‘Driver’ isn’t the only job on the railway

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hiredgun

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It feels, sometimes, like train drivers are the kings of the railway.
The vast majority of threads are of people looking to find driver jobs, pass the psycho tests, get through interviews and sitting in talent pools, waiting for offers etc etc

Yet there are plenty of roles in the rail industry that pay good money for, I think, less mental effort and much easier to be accepted for, which are never talked about.

I feel this adds to a percentage of drivers (and I am a mainline driver, so no sour-grapes here) having an over exaggerated sense of importance....

I worked in a safety critical role, for a TOC/FOC, for a few years but there was always the air that the footplate grade was somehow elite. They have to pass special tests and only the best get through.
Newer drivers always gave the impression they thought they were slightly elivated because of this and the job wouldn’t run without their skills.

I decided I’d prove to everyone (myself inc) I could pass the tests and complete the rules.
I was lucky enough to pass everything first time of asking and started training within 6 months of applying. Rules were a headache but I cane away with a 98% mark...

But the job is more mentally demarnding in terms of concentration and awareness with long periods of alone time for not much more money than my previous role.

The point I’m trying to get to is that there are much more accessible roles with similar pay, with far fewer applicants which seem to be overlooked in favour of an all out desire to drive trains..

Just a thought:?::?:
 
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DorkingMain

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I think nearly everyone who works on the railway will tell you the same thing - get in via any route you can, and worry about the role you're doing later on.

You may find that you end up doing something else more than you'd enjoy being a driver. I know I ended up in that position - being a "commercial" guard at SWT was the best job I've had and 10k more salary wasn't going to tempt me up the front.
 

hiredgun

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Exactly my point.

For me it wasn’t the money but the feeling I was looked down on (whether real or in my head) but I have a greater respect now for people who are happy to ‘stick as they are’
 

Stigy

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I think that a lot of people are blinkered by the money, and we’ve had debates about that here before. There are many jobs on the railway I agree, and some are a lot easier to get than others, but ultimately (from the outside at least), people are attracted to the railway to drive trains. A lot of people don’t see the many other jobs on offer, and think the railway is run by drivers and guards.
 

BluePenguin

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There are some fantastic jobs on the railway although not many pay as well as drivers earn it seems. Customer facing roles are much more satisfying and don’t involve sitting alone for hours on end although some people don’t mind it

Drivers go through a gruelling recruitment process to prove themselves and show they have what it takes. I really admire anyone who has made the grade. I don’t think I would!
 

theironroad

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It feels, sometimes, like train drivers are the kings of the railway.
The vast majority of threads are of people looking to find driver jobs, pass the psycho tests, get through interviews and sitting in talent pools, waiting for offers etc etc

Yet there are plenty of roles in the rail industry that pay good money for, I think, less mental effort and much easier to be accepted for, which are never talked about.

I feel this adds to a percentage of drivers (and I am a mainline driver, so no sour-grapes here) having an over exaggerated sense of importance....

I worked in a safety critical role, for a TOC/FOC, for a few years but there was always the air that the footplate grade was somehow elite. They have to pass special tests and only the best get through.
Newer drivers always gave the impression they thought they were slightly elivated because of this and the job wouldn’t run without their skills.

I decided I’d prove to everyone (myself inc) I could pass the tests and complete the rules.
I was lucky enough to pass everything first time of asking and started training within 6 months of applying. Rules were a headache but I cane away with a 98% mark...

But the job is more mentally demarnding in terms of concentration and awareness with long periods of alone time for not much more money than my previous role.

The point I’m trying to get to is that there are much more accessible roles with similar pay, with far fewer applicants which seem to be overlooked in favour of an all out desire to drive trains..

Just a thought:?::?:

I'm not sure how many roles pay close to driver especially when average hours per week and days per week are taken into consideration.

I'd genuinely be intrigued to know.

I do agree that there is a far more interest in driving jobs than others, whether that's linked to some sort of long past nostalgic notion of train driving that kids learn or the actual job as it is today I really can't be sure.
 

Leyland1195

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My brother got in though On trak recruitment at Clapham junction as a Dispatcher, Then was one day offered full time employment with Southern as station staff at Peckham Rye, He has passed I think his track safety licence or somthing similar and starting to train other people at the station. I am thinking of trying with On trak recruitment if I fail my current driver application but I might never get offered a job full time with southern or whoever the operating company may be And only be given little hours as its temporary and only when they need you type work. He does alot of night work now ie 10.30pm until 6am so just stays at the station himself overnight like a security officer apart from the last few trains.
 

nom de guerre

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Mid-to-upper grade signalling pays almost as well for - in my perhaps biased view - a generally easier life and - again, IMHO - better shifts.
 

