Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad

Skills Needed for Driving a Train


Trains and table tennis… not a sentence you’re used to hearing, am I right?
Granted, this combo doesn’t sound as alluring as other great double acts like peanut butter and jelly, fish, and chips (shout out to all the British peeps out there!), gin and tonic or Penn and Teller, but it offers something more substantial.

It shows you just how versatile humans are. To be specific, it shows how versatile YOU are.
Let’s get straight into it 4 transferable skills that mean you can drive a train and play ping-pong. Trust me… you will be impressed by the results.

• Anticipation
Table tennis is all about anticipating the other player’s movements as well as your own. A pro-ping-pong player will know exactly where he/she is going to place their next shot, and guess the shot that their opponent is likely to play in return. Essentially, you need to be one step ahead of your opponent. Otherwise, you’re always playing on the backfoot, and sooner or later, you’ll mess up. Similarly, as a train driver, you need to be able to anticipate bends, changes in tracks and other obstacles. A train going at top speed and with several cabins full of passengers, we’re talking about 150 mph (240 km/h) here, is going to take a while to slow down if you slam on the breaks.

• Concentration
Focus Concentration is something that every profession, sporting or not, requires. Ping-pong players obviously need to be °in the zone° whenever they are in a game or even just practicing.
They need to be committed to the game and focussed on their opponent, like a cat stalking a mouse, without the possible bloodshed of course. Train drivers are active for long periods of time. Anyone else is likely to lose concentration. But, as train drivers are responsible for hundreds of lives, they don’t have this option. People say trains are all automated these days° but this just isn’t true. Every now and again, you see a horrific train accident on the news, and it’s probably down to human error. As long as humans are in charge of trains, concentration and focus are necessities.

• Speed
Reflexes for a ping-pong player are a given… If you are faster, agiler than your opponent, you are at an obvious advantage. The same could be said for driving a train. Someone that is sluggish, slow and just generally poor at reacting to things in time, is not going to make a great driver. Even though a train takes a long time to come to make a complete stop, the driver needs to activate the breaks, sound the horn, alert a nearby station, radio the cabin crew and inform emergency services. Someone with sloth-like movements will not be able to do all this in time.

• Remain Calm In Certain Situations
An approaching train station has contacted you to highlight a hazard ahead -a large tree branch has fallen onto the tracks. Meanwhile, cabin crew rushes in to inform you of a passenger that has suffered a heart attack and requires immediate medical attention. What do you do? Remaining calm is crucial. Panic causes people to make mistakes. You’re in the final game of a worldwide table tennis tournament. First place is on the line. Do you lose your head and concede the point? No, you win the point and eventually the game.

If they want to win, ping-pong players must be disciplined, confident and remain calm at all times.
Told you would be impressed! But please remember… Seek appropriate training/go through the correct channels before swapping professions. We are NOT condoning the hijacking of trains or crashing ping-pong tournaments.

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