VIDEO: All aboard for a new career

It’s every little boy’s dream... Being a train driver.

In fact they run to their seats on Blackpool Zoo’s miniature train crying ‘I want to be the driver’.

Activities and Play Barn manager Gary Leighton with the train

Activities and Play Barn manager Gary Leighton with the train

Now grown up boys and girls can make their childhood dreams come true as the Zoo is recruiting for a miniature train driver to join the team.

The job advert asks for ‘a motivated, outgoing individual that is fully at ease dealing with people from all walks of life, and has a positive attitude’ as well as being ‘physically fit, flexible in regards to working hours and have a mature attitude’.

Described as “the best job in the world” by Gary Leighton, activities and play barn manager, the job requires a friendly person who is willing and able to work flexibly depending on visitor numbers at the East Park Drive attraction.

“If you asked me on a day with drizzle in the air, maybe I wouldn’t say so,” he said, under a warm spring sun.

The best job in the world

“But you’re not stuck behind a desk, you’re in a really nice environment and there’s no better job in that respect.”

The train has been a feature at Blackpool Zoo since it opened in 1972, and the engine dates back to the same year.

Although no record exists, it is thought the engine was purpose built for the job.

The track, unlike many other similar miniature trains, runs between two stations passing by animal enclosures including wallabies and kangaroos, red river hogs and aardvark.

Train enthusiasts have even been known to ask to make a special visit to the train.

“It’s quite unique having a train going through the actual animals,” Gary said.

“There have probably been millions of passengers.

“And with it running for more than 40 years, there will be people coming now with their grandchildren who came as children themselves.”

While there’s currently no ‘official train driver’s uniform’ – the job is a dirty one, with a lot of physical work manoeuvring the diesel-powered 15 gauge engine – Gary said if the right employee came along with a wish for a smart cap and overalls there would be the possibility of adding that.

Gary, who joined the Zoo team six years ago, added: “It can be difficult to get people able to fulfil the job, as it can be 10 to 15 hours or up to 30 or 40 hours when the park’s at its busiest.

“People who do drive the train now love it. Where else can you be on a miniature train, driving past exotic animals and interacting with the public and helping them to enjoy their experience?

“Every now and then I get a go driving it and it’s a great thing to do.

“ The mini train was totally new to me when I started here, now I love it.”

To get on board with the Zoo, email personnel manager Anita Bubbins at