Virgin Trains recruiting £57,000 drivers for east coast line

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson unveils the Azuma at King's Cross Station in London in March. Picture: Mikael Buck/Virgin Trains
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson unveils the Azuma at King's Cross Station in London in March. Picture: Mikael Buck/Virgin Trains
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Nearly 80 trainees are being sought to drive Britain’s newest express trains, Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec) announced today.

The 78 drivers will earn more than £57,000 when qualified.

They are required for the operator’s new Azuma fleet, which is to run between Scotland and London from 2018.

Virgin said a “significant” number would be based in Scotland, with Edinburgh one of five recruiting centres.

It will be the first time new drivers have been recruited for the route since before British Rail was privatised in the 1980s.

The influx will increase driver total of 346 at Vtec - which is 90 per cent Stagecoach owned - by nearly a quarter.

They are needed because the fleet of 65 new trains will operate more frequent services between King’s Cross and Edinburgh, some of which run on to and from Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow.

A flood of applications is likely after ScotRail was inundated with an “unprecedented” 22,000 responses when it advertised 100 jobs last autumn.

Train drivers’ union Aslef said qualified Vtec drivers earned £56,967.

This is expected to increase to more than £58,000 if a 2.33 per cent pay increase is agreed.

An Aslef spokesman said: “We welcome the fact that East Coast is finally recruiting and training their own drivers - for the first time since privatisation.”

Budding drivers must be over 21 and have until next Friday to apply.

Vtec People director Clare Burles said: “It doesn’t matter if you have never worked in rail or if you haven’t even considered a career as a train driver before - we are looking for people who are not afraid to do things a little differently and want to be part of something innovative and rewarding.”