How to Become a Train Driver
The complete guide to unlocking and passing the UK trainee train driver recruitment process in 2023.
Access the UK's #1 guide now 👉
“This was excellent and put me in great stead for the interview which I passed! I am now a trainee train driver…” – Michael, TrustPilot
Training That Works
Discover a masterclass of train driver recruitment knowledge and insider secrets from How2Become
Unlock Your Potential
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re reapplying, you will get access to on-demand training that will catapult your career
Get instant access to the on-demand train driver selection process training guides, interactive online tests, and video modules – suitable for all UK train operating companies
Become a train driver
Our POWERFUL guide is guaranteed to help you become a trainee train driver and pass the selection process. It contains example train driver application form responses that you can use to form your own unique winning answers, insider tips on passing the assessment centre, sample train driver interview questions, and successful responses for every stage of the process.
Let’s start off by telling you what the UK selection process involves and how we can help you to get selected first time!
We have collated a mass of insider information on how to successfully pass the selection process and it is all available on this page.
The Train Driver Selection Process
The trainee train driver recruitment process will normally consist of the following elements:
Stage 1 – Completion of the application form & SUBMITTING YOUR CV
The application form is the first stage of selection and unfortunately, the vast majority of applicants fail at this stage. You will be required to complete the form online and it should be your number one priority to demonstrate the assessable competencies and qualities that are vital to the role.
For example, you will need to provide evidence of where you have provided a high-level of customer service, or when you have previously concentrated for long periods of time, or when you have had to work under pressure.
Train operating companies will also require you to submit a CV detailing your professional achievements, employment history, qualifications and education. So make sure your CV is fully up-to-date and error-free to boost your chances of progressing.
Stage 2 – The train driver Assessment Centre
Once you have successfully passed the application form you will be invited to attend an assessment centre. During which you will be required to undertake a number of psychometric tests including, but not limited to:
Awareness and recognition tests
Observational ability tests
Situational judgement tests
The best way to prepare for these assessments is to practice, practice, practice! This means you will need to get your hands on sample tests in the build-up to the assessment centre.
Stage 3 – THE MANAGER’S INTERVIEW
All train operating companies now require applicants to sit a manager’s interview in addition to the structured interview which takes place at the assessment centre.
If you reach this stage of the selection process then you will not want to fail!
In order to pass the trainee train driver manager’s interview you will need to provide EVIDENCE that you meet the assessable qualities required for the role.
Stage 4 – VETTING & Medical TESTs
The final stages of selection involve a series of checks to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria, and a medical/fitness assessment to ensure that you are able to perform the job safely.
Once you successfully clear this hurdle, you will receive a formal offer of employment as a trainee and start your journey to become a qualified train driver.
Career defining knowledge.
Watch the video to find out how this resource will help you.
How to Become A Train Driver: Commonly Asked Questions
To become a train driver in the UK, and the length of time this will take, can depend on a number of factors. For start, you will have to apply for roles when they become available with train operating companies. The selection process for this can be lengthy and requires you pass a number of stages before you are selected as a trainee train driver. To apply and be successful you must be over 21 and pass an initial application, online tests, psychometric assessments which test your concentration and reaction abilities. You will also need to attend a number of interviews. From start to finish the selection process can last for 6 months or more. If successful you will be offered employment as a trainee train driver. From this point onwards you will undertake training with the TOC until you become a fully qualified train driver. This can take from twelve to fifteen months to achieve this stage.
One of the reasons why the train driver occupation is so popular, is the excellent salary and benefits which are on offer. When you start as a trainee train driver you will earn on the lower scale and average salary of £25,200. However, once qualified your earning potential would increase dramatically with an average basic salary of around £48,500 pa. Some train operating companies offer well in excess of £55,000 for qualified train drivers. Earning potential could be further increased with promotion or with a specialist service such as a Eurostar driver for example.
Becoming a train driver is an extremely popular profession. Because of this there on average over 1,000 applicants for each vacancy. Naturally purely based on the competition for vacancies the chance of success are much slim. Having said that, people are successful so it is not impossible. To be one of the very few whom are successful will require huge commitment and effort. The selection process is extremely difficult but with the right mindset and guidance you can be successful in becoming a trainee train driver. During the selection process you will need to be able to demonstrate high levels of concentration and have exceptional reaction skills. You will also need to follow strict safety procedures and policies and act in the best interest of the customer at all times. The selection process and assessments are designed to test your abilities and skills in these areas plus more.
