The first cohort of newly trained drivers under Transport for Wales say they are excited to be joining the start of a 15 year journey.
The first eight drivers to pass out are now busy delivering some of the 1,000 plus daily services run by Transport for Wales.
Six will be based on the valleys network whilst the remaining two will be stationed in Carmarthen.
The group have gone through a rigorous training process lasting nearly a year to achieve their dreams of becoming drivers.
Amongst the group was Alex Payne, a mum of one, who joined the railway 11 years ago after she had worked as a travel agent.
“We’re all very proud of the effort we’ve put in and what we’ve achieved getting here,” said Alex, 44
“The training was great but it was like going back to school!”
Whilst the group did the bulk of their learning on older trains including Pacer and Sprinter class units, they say they are excited to be joining at the start of a 15 year project which will include the electrification of the Valley lines and the creation of a South Wales Metro.
“It’s brilliant to be here right at the start of this,” said 29-year-old Tom Smith, a former NHS worker and firefighter.
“The training and support we’ve had from our managers is fantastic and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
This year will see Transport for Wales increase Sunday services significantly, on top of the introduction of 215 new services every week connecting north Wales and Cheshire with Liverpool.
While driver vacancies are often at a premium, the recruits come from varied backgrounds, some with previous railway experience and some without.
Alan Walton joined as a Conductor 11-years ago after a career in the prison service. He stepped up to Conductor Manager, before achieving his dream of driving. He said: “I’m really excited to be getting started and I can’t wait to see the brand new trains in future.
Transport for Wales has a number of exciting and varied career opportunities coming up in the near future.