Stigy

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I'm not sure how many roles pay close to driver especially when average hours per week and days per week are taken into consideration.

I'd genuinely be intrigued to know.

I do agree that there is a far more interest in driving jobs than others, whether that's linked to some sort of long past nostalgic notion of train driving that kids learn or the actual job as it is today I really can't be sure.
There’s a few jobs that pay similar, but are arguably just as competitive; Higher grade signalling jobs, Incident Controller, MOMs etc. Train Managers/Commercial guards are on £49+ k a year?
 

Journeyman

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I've worked on the railway in a huge variety of roles over the last 25 years, although none of them involved driving. I did try for it once and passed all the psychometrics without any trouble, but didn't make it through the final interview. I'm quite glad, now actually. I wasn't doing brilliantly career-wise at the time, but things have picked up a lot since, and I don't want to try driving again.

That said, if a role in a sleepy mechanical signal box near me comes up, I'll happily murder the other applicants.
 

theironroad

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There’s a few jobs that pay similar, but are arguably just as competitive; Higher grade signalling jobs, Incident Controller, MOMs etc. Train Managers/Commercial guards are on £49+ k a year?

Incident controller etc had crossed my mind but very few nationwide compared to drivers and I'd imagine pretty competitive.

Wasn't aware of TM/guard on that much, at swr they are on 41, nor sure about elsewhere.
 

scotraildriver

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There are a good number of roles in the engineering side which pay just as much as a driver.
 

Scotrail314209

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I personally quite like going for customer facing onboard roles, especially on intercity TOCs. Keeps me busy as well as the thought of sitting in a lonely cab for a long time doesn’t do much for me.
 

DriverEight

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I personally quite like going for customer facing onboard roles, especially on intercity TOCs. Keeps me busy as well as the thought of sitting in a lonely cab for a long time doesn’t do much for me.
On the other hand, I've spent 30 years as an international lorry driver, so sitting in a lonely cab for a long time is the ONLY job on the railways that appeals to me. Guess it's just horses for courses

There are a good number of roles in the engineering side which pay just as much as a driver.
Is that after a fairly long career path? I think the thing about drivers pay that appeals to a lot of people is that you can get from trainee off the street to 70k salary in a couple of years. My father was a civil servant earning 50k when he retired, but it took him 40 years to get there.
 
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irish_rail

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For me its nothing to do with status or money. Its the moving office, where no two days are the same and I get to enjoy a panoramic view of the Great British countryside in all seasons and weathers.
Not many office based folk can say that. There is more to life than money after all. If someone offered me an extra 20k a year to sit in an office at a computer the answer would be no thanks.
 

ComUtoR

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I think it is more that this form is very much something of an echo chamber and having a very isolated and insular membership/readership. Enthusiast side and Staff side. Staff here tend to be pretty secure in their roles and although some of the equerience is quite mixed, it still leans to the more operational side of the railway.

Advice here comes from people with experience of those roles so you get a lot of feedback and help. This pushes the recruitment section to somewhat of a bias. However, I've seen various other jobs discussed here too. What I have found is that there are various routes into "The Railway" and a lot is covered elsewhere. You get a fair amount of college/uni people who go into the Management side and more back of house stuff. You get a lot of internal recruitment and many of that comes within the industry so you get a fair amount of TOC <> TOC movement. Also, some of the admin roles are also recruited from admin specialist places. TOC websites are great for job recruitment. Again, it leads to a bias towards TOC based jobs rather than 'rail' industry jobs.

Many of my friends barley think the railway exists outside of Signaller/Driver/Trackworker and I've always extolled the wide variety of roles across the industry as a whole. It's a huge industry for sure.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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What percentage of total railway staff are drivers, what percentage are guards/catering who are on trains most of their working time?

Plenty of people are enthusiastic about applying, and right gruntled when they succeed. But one imagines driving can be trying too with 'flexible' shifts nearly 24/7.

I bet some people get sick of it and leave or are asked to leave sooner or later. We do not read much about them. Perhaps they are glad to quietly return to less exciting employment.
 

scotraildriver

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Is that after a fairly long career path? I think the thing about drivers pay that appeals to a lot of people is that you can get from trainee off the street to 70k salary in a couple of years. My father was a civil servant earning 50k when he retired, but it took him 40 years to get there.
Well you obviously need to be qualified in some type of discipline for engineering roles whether it be electrical, mechanical or whaever. However there are a good number of 20 somethings who did their engineering apprenticeship in house, and are earning well over 50k.
 
