver selection process is extremely challenging.

Train Driving is one of the most popular careers available, and every single TOC receives thousands upon thousands of applicants for each and every job opening. With this in mind, the train driver application process is extremely competitive. In order to succeed, you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd, and demonstrate your skills, qualities, and personal attributes. In this blog, we’ll cover what you can do to maximise your chances of success during the train driver selection process, and examine the following stages: 

STAGE #1 – The Qualities & Attributes YOU will need!

STAGE #2 – The Application Form Questions (& Answers)

STAGE #3 – The Train Driver Interview (Stage 1)

STAGE #4 – The Train Driver Interview (Stage 2)

STAGE #5 – My 7 ESSENTIAL TIPS for success!

STAGE #6 – The Trainee Train Driver Tests.

STAGE #7 – More FREE training and support for becoming a Trainee Train Driver.

The train driver selection process will push you to your limits!

Qualities and Attributes For Success

The train operating company will create a ‘job description’ and ‘person specification’ with the Trainee Train Driver job advert. Let’s take a look at a sample Train Driver Job Description and how you can use this to help you pass the selection process. We’ve highlighted the key qualities in bold. 

As well as driving the train, you’ll have a number of customer service responsibilities – addressing passengers using the on-board PA system, keeping them informed and helping to develop good passenger relations. You’ll also make sure their safety is paramount at all times, reacting quickly and calmly in an emergency situation and reporting incidents wherever necessary.

Our train drivers need to be able to maintain exceptional levels of concentration – after all, this is a high-pressure role, calling for you to be cool, calm and responsible. You’ll also be a strong communicator, and capable of working on your own initiative.

Flexibility is also essential, since trains operate 24 hours a day, all year round. That means your shift lengths and patterns will vary, including early starts, late finishes, weekends and bank holidays.


  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Learn large amounts of job relevant information.
  • Be able to demonstrate good passenger relations.
  • Be safety conscious.
  • Be able to react quickly and calmly.
  • Maintain exceptional levels of concentration.
  • Be capable of working under pressure.
  • Stay cool, calm and responsible.
  • Be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing.
  • Working on your own unsupervised.
  • Be able to learn and follow strict guidelines/safety procedures.
  • Be very flexible.
The train driver selection process is really hard to pass!

Train Driver Interview Questions and Answers

During your train driver selection process, you will face two different interviews:

INTERVIEW NUMBER 1 – A structured interview whereby you need to prepare for 6 interview questions.

INTERVIEW NUMBER 2 – A manager’s interview which assesses your motivations for wanting to become a train driver.

Below we’ve included 20 different questions that you can prepare for: 

Q1. Why do you want to become a Train Driver.

Q2. What are the qualities of a Train Driver.

Q3. Why do you want to join this TOC.

Q4. Tell us everything you know about this TOC.

Q5. What is our Passenger Charter.

Q6. Describe a time where you have followed rules and procedures in a work situation.

Q7. What is your greatest achievement.

Q8. What are your strengths.

Q9. What are your weaknesses.

Q10. Explain a time when you handled an emergency situation.

Q11. Describe a time you successfully completed a training course that was longer than 2 weeks.

Q12. Describe a time when you worked alone for a long period of time.

Q13. Describe a time when you had to concentrate for a long period of time on one particular task.

Q14. What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies.

Q15. Give an example of when you were flexible in a work-related situation.

Q16. Describe a time you solved a difficult problem

Q17. Give an example of a time you undertook a task similar to that of a train driver’s role.

Q18. Give an example of when you followed strict rules and procedures.

Q19. Give an example where you’ve had to work under pressure.

Q20. Give an example of when you communicated a difficult message to a group of people.

Now, let’s take a look at one of the questions you will have to answer when completing the train driver application form. 

Why do you want to become a Train Driver?

“I have wanted to become a Train Driver for many years now and have been preparing for the role for a long time. I have been very careful about which TOC to apply for and I have been impressed with the way your company operates. It sets itself high standards in terms of customer service and the safety standards that are expected of its employees.

Apart from the fact that driving trains is a highly responsible job, I also very much enjoy new and different challenges. I understand that as a Train Driver there are a lot of new skills to learn, especially during the early years. The type of person I am means that I would work hard to ensure that I passed every exam first time. I also enjoy working in a customer-focused environment where a high level of service is essential. As a Train Driver you are responsible for the customer’s safety and I would enjoy the high level of responsibility that comes with the position.”

7 Top Tips For Train Driver Application Success

TIP 1 – Get access to my Online Train Driver Training Course by going to the website

TIP 2 – Undertake a health and safety course online.

You can find a course either at:

TIP 3 – Sign up to my Train Driver Job Alerts to be notified as soon as jobs become available.

Link in the description!

TIP 4 – Have examples of when you have delivered excellent customer service. Remember, the train operating company are providing a service and they are measured by this.

TIP 5 – Have SPECIFIC examples of when you have:

  • Worked in a safety-related situation.
  • Worked as part of a team.
  • Communicated an important message to a group of people.
  • Responded to an emergency situation.
  • Worked along for a long period of time.
  • Been flexible at work.
  • Learnt a large amount of job-specific information.

TIP 6 – Consider working for a TOC in a different role first (perhaps Ticket Office Worker or a Train Guard.)

TIP 7 – Start preparing you answers to the application form questions now! This will give you an advantage over the other applicants.


Train Driver Tests: Preparation and Practice

TIP 1 – Start practicing now! Don’t leave it until a couple of weeks prior to the test date to start practicing.

TIP 2 – Use the practice worksheets and tools that are provided within my Online Train Driver Course for preparation.

TIP 3 – Where possible, practice under timed conditions as this is how you will be assessed.

TIP 4 – Aim for SPEED as well as ACCURACY.

TIP 5 – It is our view that most psychometric tests that form part of job selection processes are designed so you cannot finish them.

3 thoughts on “The Train Driver Selection Process: Top Tips on How To Pass

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the article. I’ve always wanted to become a train driver and I feel this will help me achieve my goals. Can I ask a couple of questions, please? Q. How often do Train Operating Companies advertise job vacancies for Trainee Train drivers? Q. FOr the train driver tests, can you have unlimited attempts at them, or is there a limit as to how many goes you can have?
    Thanks for your time,

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Sarah,

      No problem, we’re glad you found this useful =]. In regards to your questions, it really depends entirely on the TOC. Each TOC will have their own way of doing things – the majority of them will have three or four recruitment drives per year max, as they get so many applicants for every single role – the rest of the time they recruit internally. For the tests, again it’s down to the TOC and how strict they are, but the majority of them will allow you to have two attempts maximum, with a cooling off period if you fail the first one. If you fail at the second attempt, you normally won’t be allowed to apply again.

      We hope this helps, and we wish you the best of luck.


      The How2Become Team

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