We believe that the best way of making sure drivers remain competent is through operator safety management systems. We issue licences based on evidence supplied by Northern Ireland Railways as currently the sole train operator of domestic services. However, we still use our own safety certification and inspection systems to assure that train operators' arrangements for competence and fitness comply with the ‘Train Driving Licences and Certificates Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010’ (TDLCR) as amended.
Train Driver Licences and Certificates
The train driving licence is a document issued by us to the train driver once the train driver has passed the necessary general professional competence, medical and occupational psychological fitness examinations. The licence is valid for 10 years and is the personal property of the train driver until it expires or is suspended or withdrawn. A valid train driving licence remains valid even when the train driver changes employer.
The certificate is issued to the train driver by their employer and details the types of rolling stock which the driver may drive, and the infrastructure which the driver can drive trains over. Although the train driver holds the certificate, the certificate is the property of the employer. We have produced model copies of the certificate and the certified copy to download for when a train driver leaves employment.
Key Facts for Train Drivers can be viewed below:
Guides for those involved in train driver licensing and certification
The TDLCR (as amended) give duties to a range of different organisations and people. We have produced a series of separate of guides to explain the duties and responsibilities arising from the TDLCR and how to take appropriated action. Together these guides form a complete set of guidance for all aspects of the TDLCR.
There are separate guides:
- Guide for train operators
- Guide to the medical and occupational psychological fitness requirements
- Guide to training and examination requirements
- Guide to the suspension and withdrawal of licences
- Guide to the certificate appeals process
Cross-Border Train Drivers
European Union train driving licences (EU TDLs) continue to be recognised in Northern Ireland. It should be noted that train drivers holding an EU TDL and their train operating company are still subject to inspection by the Department as the enforcing authority to ensure they comply with TDLCR.
Recognition of train driver qualifications obtained in another jurisdiction, EU and/ EEA states, or elsewhere
The Department for Infrastructure as regulator of the train driver profession in Northern Ireland facilitates the recognition of train driver qualifications obtained in other jurisdictions, whether GB, the EU or elsewhere. Individuals who obtain a train driver position in Northern Ireland can have the qualifications they obtained elsewhere recognised by their employer and subsequently the Department. However, it should be noted that those obtaining a train driving position in Northern Ireland and have the qualifications they obtained elsewhere recognised by their employer and the Department must still undergo the required training on rolling stock and the NI rail network.
The Professional Qualifications Act 2022 requires the Department to publish information on:
- the number of individuals who have sought to become entitled to practise as a train driver as a result of having the qualifications they obtained elsewhere recognised in Northern Ireland;
- the number of individuals who have become entitled to practise as a train driver as a result of having the qualifications they obtained elsewhere recognised in Northern Ireland; and
- the qualifications held by individuals who have become entitled to practise as a train driver as a result of having the qualifications they obtained elsewhere recognised in Northern Ireland.
The table below provides information on this for the last two financial years.
|Year||No. seeking to have qualifications recognised to be able to practise||No. entitled to practise after having qualifications recognised||No. Achieving qualifications of level 3 basic training as a train driver|
Recognition and registers of recognised persons – doctors, psychologists and training & examination centres
Under the TDLCR, persons carrying out:
- medical fitness examinations of train drivers;
- occupational psychological fitness examinations of train drivers; or
- training and examinations for professional knowledge and competence of train drivers;
must be recognised by the Department for Infrastructure for entry on to the appropriate register.
The Department for Infrastructure has delegated the keeping of these registers to Northern Ireland Railways under Regulation 20 of the TDLCR.
Further information can be obtained from NIR by writing to:
Northern Ireland Railways at Lanyon Place Station, 47 East Bridge Street, Belfast, BT1 3NR.