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Rail Cargo Group: Train driver trainings: From passenger to freight transport

Rail Cargo Group: Train driver trainings: From passenger to freight transport
photo: Rail Cargo Group/Rail Cargo Group
15 / 10 / 2021

While train drivers on passenger services are specially trained to stop at platforms, for example, train drivers on freight services learn to drive and brake differently depending on the length and weight of the wagons. More specifically, this means that there are two different training programs for the same profession, rather than just one.

Initial situation: new regulation introduced in 2017

The so-called Triebfahrzeugführerscheinverordnung ("Traction Driver License Ordinance") came into force in Germany in 2017. This stipulates that each training institute can decide for itself on the content of the training it offers. In order to save costs, many local transport companies have therefore only trained train drivers for passenger services, and even here they have focused on different aspects. A switch in training to freight transport, therefore, entails a number of challenges, as train drivers sometimes lack the basic technical skills that are needed to transport freight weighing many tonnes by rail. Gaps in knowledge, which vary in scale from one participant to the next, must therefore be identified in the course of retraining and compensated for by trainers.

Successful retraining at the Rail Cargo Group

This year marks the first time that the Rail Cargo Group has offered a retraining course for train drivers from the passenger services sector in Germany. Dominik Bukna, Stefan Marten, Christian Frömmrich, and Christian Danninger, four locomotive drivers who already had many years of passenger transport experience, participated in the retraining.

During the practical training, the participants had enough time between the modules to acquire practical driving skills that were still missing from their portfolio. The theoretical training took place at the training centre in Fulda, Hesse, and the practical training at the station in Rheinkamp near Duisburg. The train drivers studied for several weeks and were ultimately able to demonstrate their knowledge in a final qualification examination.