New Driver Training

From Street to Seat in around 26 weeks

The Rail Academy is a specialist train driver training provider and part of SLC Operations – a licensed rail operator and an ORR approved Train Driver Training and Examination Centre.   All our train driver training activities are fully compliant with the Train Driver Licensing and Certification Regulations 2010 (TDLCR 2010).

It has been estimated over the next few years there will be a requirement for at least 2,000 new train drivers in the UK.  This number is fuelled in part by the need to replace the many drivers reaching retirement age;  but also to meet demand from new railways such as HS2; and support vast driver training programs resulting from infrastructure projects and new rolling stock introduction.

With a growing team of qualified, experienced experienced Train Drivers and A1 qualified Train Driver Instructors, we can:

  • Train groups of up to 8 competent driver trainees, using a client’s own validated course, from street to seat in around 26 weeks (250 in seat driving hours);
  • Help deliver established new driver training activities and programs;
  • Train new train drivers in Part A, including practical elements, and sponsor their licence applications.  This can be done at our Kings Norton Academy or on a client’s site;  
  • Supervise Part B new driver hours accumulation, instruction and assessment using rolling stock provided by clients or procured by us;
  • Provide DIs and mentor drivers to support in house Part B new driver training;
  • Conduct RBTNAs, work with in house training teams and local union reps.

If you need a trusted and experienced train driver training partner, contact us at and tell us what you need.  We will work with you to find the right solution for you.

To become a fully qualified train driver, you must:

  • 1. Meet all the necessary selection criteria.
  • 2. Be employed by a rail operator
  • 3. Hold a Train Driving Licence issued by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR), having first completed the necessary general professional training.
  • 4. Be issued with a Complementary Certificate. This is issued by a licenced train operator when one of their drivers has been trained and assessed as competent on specific traction (type or class of train) and routes.
  • 5. Successfully complete a required number of driving hours in service, but under instruction, as a trainee driver. The number of hours needed varies by industry sector and generally ranges from around 90 to 270 hours.

A trainee driver, working full time for a rail operator, could expect to complete this whole process in around 18 months.

The Rail Academy – with a focussed approach – can significantly shorten this time period without sacrificing standards, learning or instruction in any way.  In most cases we would expect to train a new driver from street to seat in around 26 weeks.

Our Credentials

The Rail Academy is a division of SLC Operations.  We are:

  • A licensed train operator with a non-passenger licence awarded by the ORR.  We can run trains anywhere in the UK.
  • We have been recognised by ORR and registered as an approved Train Driver Training and Examination Centre, compliant with the TDLCRs 2010.
  • Approved by National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) to deliver End Point Assessments for Train Driver Apprentices.

Specialist Driver Recruitment and Selection

Through our partnership with Ford & Stanley, one of the UK’s leading technical recruitment and placement agencies, we can filter and recruit candidates to your requirements.