How to become a train driver in Poland? Office of Rail Transport publishes a new handbook


'How to become a train driver? A guide for candidates for the profession' is a must for those who dream of driving trains. The Office of Rail Transport published a guidebook which reveals the secrets of a train driver’s job.

If you know who Leon Miastowski was, have been gluing model locomotives since you were a child, and know the history of the Warsaw-Vienna Railway by heart, it is safe to assume that a job as a train driver is probably in your future. But if you have just heard the name of the first Polish train driver or are totally indifferent to the beauties like Belle Hélène steam locomotive – you can also become an excellent train driver! The Office of Rail Transport has prepared a little something for everyone who links their future to the railways.

Christmas gift for future railwaymen

As a candidate for a train driver, you do not need to have a railway tradition in the family. However, an interest in the railway world can be helpful. It will be easier for you to understand the industry vocabulary, to add to the knowledge you probably already have. But it is not a prerequisite! The Office of Rail Transport explains this in its new handbook 'How to become a train driver? A guide for candidates for the profession'.

The guide can be found in an electronic version on our website. A printed version, in will be available at the Examination and Monitoring Centre for Train Drivers in Warsaw (CEMM) and at the headquarters and branches of the Office of Rail Transport. We will also send the copies to secondary schools and training centres for train driver candidates.

We are committed to provide an excellent training for future train drivers. A good training and thorough verification of acquired knowledge and skills is a guarantee of safe railways. And rail safety is always a priority for us – says Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport. – That's why we've been asking for system changes and the introduction of state exams, which are a guarantee of standardisation and impartiality. This has already happened. As of this year, the exams for the licence and the first train driver's certificate are state exams, held at CEMM – he adds.

Train driving licence and certificate

'How to become a train driver?' is a ready-made recipe for acquiring a train driving licence. Aa a candidate train driver you will find here information about the requirements to be met and the necessary formalities. The publication also contains some useful documents that are worth knowing.

First of all, a future train driver must have the right psycho-physical qualities and no major health problems. Not everyone is aware that the job of a train driver is demanding and responsible. It is certainly stressful. It requires very good concentration skills. A train driver can drive a variety of railway vehicles, and each has its own characteristics, different handling and driving. If you like a job which is challenging, you won't be disappointed.

There are two documents required if you want to drive trains – train driver's licence and certificate. In order to obtain these, you must first pass the train driver's licence exam. The exam is a state exam conducted by CEMM. The training for the exam involves almost 300 hours of theoretical instruction, during which a future train driver learns the most important aspects of the job (legal and technical regulations, railway signalling, etc.). In some cases, the training can be omitted – these situations are also described in our handbook. The exam for the train driving licence is in the form of a test – one hundred single-choice questions.

Once you pass the exam and receive your train driver's licence, it is time for stage two – training and exam for the train driver's certificate. Training for the train driver's certificate is considerably longer than for the licence - it can take several months. Unlike training for a licence, it is largely practical and adapted to the type of railway vehicle the candidate driver will operate in the future.

The completed training allows you to take the final step - enrolling for the exams. The examination for the train driver's certificate consists of two parts - theoretical and practical. One of the requirements of the theoretical part is to perform several tasks on a rail vehicle simulator.

CEMM – a novelty in Europe

In our new guide we also take a closer look at the very place where the examinations for the licence, and soon also for the train driver's certificate, take place. The Examination and Monitoring Centre for Train Drivers is the most modern training and exam venue of this kind in Europe.

It took more than four years to develop the Examination and Monitoring System for Train Drivers. In April, we held the first state exams for train driver’s candidates. This year we also completely changed the previous system of entering this difficult and demanding profession, which has 180-year long tradition in Poland – says Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport.

The simulators in CEMM which are used to test skills of future train drivers are a novelty not found in any other centre of this kind. The simulators -  an electric locomotive, a shunting locomotive with a 360o field of vision and an electric multiple unit – mimic the conditions which future train drivers can encounter in the real world.

The construction of CEMM has been co-financed by the European Union from the Cohesion Fund under the Infrastructure and Environment Programme 2014-2020. The Office of Rail Transport received PLN 49 million for the project 'Improving railway safety through development of the Examination and Monitoring System for Train Drivers'. The publication of the Office of Rail Transport 'How to become a train driver? A guide for candidates for the profession' was co-financed by the European Union as part of this project.


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