To train to become a UK train driver you will need to apply for and pass a stringent selection process with a train operating company or TOC for short. Successful applicants will be offered a position as a trainee train driver, where they will commence a train driver training course. Depending on the TOC this course can last between a year and fifteen months, sometimes longer. The course will consist of both practical and classroom-based exercises. Some of the areas you will be training on will be:
- Train driver rules and regulations;
- Train handling;
- Knowledge of traction
- Route knowledge
- Safety procedures.
To finish the training course and become a qualified train driver, you will also be required to have completed a number of hours of train driving accompanied and unaccompanied. The set hours for this can vary between TOCs but can vary between 200 – 255 hours.
The standard working hours for train drivers is 35 hours per week. This will be split over different shifts usually covering 4 to 5 days, which will cover evening and weekends. However, the shift pattern will depend on the company you work for and its cargo, as working hours will differ between passenger and freight trains.
You do not require any formal qualifications to become a train driver in the UK, but this may vary with the train operating company, so double check when applying for any roles.
What you will be required to do is pass a stringent selection process and be able to demonstrate a number of core skills which will be required. These consist of the following:
- Exceptional concentration skills;
- Observational skills;
- Remain calm under pressure;
- Good customer service qualities;
- Pay attention to detail;
- Follow strict rules and safety procedures;
- Be able to work as part of a team and on your own;
- Comfortable operating equipment, computers and other devices.
The training can take between 12 to 18 months, but this does depend on the TOC you have applied to. During your training, you can expect to undergo a number of modular tests and complete a TOC-specified number of hours train driving accompanied by an experienced train driver. A number of these hours will be undertaken during darkness. Once you have completed your training, you will have gained a nationally recognised qualification and hold the status of Qualified Train Driver.
ABOUT THE ROLE
For those people who want to become a train driver in the UK, the selection process presents a considerable challenge. The main reason for this is simply because the competition is fierce. Having said that, the vast majority of people who apply will fall at the first hurdle simply because they have not prepared themselves fully.
As you can imagine, many applicants get carried away with their childhood dreams and ambitions of train driving without ﬁrst establishing whether or not this is the job for them.
Remember, this is a safety critical role and there are strict rules in place for both passenger and freight trains, which drivers must follow. In past years there have been a number of unfortunate rail incidents, and Train Operating Companies only want to employ people who take safety seriously.
The word ‘safety’ should be at the forefront of your mind whilst you are going through selection. It’s the exact reason why the TOC will assess your ability to concentrate for long periods of time during the assessment day. Because if you can’t, you will be putting yourself, and your passengers, at risk from harm.
During your initial training course you will receive in-depth training and guidance on the important topic of safety. The role does involve sitting in the cab for prolonged periods of time. Before you apply you need to be certain that you are capable of maintaining high levels of concentration for lengthy periods.
KEY QUALITIES OF A TRAIN DRIVER
Below are the key qualities you need to start your train driver career in the UK:
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.
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.
PASS THE TRAIN DRIVER RECRUITMENT PROCESS
We guarantee that our How To Become a Train Driver online resources will teach you how to navigate the different elements of the selection process. The package contains 240+ pages of train driver recruitment information, tests, and videos which will guide you through each of the different elements of selection, including the application form, the assessment centre, the interviews and the medical.Start Preparing Now 👉
PASS THE TRAINEE TRAIN DRIVER RECRUITMENT PROCESS
We guarantee that our How To Become a Train Driver online resources will teach you how to navigate the different elements of the selection process successfully. The package contains 240+ pages of the latest recruitment information, tests, and videos which will guide you through each stage of the selection process, including the application form, the assessment centre, the interviews, and the medical assessment.Start Preparing Now 👉
Sample Train Driver Interview Questions
Q. “Can you tell me about a time when you have worked as part of a team to achieve a goal?”
Tips for Structuring Your Response:
TIP 1: Think of a situation where you volunteered to work with a team in order to achieve a difficult task. It is better to say that you volunteered as opposed to being asked to get involved by another person.
TIP 2: Candidates who can provide an example of when they achieved the task, despite the constraints of time will generally score higher.
Sample Response Structure:
Train Operating Companies employ many people in different roles from conductors to platform staff, and from ticket ofﬁce staff to caterers.
In fact, it is not uncommon for thousands of people to work for one particular TOC. Therefore, it is essential that every member of the team works together in order to achieve the ultimate goal of providing a high quality rail service.
