DRIVING AMBITION: 15,000-plus apply for South Yorkshire rail jobs

Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Trains' new Azuma

Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Trains' new Azuma

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Response to a firm recruiting first class folk from the region for £57,000 a year train driver roles is Virgin on the unprecedented.

We last week reported http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/jobs-rail-firm-looking-to-recruit-south-yorkshire-people-for-57-000-a-year-train-driver-roles-1-8172650 how applicants must live within an hour of Doncaster - one of five main crew bases - or be willing to relocate in biggest East Coast driver recruitment for 30 years.

Long distance franchise Virgin, which runs services between London and Scotland via South Yorkshire on East Coast Main Line, has now revealed a deluge of almost 200 candidates competing for each job.

New recruits start in January ahead of high tech Azuma train fleet roll-out in 2018. Virgin Trains talent team has now started sifting through thousands of applications following Friday's closing date.

The 78 new drivers, who will work from Doncaster among key depots between London and Edinburgh, are due to start year-long development programme at start of the year.

A company spokesperson said: “We have received a huge amount of interest in this fantastic opportunity at Virgin Trains on its East Coast route. We’re really excited so many people want to come and join our fabulous company!

"The talent team are working hard to process and update all of the applications we received. Those who have been successful in getting through first stages of the process will be invited to attend a selection day, which will include variety of assessments and exercises that will bring the best talent into our business.”

Over the course of a year trainees will take part in a mix of classroom-based and ‘on the job’ learning at different locations on the route with modules ranging from track safety, understanding operational risks and emergency situations as well as getting to know engines they will be driving.

New recruits also go through rigorous immersive practical learning including driving Virgin Trains’ state of the art simulator in order to familiarise themselves with the cab and build train handling experience.

The 65 state of the art Azuma trains, built in the UK by Hitachi, will be among the most advanced trains on the UK’s rail network.