Train driving licences and certificates

Any new driver must have a train driver licence and certificate to drive on the mainline railway. Existing drivers will need both by 29 October 2018. Doctors, psychometric assessors and training and examination centres who assess new train drivers must be recognised by ORR.  Details of the requirements and how to apply for licences or recognition are below.

Legal requirements

The Train Driving Licences and Certificates Regulations 2010 (TDLCR) as amended sets out the legal requirements of the licensing and certification system for train drivers in Great Britain. This brings into force the requirements of European Commission Directive 2007/59/EC on the certification of train drivers. Minor changes were made by the Train Driving Licences and Certificates (Amendment) Regulations 2015 which brings into force European Commission Directive 2014/82/EU. A revised guide pdf icon PDF, 3,796 Kb to TDLCR was published in November 2015 which includes details of the changes.

The Directives form part of the European Commission's plan to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe's railways. The key objectives of both the Directives and TDLCR are to:

  • make it easier for cross-border rail services to operate;
  • create a more flexible labour market for train drivers;
  • introduce common standards of driver across Europe; and
  • increase public confidence in the rail system through the requirement for certain groups of train drivers to hold a licence.

View our ‘position statement on depot drivers’ and the TDLCR.

Licence applications

Train drivers or their employers can apply for a train driver licence.

Train operators employers should submit applications for licences on behalf of their drivers via ORR’s online Train Driving Licence application system as this will speed up the process of issuing the licence. We have  published guidance pdf icon PDF, 822 Kb on using this system.

Alternatively, the application form doc icon DOC, 238 Kb and guidance pdf icon PDF, 88 Kb on completing it are available to download. Applications should be emailed to TDL Applications or sent to:

Railway Safety Directorate
Administration Team
Office of Rail and Road
One Kemble Street

Recognition of assessors

Doctors or psychometric assessors who carry out the medical and psychological fitness assessments (under Regulation 8) of train drivers must apply to be recognised by ORR. Training and examination centres who train and examine the professional knowledge and competence (under Regulations 30 and 31) must also apply for recognition.

There are recognition routes for doctors pdf icon PDF, 27 Kb, psychometric assessors pdf icon PDF, 36 Kb, trainers pdf icon PDF, 27 Kb and examination centres pdf icon PDF, 29 Kb. These give guidance on the evidence needed to support a recognition application. Applications should be emailed to RSD Admin or sent to the address above. You can find out who is recognised from our published registers of doctors xls icon XLS, 67 Kb, psychometric assessors xls icon XLS, 70 Kb and training and examination centres xls icon XLS, 49 Kb (as required under Regulation 23(1)).


As enforcing authority for the TDLCR we will use the principles established in our HSWA enforcement policy statement to ensure compliance with these statutory requirements.

Train driver certificate appeals

Drivers can appeal against a decision of a train operating company (under Regulation 36 of TDLCR) not to issue a train driver certificate or to update or renew it. The appeal can also be made if the certificate is suspended or withdrawn. The company's internal appeal procedure must have been used before ORR would consider any appeal it received. We have published guidance doc icon DOC, 401 Kb on the ORR appeal process which includes an application form. Applications should be emailed to TDL Applications or sent to the address above under licence applications.