Portsmouth lad achieves dream as he's set to become youngest Southern Rail train driver at just 22-years-old

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A 22-year-old from Portsmouth will soon become Southern Rails' youngest train driver - fulfilling his life long ambition.

George Browning, 22, had always wanted to become a train driver, deciding to start his career fresh out of A levels. He joined the industry as a network operations apprentice at the age of 17, learning as much as he could during his apprenticeship. Now, he is months away from being out on the rails.

Mr Browning said: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to work on the railway, so while I was at college I looked into apprenticeship schemes and found lots on offer at Southern. I wanted to get some experience under my belt and learn how the railway functions on a day-to-day basis. I remember finishing my A-Levels on a Friday and starting work on the Monday."

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George Browning, 22, of Portsmouth, is Southern Rail's youngest train driver and is months away from achieving his dream job. Picture: Southern Rail/peteralvey.comGeorge Browning, 22, of Portsmouth, is Southern Rail's youngest train driver and is months away from achieving his dream job. Picture: Southern Rail/peteralvey.com
George Browning, 22, of Portsmouth, is Southern Rail's youngest train driver and is months away from achieving his dream job. Picture: Southern Rail/peteralvey.com

The railway enthusiast got a job as a train service manager and spent four years in the role. He took the leap of faith to become a train driver last year, bagging his dream job as a trainee train driver at just 21. Mr Browning now has to complete six months of classroom based training before he can hit tracks and fulfil his dream.

"I’ve always been determined to be a train driver, so as soon as I turned 21, I started searching for vacancies at Southern, and was thrilled to be offered a place in December 2023,” he said. “The first six months of the scheme are classroom-based and there’s a lot of content to cover, including the 1,000-page rulebook which must be learnt off-by-heart. Once the classroom learning is complete, I’ll be out in the driver’s cab learning to drive for real under the supervision of an instructor. After learning the ropes from the operational side, I can’t wait to be out on the network for real.”

Mr Browning added that he’s proud to be Southern Rail’s youngest driver and encourages other young people to get a career in the railway. He said: “I think it’s great to be a young train driver, as it’s something I’ve aspired to be for a long time. I’m an example that there are lots of opportunities in the industry if you are passionate about progressing. I couldn’t recommend it enough.”

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