How do you call a driver

Small lever, great responsibility: Marcus Kielas on his first journey as a train driver

The door closes, his colleague waves from outside. Then he is all alone with hundreds of horsepower and a lot of responsibility: Marcus Kielas talks about his first journey as a trained train driver - and how much free time his job gives him.

Marcus remembers the moment shortly before his first shift started. “Before that, I went with a colleague for a while,” he reveals. “Then we stopped and swapped places. He got out and the door of the driver's cab closed. I can still see him standing outside, waving and shouting: Have a nice trip! I became really aware: It’s starting, now you’re on your own. "

This moment seemed unreal to the newly qualified train driver. “That's how long I learned and learned and worked towards this moment. And then suddenly you flip the switch and with this little lever you have so much responsibility in your hand. "

All alone? You never really are.

During the retraining, prospective train drivers are accompanied by a training train driver in the practical part of the training during their shifts. The first time you drive, you sit unaccompanied in the driver's cab. No approving look, no supportive nod when Marcus makes decisions. "You know what you have to do, you've driven the train many times and still it feels very different," he describes the situation. “I knew that I was optimally prepared. Nevertheless, there can always be exceptional cases that have only been practiced in the driving simulator - and of course they feel very different in real life. "

But even if the driver's cab seemed a little lonely on his first trip, a train driver is never really alone: ​​contact can be made quickly to the control center or other contact persons via radio or service cell phone. “If you need help, you get it. Of course, that creates security, ”emphasizes Marcus.

Work-life balance becomes important

Marcus also feels secure for his future, but that was not always the case. The trained master copy maker did not begin his path to becoming a train driver until 2018. “Some jobs cannot survive in digital change, and it was the same for me,” says Marcus. "So I switched to gastronomy, worked there for twelve years and also helped to set up and manage two branches."

But the industry brought with it completely different working hours: working late into the night, hardly any space for private life. “In addition to the psychological stress, the job is also very physically demanding,” he admits. "There was one moment when I picked up a heavy tray and thought: You don't want to do that until I retire."

For him it was clear: he wanted to get back into the media industry, back to his old roots. “But when I told my advisor at the employment office, he just shook his head and gave me a brochure on retraining for train drivers,” laughs Marcus. “He said: 'If you do that and pass the exam, we'll see each other never again in this office. 'I didn't understand what he meant at the time. But now I know: I am happy and the job is more future-proof than almost anyone else. "

Working hours have also changed. Marcus knows well in advance when he will drive which shifts and when he will have free time. His collective agreement with RegioBahn also precisely regulates overtime, night and public holiday supplements. The term work-life balance has therefore acquired a new meaning for him. “My friends and family asked me: why didn't you do that earlier?” He recalls. "Honestly? I ask myself the same thing."