The recruitment staff will want to be certain that you can work effectively as part of a team, which is why you may be asked questions that relate to your team-working experience.
When responding to this type of question use the following format for structuring your response:
S – Tell the interviewer what the SITUATION was that you were involved in. Make sure the situation is a genuine one and one where you took action!
T – Tell the interviewer what TASK you had to undertake and also what tasks other people did too.
A – Now tell the interviewer what ACTION you took specifically and also what action other people took as part of the team. It is advisable to use an example of where you volunteered to take action as opposed to being told by a supervisor or a manager.
R – Finally, tell the interviewer what the RESULT was following your actions. Your answer should include a POSITIVE OUTCOME based on the actions you took.
Pass the Train Driver Selection Process. First Time.
Crafted for everyone, no matter your skill level or background, this guide was made to help you achieve one goal: to become a train driver.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
Essential information about how you will be assessed during every stage of the selection process.
APPLICATION FORM SAMPLE ANSWERS
Lots of up-to-date sample application form questions, responses and tips on how to pass this initial stage.
PRACTICE ASSESSMENT CENTRE TESTS
Step-by-step information on how to pass the assessment centre including 100s of practice questions and answers.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Sample answers to each of the competency based interview questions.
Insider tips on how to answer the interview questions and advice on how you will be scored.
Get ahead of the competition with unique and proven strategies 16 years in the making.
Pass the Train Driver Selection Process. First Time.
Crafted for everyone, no matter your skill level or background, this guide was made to help you achieve one goal: become a trainee train driver.
Customer Success Stories
Having helped 1,000s of aspiring train drivers for over 16 years, it is no wonder our customers love us…
I now feel totally prepared and full of knowledge for which will be a difficult process. I recommend this company – Lucy B. TrustPilot
I now feel a lot more confident in going forward with an application to become a train driver. – Simon D. TrustPilot
…the books I have purchased have been invaluable and have helped me pass stage 1 of my journey to become a Trainee Train Driver. – James T. TrustPilot
…the assessment and interview sections in particular were invaluable in knowing what to expect so you can prepare accordingly. Well worth the investment. – Max A. TrustPilot
It was very informative and I found the tips for the practice tests extremely valuable. – Lorraine F. TrustPilot
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR CAREER PACK?
Complete guidance to ensure you pass the ENTIRE train driver recruitment process.
Where to look, and how to apply for the latest trainee train driver positions in the UK.
Insider advice on how to complete the application form, including sample questions and answers.
Previously successful application form responses that you can use to develop your own winning application!
Revealed – avoid the common pitfalls that most applicants make (75% of people fail the application stage – don’t be one of them!)
Discover exactly how you are assessed throughout the entire selection process (hint: understanding this will allow you to know exactly how the assessors want you to act at every stage).
A complete breakdown of the assessment centre and how you MUST prepare if you wish to succeed.
A detailed breakdown of the online SJT (situational judgement test) including practice questions and answers so you can fully prepare.
Train driver interview questions you should prepare for and guidance on how to answer them for the structured interview.
What the train driver interview panel are looking for from candidates and how to give it to them!
10 essential insider tips on how to pass the selection process with ease.
Practice 100s of Dots Concentration, Ability, Error Checking and Mechanical Comprehension tests.
Practice questions and answers for the manager’s interview – suitable for all UK train operating companies.
The importance of ensuring you meet the minimum eligibility requirements (and understanding the role of a trainee train driver – hint: you will need to demonstrate this).
Why becoming a train driver right now is a fantastic career choice.
The working hours, training and probationary period that you will undergo when you join.
Time-saving strategies and score-boosting methods verified by our panel of recruitment experts.
How you will be assessed during the medical test.
Get ahead of the competition and get the latest train driver insider advice today.
Suitable for ALL UK train operating companies.
150-Page Interview Skills Insider’s Guide
FOR A LIMITED PERIOD ONLY we are able to give you our powerful 150+ page ‘Interview Skills’ guide free of charge. It is the perfect guide to help you prepare for the tough train driver interviews!
- All of the most common (and not so common) interview questions you are likely to face broken down.
- Full and detailed answers to every question – ensure you always have the perfect answer!
- How to use the STAR method to come up with your own winning answers that match the experience, values, and skills the interview assessor is looking for.
- Created by interview panel experts and packed full of insider advice.
Important: This insider’s guide cannot be purchased individually anywhere else and is exclusively available as a limited-time bonus!
