The job of train driver can be done by people of both sexes. For ease of reading only the male pronoun has been used in the following text. No disrespect to either sex is intended.

Activity profile

A wagon technician ensures the operational safety and roadworthiness of individual wagons, wagon groups and entire trains. In doing this he carries out pure sight checks as well as technical inspections using measuring and testing equipment and special inspections on rail vehicles relating to e.g. correct loading, brake position, warning labels, compliance with maintenance terms and the condition of wheel tyres and brake systems.

Once a fault has been recognised or a vehicle has been involved in an accident the wagon technician carries out operability instructions i.e. they assess whether the vehicle can travel to the workshop under its own steam or requires help to get there.

A wagon technician's activity profile now involves a lot of paperwork, whereby modern means of communication such as notebooks and tablets are used on-site at the vehicle in a supporting role. It is essential that wagon technicians are familiar with various national and international rules in order to facilitate the correct assessment of damage to vehicles and the documentation of this damage e.g. in damage reports.

A wagon technician's activity profile now involves a lot of paperwork, whereby modern means of communication such as notebooks and tablets are used on-site at the vehicle in a supporting role. It is essential that wagon technicians are familiar with various national and international rules in order to facilitate the correct assessment of damage to vehicles and the documentation of this damage e.g. in damage reports.

  • Wagon technicians spend a lot of their working hours around the tracks and are therefore dressed head to foot in orange.
  • Train drivers work shifts and must be able at to assume responsibility at weekends, and holidays and at night for the smooth, punctual and safe running of train services.
  • Wagon technicians must always have all five senses intact:
    • Eyes for visual checks: The Swiss term "Visiteur" describes the wagon technician’s checks for visible defects very nicely.
    • Ears for acoustic recognition, listening for flat tyres as a train passes
    • Hands to inspect damage by feel and dexterity for repairs.
    • Nose for the detection by smell of damage which can be expressed in the smell of burnt rubber. Leakage of hazardous materials e.g. from the leaky stop valves of a tank wagon, are better not smelt, but a wagon technician must be able to recognise it.
    • Taste? No, don’t worry! You’ll only need that for your lunch break.

Requirements

Along with interest in the train system, a career as a wagon technician demands exceptional physical and mental resilience, which must be attested by doctors and psychologists approved for the purpose by the Federal Railway Office within the framework of medical examinations in accordance with VDV regulation 714 as transport medical specialists.

Willingness to work shifts and irregular hours, to work outside in all weathers and to be away from home for several days in the event of project-specific work, is just as important for a train driver as the ability to work independently and readiness to work in a team. A valid driving licence is likewise required by many companies due to the use of a company car for mobile operations.

The carrying out of technical controls and minor repairs, the processing of damage reports and other documents and communication with the railway company responsible for the trains as well as other involved parties demands a high degree of affinity with technology and the ability to adapt quickly to the use of devices such as tablets, smartphones and on-board computers.


Training

In order to become a wagon technician you will need initial industry-oriented vocational training e.g. as a vehicle mechanic. Railway-specific knowledge can be imparted on top of this, which is necessary in order to find employment as a wagon technician.

We offer opportunities for further training as a train driver over several months for lateral entrants who have already completed vocational training and are looking for career opportunities, e.g. at the MEV Driver Training School. Here the training is focused on the role of railway operative as such. Experienced wagon technicians with additional education as trainers and qualified training wagon technicians share their knowledge in theoretical and practical modules.


Pay and development opportunities

The income of an MEV wagon technician is roughly based on the basic figures of the Federal Framework Locomotive Driver Pay Agreement (BuRa-LfTV) initiated by the Union of German Train Drivers (GDL) and also takes account of experience and operations as well as years worked.

Individual company pay agreements such as the pay agreement between MEV and the GDL govern add-ons for night, Sunday and holiday work, remuneration for overtime, special payments, holiday allowance etc.

Regular further training and attractive social contributions are a given.

Various development opportunities are open to wagon technicians e.g. training locomotive driver or trainer, team leader or - in-service training such as master school or degree required - rail traffic master or technician.
Everybody is different. And so is every development opportunity.