Driver Training

Train New Drivers from Street to Seat in around 26 weeks

The Rail Academy is a specialist train driver training provider.  Through our exclusive partnership with Rail Adventure UK Ltd (previously known as SLC Operations Ltd) – a licensed rail operator and an ORR approved Train Driver Training and Examination Centre – we can arrange training and assessment in all aspects of Train Driving, including Rules, Practical Handling, Traction and Routes.   All our instructors are experienced, current holders of a ETDL and all 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);
  • Provide instructors to 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 (ETDL).
  • 4. Be issued with a Complementary Certificate. This is issued by a licensed 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.

Exclusive Industry Partnerships

The Rail Academy has exclusive training partnerships with Sable Leigh Consultancy (SLC) and Rail Adventure UK Ltd (formerly SLC Operations).  Through these partnerships, The Rail Academy can deliver: 

  • End Point Assessments for Train Driver Apprentices
  • Train and Assess drivers in all aspects of rules, practical handling, traction and routes
  • Train, assess and sponsor new drivers to achieve their ETDL
  • Hire driver instructors to support in house training teams and driver training programs
  • Mentor and assess newly licensed drivers through their mileage accumulation