Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Brits Still in Love With Trains as 15,000 Chase 78 Driver Jobs

  • Branson’s Virgin indundated with applicants to helm new Azumas
  • Successful recruits will work on historic Flying Scotsman line

More than 15,000 people have applied for just 78 jobs driving Britain’s newest intercity expresses, according to Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains, which is seeking to fill the posts.

Each of the positions, which are based in London and Edinburgh, received an average of almost 200 applications, spurred by the opportunity to drive the 65 high-speed Hitachi Ltd. trains set to commence operations on Britain’s East Coast main line from 2018, Virgin said Wednesday in a statement.

Training for the first successful applicants will start in January and include airline-style simulator sessions, the company said. Named Azumas -- after the Japanese for ‘east’ -- by Virgin, the trains will operate services once the preserve of historic steam locomotives Flying Scotsman and Mallard.

The Azumas will initially operate at 125 miles per hour (200 kph), with Virgin seeking an upgrade to 140 mph. The company’s tilting Pendolino trains operate on the West Coast route, Britain’s other main long-distance line.

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