Train conductor

Train guard, train crew

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Train conductors issue tickets to rail passengers and make sure that their journeys are safe and comfortable.

Salary range: £12,000 to £28,000

How to become a train conductor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course like a Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service, which would teach you some of the general skills you need. This may help when you apply for jobs.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this career by completing a passenger transport onboard station team member intermediate apprenticeship with a train operating company.

You could also do an intermediate apprenticeship in rail passenger services.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You may be able to move into this job after first working as a member of the platform or ticketing staff at a train station.

Direct application

There are no set entry qualifications if you want to apply directly to train operating companies, although employers will expect you to have a good standard of English and maths.

If selected for interview, companies will usually test you on your maths, communication, and customer service skills.

More information

Career tips

Experience of working with the public in retail or customer service could give you an advantage. It will also help if you have good knowledge of UK geography and the rail network. 

Further information

You can find out more about jobs in passenger transport from Careers That Move.

You’ll find train operating companies through the Rail Delivery Group.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • pass a medical check
  • be screened for drugs and alcohol

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • checking the carriages are clean before the start of a journey
  • making sure equipment, doors and controls are working properly
  • walking through carriages during the journey, checking tickets and travel documents
  • answering passengers’ questions about routes, arrival times and connections
  • making announcements over the public address system
  • making sure passengers get on and off the train safely
  • dealing with unexpected delays or emergencies, for example a passenger falling ill

Working environment

You could work on a station platform or from a vehicle.

Your working environment may be crowded, cramped and outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

TOCs often promote existing station staff to conductor jobs, so you may be able to transfer from a platform assistant or onboard catering host role.

With experience, you may be able to progress to senior conductor or train manager, or transfer to a driver training programme.

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