First Capital Connect (FCC) last week welcomed thirty new train drivers onto the roster with a graduation ceremony at King’s Cross station.
The new arrivals are the first batch of sixty new drivers who are going through the largest driver training programme undertaken by the train company. The remainder will qualify by the end of the year, increasing the total complement of FCC drivers to over 600.
FCC’s £6m investment in new drivers is part of the company’s ongoing attempts to improve services on its routes. Later in the year, the company will unveil new and longer trains as part of the Thameslink Programme.
The new drivers have been trained at King’s Cross, on the FCC rail network and at the Driver Simulator Centre at Hornsey, north London. The programme involves a mixture of route knowledge, classroom learning and computer simulator training at the state of the art facility at Hornsey.
They will operate on the Thameslink route (Bedford to Brighton and Wimbledon/Sutton Loop) and on the Great Northern route (King’s Cross and Moorgate to Cambridge, Peterborough and King’s Lynn).
Neal Lawson, Managing Director at First Capital Connect said:
“This is the biggest recruitment for new drivers in FCC’s history. Recruits include a former child minder, a champion kick boxer, a qualified ski instructor, an ex-soldier and a former police special constable. More drivers mean fewer rostering problems and fewer delays and cancellations. This investment goes to the heart of improving our service. By increasing the number of drivers, we will reduce the traditional reliance on rest day working which has affected services in recent years. I hope that passengers will see an immediate, sustainable benefit.”