Train Driver Kaitaraiwa Rerewhenua

Train drivers drive passenger or freight trains to destinations. They may also shift (shunt) carriages and wagons using trains or remote controls.

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Train drivers may do some or all the following:

  • drive trains, either in cabs or with remote controls
  • keep to schedules, and stop at stations to pick up or drop off passengers
  • link and unlink carriages and wagons
  • drive a locomotive (train engine) or use remote controls to shunt (push or pull) carriages and wagons to make up new trains
  • check locomotives
  • read about maintenance work happening on the tracks they drive on, and any rule changes
  • operate points (levers that switch tracks)
  • communicate with train control, other drivers and shunters, and passengers
  • prepare documents about wagon loads
  • act promptly and comply with safety rules during emergencies or breakdowns
  • identify and fix or report faults with their equipment.

Physical Requirements

Train drivers need to have:

  • good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses)
  • accurate colour vision to correctly recognise signals and other instructions
  • good reflexes
  • excellent fitness and health, and good strength as they need to lift train parts that can weigh up to 25 kilograms.

They also need to be comfortable working in confined spaces.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for train drivers includes:

  • physical work in a setting where safety is important
  • work in a shunting yard or other train-related work
  • mechanical or engineering work.

Personal Qualities

Train drivers need to be:

  • safety-conscious
  • able to stay alert for long periods while working alone
  • punctual
  • able to think ahead and anticipate problems
  • able to stay calm under pressure and in emergencies
  • good communicators, in person and by radio.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for train drivers includes:

  • physical work in a setting where safety is important
  • work in a shunting yard or other train-related work
  • mechanical or engineering work.

Subject Recommendations

No specific secondary education is required for this job but maths, English, and construction and mechanical technologies to at least NCEA Level 2 is useful. 

For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to to gain industry experience. This programme may help you gain a job but doesn't reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your training. 

Train Drivers can earn around $23-$36 per hour per year.

Experienced train drivers may move into managerial or training roles. They may also progress to become station managers or train controllers.

Train Driver

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