New Loco Drivers Hit the Tracks
A clear indication that Tranz Rail is moving in a positive direction is that for the first time since 1986, a new team of Tranz Rail locomotive drivers will soon be taking to the tracks.
Six drivers graduated from the four month Trainee Driver Programme in March, while a further five are close to finishing the course.
Manager Train Operations Greg Hight says one reason why Tranz Rail has not needed any new drivers for a number of years is that a number of reorganisation projects meant the company has been able to fill vacancies by redeploying existing Locomotive Engineers.
"Once our Locomotive Engineers take up driving they tend to stay in the role. Most of our drivers have been with us for many years - some for as much as 40," says Mr Hight.
"However, due to retirement and other factors, we now have a good opportunity to take on a number of new drivers with more courses planned over the next twelve months.
We are also re-training former Locomotive Engineers who have previously left the company or were redeployed into other roles within the company.
"These trainee drivers have come from all over New Zealand. They're enthusiastic, passionate about the job and eager to learn from the old hands," says Mr Hight.
The initial training takes four months and the drivers are then placed on the job in a trainee role.
Once they have completed a minimum of 1040 hours driving and are assessed competent to operate solo, they become a full locomotive driver.
The new locomotive drivers will be working throughout the country.