The Anonymous Widower

A College For Train Drivers

One of the successes of Crossrail has been TUCA or the Tunneling And Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which I wrote about in Open House – TUCA, after my visit in 2012.

Since then a couple of other specialist colleges have opened to deal with other skill shortages in the rail industry.

So now another college is to open that will train drivers, replacing the rather ad-hoc system that currently operates.

It is reported in this article in the Daily Mail. They summarise the plan as follows.


  • National academy will establish an apprenticeship providing train driving skills
  • It is hoped the move will create more recruits to lower reliance on overtime
  • Rail services have been hit by industrial action, leading to staff shortages
  • Transport Secretary Chris Grayling could announce the plans next week


The Times also has details and their article says.

  • The college will establish an apprenticeship to A-level standard.
  • There will be classroom-based courses using simulators.
  • Hopefully, it will cut train delays, as according to the Office of Rail Regulation, crew shortages are responsible foe one-in-ten train delays.
  • Chris Gibb’s enquiry into the problems at Southern, called for a driver recruitment program to reduce reliance on overtime.
  • The academy will be led by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and the Institute of Rail Operators, the professional body.
  • Funding will be from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
  • It is supported by the union; ASLEF.

It certainly sounds like a well-thought out plan, that should have happened some years ago.

A steady supply of well-trained drivers, might mean that certain train companies would change their method of working, to improve and increase services.


If you look at the Victoria Line on the London Underground, method of working called stepping-up is used.

The driver of a train arriving at Brixton or Walthamstow Central stations doesn’t change ends, as they would do on many commuter lines. Another driver gets into the other cab and drives the train to the other terminus, when everything is ready.

The first driver, then walks to the other end of the platform, takes a break and then gets ready to step-up for their next scheduled journey across London.

The process obviously works well, but it does mean that you need more drivers than trains.

Some of the intensive services proposed by new train operating companies will probably need more services will be operated in this or some similar way, which will mean more drivers.

Two Drivers On A Train

In Would It Be Better To Run Some Suburban Trains With Two Drivers?, I’ll admit I was speculating, but I did have an e-mail from a driver, who said it would certainly increase services on the route they worked, without needing any more trains.


I can’t see any drawback to this College for Train Drivers.


October 1, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | ,

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