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How to become a train driver in Ireland

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  • 29-12-2008 4:20pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭


    Hi,
    I've had the sudden urge to become a train driver. .I've no idea how expensive it is or wat route to take can someone help?

    Sorry if they're basic questions, but I did have a look on some sites and couldnt find the answers...

    Regards

    Paul


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,463 ✭✭✭KTRIC


    Go down to the motortax office and fill out the application for your leaners permit. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,025 ✭✭✭Ham'nd'egger


    lynchiered wrote: »
    Hi,
    I've had the sudden urge to become a train driver. .I've no idea how expensive it is or wat route to take can someone help?

    Sorry if they're basic questions, but I did have a look on some sites and couldnt find the answers...

    Regards

    Paul

    Join Irish Rail or NIR and serve your time and maybe just maybe.....


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 23,208 Mod ✭✭✭✭godtabh


    Hamndegger wrote: »
    Join Irish Rail or NIR and serve your time and maybe just maybe.....

    And you might get it before retirment. Its very hard to get into as far as I know


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 621 ✭✭✭Nostradamus


    lynchiered wrote: »
    Hi,
    I've had the sudden urge to become a train driver. .I've no idea how expensive it is or wat route to take can someone help?

    Sorry if they're basic questions, but I did have a look on some sites and couldnt find the answers...

    Regards

    Paul

    Unfortunately Irish Rail/CIE unions have taken nepotism to astronomical degreees. Technically it is possible to join and become a train driver, but that's like saying anyone can become President of the USA. It's all about family, connections and bloodlines.

    Until 10 years ago just about every train driver in Ireland was from a cluster of families based in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Claremorris, Waterford and Athlone. This is how the ILDA strike was so devastating to railfreight - the "brothers" and I mean this literally in many cases were looking out for one another. They will claim to be socialists till they are blue in the face but in reality you are dealing with the same bloodline dynamics one comes across in royal families and big business. It's just as self serving too.

    Barring a family secret hidden in your DNA, ff you want to drive a train in Ireland this is your best hope:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000B6FIAK/shopping-vg-21/ref=nosim

    Sorry for being so negative but this is fact of the matter. Being a train driver in Ireland is some form of bloodrite handed from fathers to sons. They will claim it isn't and will cite recent DART and Arrow drivers who are not from train driving families but this is misleading as many of them were long term CIE employees anyways and many of them got their jobs via their family.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,476 ✭✭✭✭Our man in Havana


    You are better off going across the water and getting a job with some of the Train operating companies in the UK or on the London Underground. At least there you will get in on merit and not on who your father is.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭KC61


    You need to be a serving member of staff in Iarnród Éireann before you can apply to become a train driver. It really does not matter what role you are in beforehand, but unfortunately that's the way it is.

    As it is with the current cutbacks I can't see too many vacancies arising in the near future in the organisation.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    Join the Cavan & Leitrim Railway at Dromod - they will let anyone drive their trains - that's if any of them are still operational!:D:D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,219 ✭✭✭invincibleirish


    Is IR really that nepotistic or are you guys blowing it out of proportion?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    it was always so I believe. You could not get a job as an engine cleaner with the GWR in England (for instance) unless you could show management SOME family link...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,025 ✭✭✭Ham'nd'egger


    corktina wrote: »
    it was always so I believe. You could not get a job as an engine cleaner with the GWR in England (for instance) unless you could show management SOME family link...

    It was but in all honesty what industry wasn't likewise throughout the years? Every trade had a certain about of nepotism in it's midst over the years so it follow that the railways was no exception.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    absolutely...son used to follow father..quite a commonsense arrangenment


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,025 ✭✭✭Ham'nd'egger


    corktina wrote: »
    absolutely...son used to follow father..quite a commonsense arrangenment

    Another thought that springs to mind is that the broadcast media was non existent in older days so people didn't have recruitment agencies, Fridays ads in the Times or loadajob.ie to look up for work. Generally, blue collar vacancies would be filled on nod and wink or word of mouth basis so as such jobs would tend to stay in family lines.

