Virgin Trains East Coast recruits new drivers for the first time in 30 years

Workers on the Virgin Trains East Coast line, which runs through Doncaster, are to stage a 24-hour strike next week in a row over jobs and conditions.
Workers on the Virgin Trains East Coast line, which runs through Doncaster, are to stage a 24-hour strike next week in a row over jobs and conditions.
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Leeds rail operator Virgin Trains East Coast is recruiting nearly 80 new drivers to man its state-of-the-art new rolling stock.

The long-distance franchise, which runs services between London and Scotland via Yorkshire on the East Coast Main Line, needs to boost its roster once the new Azuma trains arrive in 2018, increasing capacity on the line.

It is the first time drivers have been recruited externally since the route was in government hands back in the 1980s, with many recent trainees drawn from the company’s existing staff pool.

The 78 new drivers will earn £57,000 when qualified, and Leeds will be one of the five main bases for train crews.

Potential applicants must be over 21 and live within an hour of Leeds, Edinburgh, Doncaster, Newcastle or London King’s Cross, or be willing to relocate.

The influx will increase VTEC’s driver numbers - currently 346 - by a quarter, enabling a new timetable to run using the 65 new locomotives with more frequent services.

The operator is keen to reassure job seekers that no experience of the rail industry, such as in customer-facing roles, is necessary to apply.

Rail recruitment drives are hugely popular with the public - when operator ScotRail advertised 100 driving jobs last year, 22,000 people responded.

Clare Burles, VTEC’s director of people, said:

“It doesn’t matter if you have never worked in rail or if you haven’t even considered a career as a train driver before - we are looking for people who are not afraid to do things a little differently and want to be part of something innovative and rewarding.”

Applicants must complete a cover letter explaining why they want to be a train driver and why they want to work for the firm and email it to azuma.recruitment@virgintrainseastcoast.com by October 14.

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