A group of 69 trainee and newly-qualified train drivers were celebrated in an event at Fairfield Halls, East Croydon, last week.
The group of men and women are among the most recent recruits brought in to maintain the pool of employees who drive local trains for Southern Rail and Gatwick Express.
Some had recently finished their classroom training allowing them to go out in the cab with an instructor while others have completed their course and can now drive solo.
It takes 15 months of intensive training to become a fully qualified train driver. Training starts with six months in the classroom. Trainees then clock up 225 hours’ driving experience with an instructor before they take their final four-day initial competency assessment allowing them to go out on the tracks alone.
Southern and Gatwick Express Managing Director Angie Doll said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the hard work and achievement of both our trainees and their classroom trainers and driving instructors.
“Our drivers play a vital role for the local community where they live and quite often work. It’s also great to see more women join the industry as we continue to increase diversity among our people to better reflect the population of the areas we serve.”