UK Train Driving With A Non-UK License

How2Become a Train Driver without a UK drivers license

UK Train Driving With A Non-UK License

Wherever you are in the world, the skills and competencies required to be a train driver are largely the same. You must have:

  • excellent concentration skills
  • the ability work alone for long periods of time
  • quick reaction times
  • the ability to remain calm in high-pressure situations
  • an understanding of the operational and mechanical equipment 

So, if you have been successful as a train driver in Europe, Australia, or the United States, does your license permit you to apply for UK train driver roles and work on UK networks? Let’s find out!

Does a European train driver’s license permit UK train driving?

While the fundamental basics of train driving remains the same throughout Europe, each country has it’s own regulations and network infrastructure. 

This means that, unfortunately, a license that is valid to drive trains in France, Germany, Italy or any other European country does not automatically permit it’s owner to drive trains in the UK. 

This does not mean that you cannot become a train driver in the UK, you will just need to apply for trainee train driver roles instead of qualified train driver roles. Some good news, is that you will be at a huge advantage over other applicants as your knowledge and understanding of the industry will likely supersede most others. On top of this, you can be fairly confident that you already possess the skills that are required of train drivers and may find the practical assessments easier than applicants with no prior experience. 

Something you must consider though is any differences in the eligibility criteria, for example, in the UK you must be at least 21 years old to be a train driver (or 18 years old if you’re applying for a train driver role with the London Underground). 

Download our free trainee train driver career starter pack to learn more about the UK eligibility criteria as well as what you can except from the entire selection process:

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Does an Australian train driver’s license permit UK train driving?

Train driving in Australia is also very similar to train driving in the UK, many of the assessment centre tests are comparable as the principal skills remain the same. You must be able to concentrate for long periods of time while working in solitary.

As with a European license, an Australian license is unfortunately not valid within the UK. Once you have gained the necessary requirements to work in the UK you can apply for trainee train driver roles. You will undertake the same selection process as any new UK train driver and upon successful completion of the selection process you will commence several weeks of training with the train operating company (TOC) you applied with to familiarise yourself with the UK networks and operations. 

The selection process for a UK trainee train driver is as follows:

  • Application form/submitting CV
  • Train driver assessment centre (includes structured interview)
  • Manager’s interview
  • Vetting and medical tests

Prepare and practice for the entire train driver selection process with our live-streamed trainee train driver training webinar.

Train Driver Live Online Webinar Training

This live webinar is designed to show you how to navigate the selection process and how to become a train driver. Here’s an outline of what is covered in our live training events:

  1. Understanding the role of a train driver and demonstrating the ‘assessable’ qualities.
  2. Completing the application form correctly in order to ensure success.
  3. Preparing for the psychometric tests.
  4. Preparing for both sets of interviews, including the key strategy to creating your own winning answers.
  5. Rail recruitment information and where/how to apply.

Does a US train driver’s license permit UK train driving?

One of the big differences between applying for a train driver role in the US and the UK is that in the US most rail jobs require applicants to have completed locomotive engineer courses before applying and many train drivers start in entry-level roles such as conductors or switch operators before moving up into train driving roles.

Once you have qualified to a train service engineer level you are permitted to drive locomotives with cars attached. However, once again, this license does not then allow the holder of the license to drive UK trains. 

You must apply for trainee train driver roles and an important note is that most TOCs require you to live within 1 hour’s commute of the job site you are based at. When preparing for the selection process you will want to familiarise yourself with the assessment centre tests you must pass – many people cite these as the toughest part of the whole selection process and you don’t have much room for error.

The tests you can except to face may include:

  • Assessing information
  • Checking tests
  • Concentration tests
  • Observational ability
  • Situational judgement
  • Awareness and recognition

Train Driver Platinum Software Pack DownloadHone your skills and practice all of these tests with our Train Driver Tests downloadable resources


Your chance to DRAMATICALLY BOOST your prospects of becoming a train driver by PASSING the OFFICIAL ASSESSMENT CENTRE BEFORE you even apply… 

How2Become are proud to offer this unique tuition package, designed to fast-track your application to become a trainee train driver. You’ll receive award-winning practice resources and training, plus you’ll be able to sit all of the official train driver psychometric tests under a certified accreditation body.

This package is the most effective for those that want to invest in their personal career development and secure an exciting and lucrative, long-term career. By passing the train driver assessment centre prior to submitting an application, you are giving yourself a massive advantage over the thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of other candidates.

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  • How to become a train driver career guide;
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