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Train operator

Train operators operate passenger and freight trains.

Course contents

At the beginning of your training, you will learn everything about trains, right down to the individual components they are made of. This ensures that you will have the necessary technical knowledge that enables you to operate trains safely. After all, as a train operator you will be responsible for the safety of your passengers or for the freight your train carries. You will also learn how to shunt trains. Upon completion of your training you will also be able to check railcars and make them ready for operation. In addition, you will acquire knowledge about signalling, operating IT systems and the railway system infrastructure.

Special requirements

Operators of locomotives, railcars and other vehicles have a big responsibility. For this job you really need to be able to concentrate. You should also be technically-minded and have some mechanical skills in order to be able to carry out maintenance and inspection work on trains and machinery.

Places of study

This is a dual vocational training course. The theory is taught at a vocational school (Berufsschule), while practical training takes place at a craftsman’s workshop or an industrial company.

Duration: 3 years

Year of training and pay in Euros 

1st year    1.004

2nd year   1.073

3rd year    1.141

Pay: gross salary before tax and deductions for social contributions; source: Federal Employment Agency (BA); last update: July 2020.

Sector of activities

  • Road and rail traffic (freight and passenger railway companies)
  • Mining, metal production, foundry, railcars (industrial railways in coal mining, iron and steel production or rail car manufacturing)

Your perspectives after completion

  • Employment at a railway company
  • Specialisation in staff allocation
  • Acquiring additional qualifications such as IT or foreign language skills
  • Continuing vocational training to obtain a higher vocational qualification in engineering, business administration or as a bachelor professional (Fachwirt)

Further information on this profession:

Information on the web

Federal Ministry of Education and Research – Praktisch unschlagbar!

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

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