How much does a train driver earn? All you need to know about how to become a train driver
As rail strikes across the UK affect commuters and travellers in various areas, careers in train driving are now gathering interest for many people. In fact, according to data from comparison site JohnSlots, train driver is the most Googled job in Scotland at the moment, making up 44% of searches.
Rail workers are currently striking in protest over job cuts and low pay. Nonetheless, some people are still clearly interested in the career for themselves. Here’s how much a train driver earns and how you can get started in the field.
How much does a train driver earn in Scotland?
According to Glassdoor, train drivers for ScotRail can earn £53,386 base pay on average. The site also reports a £3,913 average Cash Bonus.
This is more than double Scotland’s average salary of £26,007, according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings data from 2021.
Train drivers will typically work between 35 and 40 hours a week, but this can include evenings, weekends, and bank holidays, depending on your schedule and contract. Depending on which rail network you work for, travel across the country may also be a common part of the role.
How to become a train driver
According to the National Careers Service, a career as a train driver would be well suited to someone who has:
- Concentration skills
- Strong attention to detail
- Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- The ability to operate and control equipment
- Knowledge of public safety and security
- Observation and recording skills
- The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- The ability to work well with others and on your own
- To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Applicants must also be over 20 years of age, live within one hour's travel of the depot you're applying to, pass enhanced background checks, and pass a medical check.
You'll also usually need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, in English and maths.
If you tick all of these boxes, the first step is to check for vacancies at your local depot. For most people in Scotland, your best bet will likely be ScotRail. You can find their vacancies here.
Many network companies offer apprenticeships where you can earn while you learn, if you haven’t had train driving education or training. These apprenticeships will usually feed into a professional role after you’ve completed the training. If you have had training already, you can apply directly for any vacancies that fit your background and experience.
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