Train Driver

Train drivers are in charge of electrical or diesel locomotives that haul passenger or long and heavy goods trains. A train driver starts the locomotive and increases speed; watches the instruments, such as the speed, temperature and pressure gauges, in the locomotive; interprets signals, such as hand, flag, shunter and speed signals, along the line.

A train driver must keep a train under control and decrease the speed to stop the train.

A train driver’s assistant is responsible for assisting the train driver. The assistant helps the driver to prepare the train for a journey, start the train, and bring it to a halt. The assistant also carefully observes the signals, hand, flag and speed-limiting signs and alerts the driver to any problems.

The career of train driver is best suited to the person who does not like the daily routine of office work. Diesel loco drivers are responsible for driving a diesel locomotive for the purpose of transporting waste products, materials and components between the various work sections.

The drivers receive their instructions verbally by radio or according to a schedule. After each shift they submit a report on the work done. They are also responsible for keeping the diesel locomotive in good working order. All work is done efficiently, punctually and safely.

Personal Requirements

  • mature and disciplined
  • able to make decisions and act rapidly
  • reliable and responsible
  • physical fitness and stamina
  • excellent eyesight and good perception
  • able to concentrate for long hours
  • willing to work shifts

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: None

What to Study

Practical and theoretical training is offered by Spoornet:

Train driver’s assistants undergo 27 days of training. Candidates are examined after the training and must obtain an 80% pass mark before being appointed to their positions.

Train drivers have to work 4 years service as an assistant, then undergo an intensive 16-week theoretical course. Candidates are examined after the course and must again obtain an 80% pass mark before being appointed as train drivers.

Prospective candidates must undergo a selection procedure, be medically fit and be between 16 and 48 years old.



Getting Started

  • develop an interest in trains and travelling
  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work with Spoornet
  • speak to train drivers about this career and ask permission to watch them at work

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