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Training to be a train driver

Aurizon is making a significant investment in building the capability of train crew to ensure we are well positioned to deliver on increasing customer demand for new and existing contracts.

Tanya Sigmund

Based at our Pring Depot in Bowen North Queensland, Tanya Sigmund recently became a qualified Locomotive Driver after undertaking Aurizon’s 21-week training course.

During the training, Tanya undertook four modules covering key aspects of railway operations including shunting, fatigue management strategies, responding to trackside signals and trackside signs, and emergency response processes.

At the end of the fourth module, Tanya headed out into the field to complete her workplace consolidation period, which enabled her to consolidate her theory and take control of a train under supervision, complete her workbook and gain intimate knowledge of the route she is now driving locomotives on. Tanya said initially she found the course challenging, but with the support and mentoring from her supervisor, and the broader team at the depot, she was able to find her feet quickly.

“The 21-week course was a very challenging experience, however after a couple of weeks, I got into the groove of it all,” she said.

“I had to study most nights and everyone in the class helped and encouraged each other. The trainers were all very knowledgeable, helpful and patient, and the very high quality of training has definitely set me up for a fantastic start to my new career.”

Having worked in the mining industry for over a decade, Tanya said she was always curious about the coal trains, which was part of her motivation to become a train driver.

“When the opportunities weren’t there for me to progress within the mining industry, I decided that train driving was what I wanted to do.

“I waited for the right opportunity and was lucky enough to be successful in getting a traineeship at Pring,” she said.

As a female locomotive driver, Tanya says she’s been fully supported by the Company and the team at the Pring Depot.

“We all know that gender has nothing to do with whether or not you can do the job and my peers at Pring have been very supportive and encouraging. There are quite a few female drivers, shunters and supervisors at the depot which is great to see.

“Aurizon is definitely making some great steps forward in gender equality in the workplace and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Now that Tanya has successfully completed the training course, she has been awarded the nationally recognised Certificate IV in Train Driving.

As a qualified locomotive driver, she is embracing her role driving Aurizon’s diesel locomotives for our coal customers to and from Abbot Port Coal Terminal.

We asked Tanya what advice she would give to others if they were considering following a similar career path, and she says potential candidates should ‘go for it’.

“I believe in trying new things and broadening horizons. The training at Pring was of a very high quality and everyone was so encouraging and supportive.

“Aurizon is a great company to work for and if you’re prepared to put the time and effort into it, it’s a very rewarding career,” she said.

When asked about her goals for the future, Tanya said she is always open to opportunities.

“Aurizon is very encouraging of career advancement, and that’s one of the reasons this job appealed to me.

“For now, though I am more than happy focusing on learning as much as I can and to become the best driver that I can be.”

Aurizon is currently seeking expressions of interest for people interested in training to become a locomotive driver. For more information, follow this link.