SCOTRAIL has hailed the “extraordinary” number of people who want to drive its trains, as it revealed that 22,135 had applied for the 100 jobs available.
The final figure came two weeks after the train operator launched its recruitment campaign for an “unprecedented” number of extra drivers two weeks ago.
Those recruited will have a starting salary of £24,559, which will increase to £43,212 following a probationary period.
Attributes required include “excellent attention spans”.
The number of applications per job is twice that of two years ago, when more than 2,000 people applied for one of 18 driver posts based at Tweedbank for the Borders Railway, which opened last month.
ScotRail client and communications director Rob Shorthouse said of the latest figure: “This is an extraordinary number of applicants.
“It is not just a sign that people want to work for us – it is a clear statement that thousands of people want to be a part of the transformation of our railway in the next few years.
“We obviously have a big job on our hands to work through all of these applications.
“That work is well under way and we will be contacting successful applicants in the coming weeks.”
ScotRail needs to increase the 1,149 drivers among its 5,000-strong workforce so it can run more trains to cope with rising passenger demand.
Total annual journeys are expected to increase from 91 million to 139m by 2025.
The new drivers will also be needed for two fleets of trains.
Seventy electric trains, built by Japanese bullet-train maker Hitachi, will run on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow route and others across the Central Belt and in Glasgow from 2017.
A second fleet of 27 refurbished ex-InterCity 125 “high speed trains” will serve longer-distance routes between Scotland’s cities from 2018.
Aslef, the main train drivers’ union, was delighted at the scale of the response, which was more than double its expectations.
Scotland district secretary Kevin Lindsay said: “Being a train driver is a career that many clearly aspire to, but over 22,000 applications is incredible.
“I hope the successful candidates are reflective of the wide cultural background which modern Scotland is.”