    Apprentices in all manner of trades would also have assurance fees paid to secure their places in many trade jobs to tie the guys down until they were trained up. As young 14 year olds leaving school wouldn't have such money, it usually meant that family members would be called on to foot the bills; I know that it did happen in CIE even up until the mid 1950's.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I'm in the same boat as you. I've been trying to do it for over two years with no success - I'm not from a family with a railway background. IÉ only recruit drivers internally so you need to get in there doing something else first. They've also had a recruitment ban for the last few years so I don't think they'll be opening up any time soon. Might need to go abroad to fulfill my dream. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,312 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    I can understand someone deciding "I want to become a doctor to heal people" or "I want to become a block layer so people can have somewhere to live". I don't quite have the same understanding of someone wanting to become a train driver.*

    Ford in Cork had a policy that they would employ one child of an existing employee, but only one. When they eventually closed, I imagine it saved a few families from complete devastation.


    * Sure, you can say "I want to become a train driver to get people to work" but it doesn't ahve the same ring to it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 495 ✭✭HydeRoad


    I suppose you could apply to be a tram driver on the LUAS, not the same thing, I know, but all I heard from people working in there are that the conditions are terrible, rotten shift patterns, drivers working over tired, and what appears to be a policy on principle to treat staff badly.

    It's like two opposite ends of the worst extremes, the worst elements of a heavily unionised workforce in IR, and the worst elements of greedy privatisation on the LUAS. There seems to be no employment in transport that falls somewhere between these two extremes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭lynchiered


    Karsini wrote: »
    I'm in the same boat as you. I've been trying to do it for over two years with no success - I'm not from a family with a railway background. IÉ only recruit drivers internally so you need to get in there doing something else first. They've also had a recruitment ban for the last few years so I don't think they'll be opening up any time soon. Might need to go abroad to fulfill my dream. :(

    thanks for the reply Karsini, are you currently employed by Irish Rail?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,893 ✭✭✭Terrontress


    Karsini wrote: »
    I'm in the same boat as you. I've been trying to do it for over two years with no success - I'm not from a family with a railway background. IÉ only recruit drivers internally so you need to get in there doing something else first. They've also had a recruitment ban for the last few years so I don't think they'll be opening up any time soon. Might need to go abroad to fulfill my dream. :(

    Going abroad, you'd have access to railways with thousands more kilometres of route network and most likely faster, better trains. If it is a dream of yours, you'd be better to head away.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 621 ✭✭✭Nostradamus


    I have a friend in Germany who like yourself wanted to learn how to drive trains and now drives S-Bahns in and around Stuttgart. From what he told me overthere you simply apply for a course and if you pass you will be hired. He was a carpenter before he was a train driver. So it is possible to just become a train driver in other countries without having the pure CIE blood flowing through your veins. You could email DB and ask.

    CIE rail unions are only interested in genetic purity and consanguinity. That's not hyperbole or trolling - that is an absolute fact and they make no bones about it.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 23,208 Mod ✭✭✭✭godtabh


    Victor wrote: »

    I don't quite have the same understanding of someone wanting to become a train driver.*

    Some people just want to do a job they like or are interested in. Every one has there own reasons


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    HydeRoad wrote: »
    I suppose you could apply to be a tram driver on the LUAS, not the same thing, I know, but all I heard from people working in there are that the conditions are terrible, rotten shift patterns, drivers working over tired, and what appears to be a policy on principle to treat staff badly.

    It's like two opposite ends of the worst extremes, the worst elements of a heavily unionised workforce in IR, and the worst elements of greedy privatisation on the LUAS. There seems to be no employment in transport that falls somewhere between these two extremes.
    Yes I heard the same. You also need a driving licence because you're in contact with public roads.
    lynchiered wrote: »
    thanks for the reply Karsini, are you currently employed by Irish Rail?
    No I'm not, that's the problem. If I were in there already I would have been able to apply for a driver position. I know two people in IE though, one a driver and the other a lineside electrician.

    I've been thinking about it for about 12 years but really only seriously looked into it about three years ago.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,476 ✭✭✭✭Our man in Havana


    You are best looking in the UK tbh. Loads of TOC's to choose from.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,396 ✭✭✭✭road_high


    How typically Irish. Reserve the "cushy numbers" for your "own". Regardless of ability or competence. Happens a lot in private companies here I might add.


  • Site Banned Posts: 5,904 ✭✭✭parsi


    mfitzy wrote: »
    How typically Irish. Reserve the "cushy numbers" for your "own". Regardless of ability or competence. Happens a lot in private companies here I might add.