Worth £9.99, Yours FREE
PLUS…30-Day Free Subscription Trial To The Online Train Driver Assessment Centre Testing Platform!
As well as lifetime access to the train driver career resource, this product also includes a 30-day free trial to our Train Driver Assessment Centre Testing Platform (usually £9.99 + vat per month).
- 100s of Train Driver practice questions on each element of the assessment centre to help boost your scores;
- Practice all of the train driver test questions under timed conditions using our online testing suite;
- Instant online access;
- Compatible on mobiles, tablets and computers;
- Scores are tracked so you can focus on areas that need improvement.
Important: This powerful free trial costs £9.99 + vat every month for everyone else! You will get unrestricted access to all of the interactive online train driver questions to give you an advantage right away.
Worth £9.99 + vat, Yours FREE for 30-days*
*We want you to know: This is a subscription service that is charged at just £5.95 + vat per month after the 30-day trial expires. No minimum term. If you cancel before the 30-day trial ends, you will not be charged. Please see our terms for full details.
FREE ACCESS TO ONE TRAIN DRIVER RECRUITMENT WEBINAR WHEN YOU PURCHASE THE PLATINUM access!
- The ENTIRE train driver selection process revealed step-by-step;
- Live Webinar training from your home hosted by our train driver recruitment expert:
- Access practice resources so that you can prepare for all of the tests that you’ll face at your assessment centre;
- Proven interview training including how to tackle train driver interview questions and our winning template to form top-scoring answers;
- Get your questions answered by a train driver recruitment expert, who has years of experience in helping people, just like you, to become trainee train drivers!;
240-page How to Become a Train Driver Online Guide (Lifetime access)
65-page Train Driver Application Form Online Guide (Lifetime access)
49-minute Train Driver Application Form Coaching Video (Lifetime access)
190-page Train Driver SJT Online Workbook (Lifetime access)
250-page Train Driver Tests Online Workbook (Lifetime access)
155-page Train Driver Dots Concentration Tests Online Workbook (Lifetime access)
150-page Numerical Concentration Tests Online Workbook (Lifetime access)
60-page Train Driver Interview Questions & Answers Online Guide (Lifetime access)
55-minute Train Driver Interview Coaching Video (Lifetime access)
Coaching from a train driver selection process expert who will provide the latest recruitment techniques needed to pass the difficult selection process at your first attempt!
Your pass enables you to attend one Train Driver Recruitment Training Webinar within the next 12 months. (Sold separately for £97 + vat)
Plus exclusive Bonuses – including the latest insider recruitment information added regularly! (Lifetime access)
150-page Interview Skills Online Guide (Lifetime access)
30-Day Free Trial to the Train Driver Assessment Centre Testing Platform. Thereafter just £5.95 + vat per month (Monthly Service)
You don’t just get advice on what to do. We will show you exactly how to pass the train driver selection process.
Over 16 years’ of experience packed into on-demand insider recruitment guides that have helped 1,000s.
Includes unique train driver training content built from the ground up and not found anywhere else.
We don’t just share what you need to do, but also HOW you should do it with tips and strategies you can implement today!
These templates are worth the value of the resource themselves – we give you the exact foundations you can use to build your application and master the assessment stages!
Your 240-page guide to success.
Our best-selling guide in a compact, accessible, online format to hold your hand throughout the entire trainee train driver selection process.
Created By Experts. Made For You.
With over 16 years of history behind us, we are the leaders in train driver recruitment advice. So whether you want to understand the scoring criteria, learn what must go on your application form, recognise what not to say at the interview, or practice and pass the online tests, you can access it all at your finger tips, today.
Frequently asked questions
Simply put, this training works and is proven to help people like you to successfully become train drivers. With lifetime access to our train driver resources, you will not only benefit from our flagship 240-page Train Driver careers guide (which has sold 1,000s of copies) but you’ll also get access to a dynamic portal of content that we update frequently with all the very latest information, practice material, and strategies that are helping people across the UK become train drivers. With 1,000s of customers frequently thanking us for the career success we have helped them gain, and 16 years’ experience in providing recruitment and assessment centre training, you can rest assured knowing you are getting the best train driver training material on the market.
This resource is our flagship career guide, designed to help anyone looking to become a train driver conquer the gruelling selection process.
It is ideal for those just staring out at the application stage, who want an “over-the-shoulder” guide to passing each stage of the process.
