Victoria

Regional rail trainee driver numbers hit record levels

transport railway crossing stock image

More than 100 trainee train drivers are hitting the rails as part of a huge recruitment drive to bolster regional rail services on the V/Line network, thanks to the Victorian Government.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne welcomed the latest batch of 10 new V/Line driver trainees, who will help deliver services for regional Victorians now and into the future.

The latest additions bring the total number of V/Line driver trainees to 108 – a record for the regional rail operator since its inception in 1983. This will enable V/Line to meet its future operational requirements and bring the total number of qualified drivers to about 415 by December 2019.

The regional rail network is undergoing an unprecedented transformation through record investment in the Regional Rail Revival, new VLocity carriages and more services than ever before.

To deliver these services, V/Line is bolstering its driver numbers through hiring new trainees and increasing Practical Driver Trainers, along with investing in new training facilities.

The current crop of recruits will help deliver extra Ballarat line services following the completion of the half-a-billion dollar Ballarat Line Upgrade, which is duplicating tracks, adding platforms and providing new train stabling.

Ensuring drivers are able to safely operate on the V/Line network takes considerable time and effort from the trainees and training department.

Trainees are required to undertake a combination of aptitude tests, interviews and psychometric assessments before starting. They then move into the classroom and learn the basics of operating regional trains using two simulators located at V/Line’s driver training facility in Docklands.

Driver training is delivered to meet the requirements of a Certificate IV in Train Driving, whilst also ensuring route familiarity and specific skills needed to operate fast trains up to 160kmh.

About 19.5 million passenger journeys were recorded on the V/Line rail network in 2017/18 – which was 1.5 million more compared to the 12 months prior. Passenger journeys across the V/Line train and coach network have increased 6.3 million or 47.7 per cent in the five years from June 2013 to June 2018.

Source: Vic Government