Thousands apply for 78 jobs to drive Virgin's new Azuma trains

More than 15,000 people applied for 78 jobs to work on Virgin's new Azuma trains being launched in 2018

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The Independent Online

Thousands of people have applied for less than 100 jobs to drive a new fleet of trains being launched by Virgin.

More than 15,000 people applied for 78 jobs to work on the new Azuma trains, built in the UK by Hitachi, which are being launched in 2018.

The company said there were almost 200 applications for every vacancy following the biggest recruitment campaign on the East Coast route since the 1980s.

The successful candidates, who will work from depots between London and Edinburgh, will begin a year-long training programme in January.

During the year, the trainees will take part in a mix of classroom-based and “on the job” learning. Virgin said the new recruits will also go through “rigorous immersive practical learning” driving a simulator to familiarise themselves with the new trains.

Industry sources told the Guardian, the new drivers can expect to earn around £57,000 once qualified and that steps had been taken to encourage a “diverse range” of candidates.

Virgin said the fleet of 65 Azuma trains will be among the most advanced in the world when they launch in two years time. 

The fleet is promised to reach speeds of up to 125mph, provide an extra 12,200 seats, a new and expanded timetable and increase capacity into Kings Cross by 28 per cent during peak times.

A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “We have received a huge amount of interest in this fantastic opportunity at Virgin Trains on its east coast route

“The Talent team are working hard to process and update all of the applications we received. Those who have been successful in getting through the first stages of the process will be invited to attend a selection day which will include a variety of assessments and exercises that will bring the best talent into our business.”