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 a licence and certificate by 29 October 2018. Doctors, psychologists 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) set out the legal requirements of the licensing and certification system for train drivers in Great Britain. The TDLCR bring 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 guide to TDLCR was published in November 2015.

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.

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

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

Post-implementation review of the regulations

Under Regulation 40, the Secretary of State must carry out a review of the these regulations and publish the conclusions in a report by 21 May 2018. The review must have regard to how the directive is implemented in other member states, set out the objectives to be achieved by the Regulations, assess to extent these objectives have been achieved and assess whether they remain appropriate.

We are undertaking the review on behalf of the Secretary of State and have prepared survey on the impact of the Regulations for stakeholders:

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 on using this system.

Alternatively, the application form and guidance 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
London
WC2B 4AN

Licence suspension and withdrawal

We may suspend or withdraw a train driving licence from a driver if we have sufficient evidence that the train driver no longer meets the general competence and medical requirements set out in the TDLCR

Our guide to the TDLCR sets out the process for suspension or withdrawals in more detail.

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 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.

Recognition of assessors – doctors, psychologists and training & examination centres

Under the TDLCR, persons carrying out:

  • medical fitness assessments of train drivers;
  • psychological assessments of train drivers; or
  • training and examinations for  professional knowledge and competence of train drivers;

must apply to be recognised by ORR. We do not recognise trainers or examiners individually but recognise training and examination centres where they carry out those activities.

We have produced application forms for doctors or psychologists wanting entry on to ORR’s registers and these will help you provide the evidence to support a recognition application. An application for training and examination centres is under development. In our guide to the TDLCR there is more information on the recognition routes.

We maintain register of recognised persons  as required by the TDLCR and you can find out who is recognised from these registers:

Enforcement

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 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.