If you have already begun the selection process, then you’ll be able to pick up this guide from the exact stage you are at and follow the step-by-step guidance to passing the assessment centre, structured interview, manager’s interview and more with confidence.
Whatever stage of the process you are at, you can be confident you’ll have all the strategies and tools you need to succeed.
Yes! With the Train Driver careers guide you will be able to access training that has been helping applicants successfully become train drivers for over a decade.
At How2Become.com we like to do things a little differently. Instead of just giving you access to guides which explain how the selection process works, and what you need to do to pass, we teach you HOW to do it also. For example, we don’t just provide you with sample interview questions, we provide winning sample responses and step-by-step guidance on how to create your own successful answers. Whether you are thinking about applying, or you are half way through the train driver selection process, this guide will ‘hold your hand’ step-by-step. Here is a full list of everything you will get within this resource.
You will get unlimited access to all of the content contained within our Gold and Platinum resources with no time restrictions! We understand that applying to become a trainee train driver can be a long and stressful experience, that is why we want to take away that worry – you will get access whenever you need, whether it’s just for a week, or for a year, you will have full access to the ‘How to Become a Trainee Train Driver’ guide whenever you need it. You will also get access to all future updates we make to this guide, ensuring you are getting the latest guidance.
When we launched How2Become.com we wanted to ensure our content would help as many people as possible no matter where they are, and we are achieving just that! We sell our resources to every country in the world, with 1000s of customers in the USA, UK, India, Australia, Africa and more! All of our content is either written or spoken in English, with the content designed to be as universal as possible unless otherwise stated. Our ‘How to Become a Train Driver’ guide is designed specifically for all UK train operating companies. Please note: services outside of the UK may have different selection processes. If you can’t see a guide you need in our huge catalogue, then just let us know and we will help if we can!
Whichever option you choose, you can be confident you are getting the latest and highest quality training to become a train driver. All packages contain our flagship 240-page train driver career guide, our train driver application guide and video walkthrough, SJT online workbook and the bonuses listed on this page.
The Gold package contains our full range of train driver testing workbooks, plus video coaching for the train driver interviews.
The Platinum package contains everything in Silver and Gold, but also includes a ticket to book onto one of our live Train Driver Selection Process Training webinars, run by our recruitment expert, to coach you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
As soon as your order is complete you will be able to access all of the guides, training resources, and view the on-demand videos via your How2Become account! You can use any smart phone, PC, Mac, or tablet to access your materials.
Yes, absolutely! We get 100s of testimonials and comments each month from those that have used our training, thanking us for the help it has given them.
Having created recruitment guides for the last 16 years, we know how often selection processes change. That is why we keep close ties to those “in the know” and we regularly update our content. You will get the latest and best strategies to enable you to become a train driver.
WHY BUY WITH HOW2BECOME?
CREATED BY THE EXPERTS
EXCLUSIVE FREE BONUSES
Firstly, these guides are created by us and our team of experts – we have all the answers to your questions and will help you succeed (like we’ve been doing for the last 16 years), we update our material frequently and you can contact us at any time with any questions you have.
Secondly, we provide exclusive bonuses with all our products that you won’t find anywhere else. These bonuses include free guides, powerful online testing suites and more!
Finally, our guides and training just work. Take a look at our TrustPilot page where you will see our rating of 4.9/5. There, our customers share their positive buying experiences and more importantly the time-saving success our resources have given them (hint: they are now trainee train drivers).
Learn how to BECOME A TRAINEE TRAIN DRIVER
We’ve helped 1,000s of aspiring applicants in their journey to becoming train drivers across the UK. Trust the UK’s #1 careers and education specialists to help you secure your role.Get instant access »
“Great resource and excellent information for interview preparation.” Sreenivasa P.
Train Driver Interview Guide
Want a dedicated Train driver interview insider’s workbook? Use this workbook’s templates to craft your own successful answers for both the structured interview and the manager’s interview.
Train Driver Tests Guide
Worried about the challenging train driver tests? This manual provides 100s of practice questions and fully worked solutions, all verified by our panel of train driver assessment experts. Get the assessment centre edge today.
Train Driver Recruitment Webinar
If you want the latest insider information delivered by our expert trainer, then you need to attend one of our exclusive live-streamed webinars. Get all of your trainee train driver selection process questions answered.
How2Become Ltd is not acting in conjunction with, or associated with, any third party organisation or OPC Assessment Ltd.