800 hours training to become a train driver

Japanese trains are the most punctual in the world and they are also the most safe. One of the reasons why they are so punctual is that the same systematic protocols are accurately performed each time a train arrives to a station. Train drivers are trained to be able to stop a train within error margins of 10 cm in respect to the platform and 5 seconds in respect to the moment they are supposed to stop.

Some time ago in a Odakyu line platform I found this poster which explains that to become a train driver you need to spend 800 hours studying and training. I don’t know how much training is required in western countries to become a train driver, but 800 hours seem like a lot of hours to me.

How to become a train driver

In the poster they also explain how train drivers are trained to drive in a safe way. One of the biggest concerns of Japanese people is that if rail companies are too strict with their drivers, accidents may happen because the drivers are under stress, something that happened in Amagasaki some years ago when a driver was behind official schedule, took a curve too fast and caused the derailing of the train and the death more than 100 people. If the train had arrived late, the driver would have been strongly scolded.

5 Comments
  • Tornadoes28

    March 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    In Los Angeles, I wouldn’t be surprised if they require only 8 hours of training. LA trains are rarely on time.

  • Eadwacer

    March 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    A discussion about San Francisco’s BART system dating from 2007 said a new train operator would spend “about three months” in a full time training status, so that’s roughly 480hrs.

  • Anders

    March 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    In Sweden training is 40 weeks, about 1600 hours but with japanese efficency I can see that they have cut it in half.

  • Mike

    August 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    In the age of steam in Britain train drivers would get an effective lifetime of training, because, because they’d start at the bottom greasing the wheels or something and then work their way up to driver by a series of apprenticeships. Train driver or officer on a ship were the most “glamourous” occupations before the first world war.

  • yun

    September 29, 2012 at 3:34 am

    In Korea there are no training requirements, you are simply asked to blow the station master.