Trainee Train Driver

United Kingdom
Full time
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Southeastern Railway
Transport, shipping & logistics
1,001-5,000 employees
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Job Introduction

Looking for a career that can take you places? Become a Southeastern Train Driver.

  • Imagine the pride you’ll feel when your focus and problem-solving get hundreds of passengers safely to their destination.
  • Our training will take you from trainee to Train Driver in 12-18 months and give you a nationally-recognised qualification.
  • Enjoy a career that comes with great pay and benefits, a real sense of ownership, and where every shift is a chance to make a difference.

Can you move people? Apply now.

What you’ll do

Get passengers to their destination, keeping them safe and informed about their journey. It takes concentration and good decision-making, and means being at ease working on your own as you’ll spend much of your time alone in the cabin of the train.

Your training

  • As a trainee Train Driver, you’ll be enrolled into our Driver Apprenticeship Programme.
  • You’ll complete a mix of classroom days, modular assessments and practical training with a driving instructor.
  • This will teach you everything from safety procedures to signalling regulations and braking techniques.
  • It usually takes 12–18 months to become qualified.

Your shifts

  • Rosters vary but are based over a 35-hour week. You will normally work one week of early shifts followed by one week of late shifts.
  • Our railway operates 24-hours, so shifts can start as early as 00:01 and end at almost any time of day or night.
  • As a driver your maximum shift length will be 9 hours 15 minutes and the minimum shift length is 5 hours 30 minutes.

The experience you’ll need

You don’t need railway experience to do this role. We’re looking for people from all backgrounds to join our team.

All you need is:

  • a passion for making every passenger journey the best it can be
  • excellent concentration and communication skills
  • the ability to be proactive in solving problems
  • a desire to learn and a respect for rules and regulations
  • the ability to apply your training and make good decisions
  • to be punctual and reliable.

However, we can only consider you for the role if you:

  • are 20 years or older, as train driving is a safety critical role
  • live within a 40-minute drive of your chosen Kent/East Sussex depot
  • Or 20-minutes by public transport (not car or motorbike) from our London Victoria or London Charing Cross depots
  • We do not accept applications from candidates for our Kent depot's who are north of the river at this time

We have depots located at Ashford, Charing Cross, Dartford, Dover, Faversham, Gillingham, Grove Park, Hastings, Orpington, Ramsgate, Slade Green, Tonbridge and Victoria.

As proud members of the Armed Forces Covenant and Disability Confident Scheme, we will offer you an interview if you apply under these schemes and meet the minimum criteria for the role. Find out more here.

What you’ll get in return

We offer a generous salary (plus regional allowance where applicable) which rises in increments throughout your journey to becoming a Qualified Train Driver.

The starting salary for the role is £24,048, which rises to £29,466 once you have passed the rules and regulations section of the training (approximately 3 months from joining).

Once you have been signed off as competent by your Driver Manager, have performed your first driving duty and completed your apprenticeship, your salary increases to £46,985 (approximately 12 months from joining).

Finally, once you have been qualified in the role for 12 months your salary will increase to £54,575.

Along with your salary, the rewards you’ll get include:

  • a final salary pension
  • 28 days annual leave allowance (including bank holidays)
  • free rail travel across our networks.

Meaning you can feel secure in your career as well as fulfilled by your work. Click here to see our full range of amazing benefits.

A bit about Southeastern

We’re one of Britain's busiest train operators, serving London, Kent and parts of East Sussex. We run over 1,700 trains a day, carrying more than 400,000 passengers and serving 180 stations.

However, working on our railway is more than getting passengers from A to B. It’s about all the little moments that make a difference to their journey.

It’s also about making our railway a great place to work. With a team that represents the communities we serve. This is a journey we’re fully committed to and we’re proud to have been named a ‘Great Place to Work’ at the 2023 National Rail Awards and endorsed as a WORK180 Employer for Women.


Learn more about our railway and what we achieved in 2023.

Other things to know

  • This vacancy may close early if we receive a large number of applications. So, make sure you get yours in early.
  • All offers of employment are subject to satisfactory references, a right to work verification, a basic criminal record check, and a pre-employment medical assessment. Work visa sponsorship isn’t available for this role.
  • If you applied but weren’t successful in getting a similar role at Southeastern, please wait six months before applying again.

Find out more about our recruitment process and get tips to help you apply.

SE Trains Limited