Virgin East Coast to recruit 78 new drivers

Want to drive one of the new Virgin Azuma trains?

Virgin Trains has begun the largest single recruitment programme for drivers on the East Coast route since the 1980s, challenging people who may not have previously considered becoming a train driver to think about whether they’ve got what it takes to take on this exciting and rewarding career.

The initiative coincides with the arrival of its new fleet of Azuma trains that are set to revolutionise travel, providing an extra 12,200 seats, a new and expanded timetable with increased capacity into Kings Cross by 28% during peak times.

When it launches in 2018, the Azuma, built in the UK by Hitachi, will be one of the most advanced trains on the UK’s rail network and Virgin Trains needs 78 drivers to operate the 65-strong fleet.

Recruitment needs to begin now to allow for a year-long development programme before becoming fully-qualified trainee train drivers.

Over the course of the year trainees will take part in a mix of classroom-based and ‘on the job’ learning at different locations on the east coast route. Modules range from track safety, understanding operational route risks and emergency situations to getting to know the traction they will be driving.

New recruits also go through rigorous immersive practical learning including driving Virgin Trains’ state of the art simulator in order to familiarise themselves with the cab and build train handling experience.

Clare Burles, People Director at Virgin Trains East Coast, said: “We’re getting ready for some really exciting changes and as part of that we want to challenge people’s perceptions of rail and shake up just what it means to travel in the UK.

“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.

“As a train driver with us, you’ll not only get fantastic benefits and career development but also spectacular views of the iconic intercity east coast route from a very unique working environment – how many jobs can offer you that?”

If you are interested, you must be over 21, and benefits will include free travel with Virgin Trains and discounted with other operators, a competitive salary, final salary pension, 30 days holiday, and other Virgin Group benefits.

To apply go to:




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