    Historically these were far from being cushy jobs unless you consider starting at 14 in a job where you cleaned steam engines and emptied their smokeboxes and ashpans to be cushy.

    Maybe you consider shovelling a fortune of coal into a firebox on a rattling draughty engine and overnighting in a flea-ridden dormitory to be cushy ?

    Like the mines the railways were full of family - times were tough and may as well hire on folk who already felt obliged to the job.

    It's only now that they've got 201s with their warm draughtproof cabs, strongly regulated hours and decent pay that folk see the job as cushy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,396 ✭✭✭✭road_high


    parsi wrote: »
    Historically these were far from being cushy jobs unless you consider starting at 14 in a job where you cleaned steam engines and emptied their smokeboxes and ashpans to be cushy.

    Maybe you consider shovelling a fortune of coal into a firebox on a rattling draughty engine and overnighting in a flea-ridden dormitory to be cushy ?

    Like the mines the railways were full of family - times were tough and may as well hire on folk who already felt obliged to the job.

    It's only now that they've got 201s with their warm draughtproof cabs, strongly regulated hours and decent pay that folk see the job as cushy.


    No but we are reffering here to 2008 and the OP was wondering how he might get into CIE as a driver today, not back in the Victoraian era.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,018 ✭✭✭✭murphaph


    parsi wrote: »
    Historically these were far from being cushy jobs unless you consider starting at 14 in a job where you cleaned steam engines and emptied their smokeboxes and ashpans to be cushy.

    Maybe you consider shovelling a fortune of coal into a firebox on a rattling draughty engine and overnighting in a flea-ridden dormitory to be cushy ?

    Like the mines the railways were full of family - times were tough and may as well hire on folk who already felt obliged to the job.

    It's only now that they've got 201s with their warm draughtproof cabs, strongly regulated hours and decent pay that folk see the job as cushy.
    Even in the days of steam, being a train driver was considered a good job. It's all relative-everyone had 'tough' jobs back then and most house were also flea-ridden with communal or outside toilets etc.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    it most certainly wasnt cushy back then and is in nowhere near a cinch now. Theres a great deal of responsibility and ever-tightening schedules to maintain, plus the possibility of a suicide or other unpleasant occurence not to mention the extremely unsocial hours and shift work.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 689 ✭✭✭alpha2zulu


    Theres a great deal of responsibility and ever-tightening schedules to maintain, plus the possibility of a suicide or other unpleasant occurence not to mention the extremely unsocial hours and shift work.

    Completely agree with you regarding the responsibility of the job, a full intercity could potentially be carrying more people than a full 747 .However on intercity journeys at least theres a great chunk of slack built into timetables so that IE are more likely to hit their passenger charter punctuality figures. Most intercity journeys are now slower than they were 15 years ago.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,046 ✭✭✭Vic_08


    murphaph wrote: »
    Even in the days of steam, being a train driver was considered a good job. It's all relative-everyone had 'tough' jobs back then and most house were also flea-ridden with communal or outside toilets etc.

    Considering that it would take 15-20 years of extremely tough work as an engine cleaner and fireman to rise through the ranks to become a driver it was not in any way a cushy number. It was often the case that firemen were only promoted to drivers when they were physically unable to put in a day at the firebox.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    alpha2zulu wrote: »
    Completely agree with you regarding the responsibility of the job, a full intercity could potentially be carrying more people than a full 747 .However on intercity journeys at least theres a great chunk of slack built into timetables so that IE are more likely to hit their passenger charter punctuality figures. Most intercity journeys are now slower than they were 15 years ago.

    isnt that slack in the schedule in connection with the work on widening the line in Kildare? I think a speed up is promised when this is finished.


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  • Site Banned Posts: 5,904 ✭✭✭parsi


    murphaph wrote: »
    Even in the days of steam, being a train driver was considered a good job. It's all relative-everyone had 'tough' jobs back then and most house were also flea-ridden with communal or outside toilets etc.

    Yes. Being a driver would be considered to be a fairly ok job. However the 20-odd years of back-breaking toil that came beforebecome a driver wasn't a good job.

    The cushy jobs were in the clerical side of the house.


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