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It feels, sometimes, like train drivers are the kings of the railway.
The vast majority of threads are of people looking to find driver jobs, pass the psycho tests, get through interviews and sitting in talent pools, waiting for offers etc etc

Yet there are plenty of roles in the rail industry that pay good money for, I think, less mental effort and much easier to be accepted for, which are never talked about.

I feel this adds to a percentage of drivers (and I am a mainline driver, so no sour-grapes here) having an over exaggerated sense of importance....

I worked in a safety critical role, for a TOC/FOC, for a few years but there was always the air that the footplate grade was somehow elite. They have to pass special tests and only the best get through.
Newer drivers always gave the impression they thought they were slightly elivated because of this and the job wouldn’t run without their skills.

I decided I’d prove to everyone (myself inc) I could pass the tests and complete the rules.
I was lucky enough to pass everything first time of asking and started training within 6 months of applying. Rules were a headache but I cane away with a 98% mark...

But the job is more mentally demarnding in terms of concentration and awareness with long periods of alone time for not much more money than my previous role.

The point I’m trying to get to is that there are much more accessible roles with similar pay, with far fewer applicants which seem to be overlooked in favour of an all out desire to drive trains..

Just a thought:?::?:
I think there’s a lot of driver related threads because it’s a well paid job that doesn’t require qualifications (ish), plus it’s good for a career change at virtually any age. Engineering roles and public facing roles aren’t suitable for a good percentage of driver candidates so what other jobs are there that pay as well?
 

Stigy

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Incident controller etc had crossed my mind but very few nationwide compared to drivers and I'd imagine pretty competitive.

Wasn't aware of TM/guard on that much, at swr they are on 41, nor sure about elsewhere.
apologies, that was a typo....I meant 40k plus.

Although I believe XC pay around £47k? Bare in mind these are basic salaries and often exclude Sundays, plus any overtime/rest day work.
 

dakta

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Always wanted to be a driver because (cliche alert) I just always fancied driving trains. Especially mastering the stopping.

Nearly got there multiple times (passed the tests and got stuck at the final interview a few times) - ultimately now work in IT for pretty much the same money and possible progression on the horizon but I'd jump into driving in a heartbeat. I did once look at engineering (as I was on an engineering course at the time) - it just didn't have the same attraction though.

In the long term I'll probably just join a heritage group again, especially as they seem to be getting a lot of 'more my generation' stuff and that'l probably do - it was never really about the money it was about doing something you're feel enthusiastic about.
 

Jon1930

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If the train drivers pay as rubbish like it was before 1997 nobody would be applying. It's all about the money. Train drivers can earn 75-80k without even trying. Then the big hitters are hitting 6 digits.
 

theironroad

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If the train drivers pay as rubbish like it was before 1997 nobody would be applying. It's all about the money. Train drivers can earn 75-80k without even trying. Then the big hitters are hitting 6 digits.

I agree that applications would be vastly reduced if the pay was a lot lower.

However, I'm not aware of any TOC or FOC (Eurostar maybe just over or close) that pay over 75k for basic pay.
 

baz962

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I agree that applications would be vastly reduced if the pay was a lot lower.

However, I'm not aware of any TOC or FOC (Eurostar maybe just over or close) that pay over 75k for basic pay.
And I believe Lner are close. 71 and London weighting at kings x
 

Jon1930

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I agree that applications would be vastly reduced if the pay was a lot lower.

However, I'm not aware of any TOC or FOC (Eurostar maybe just over or close) that pay over 75k for basic pay.
Sorry meant by doing a little overtime.
 

tlionhart

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Every role on the railway is important and I am ashamed of drivers who look other grades down.
Especially if they’ve come from dispatcher to driver. I’ve seen it a lot and there isn’t any need for it.

I even encourage friends and family to join ticket office roles (they can earn a lot, especially with overtime)
I even encourage friends and family to join ticket office roles (they can earn a lot, especially with overtime)
An interesting role in helping to plan someone’s trip too.

Like Irish Rail, I enjoy operational roles. For me it’s driving through the countryside and snaking around the cities. Other drivers couldn’t give a monkeys and just want the money (don’t blame or fault them) but it’s a quick fire way to get bored.

I am always fascinated by the MOMs stories. If I wasn’t a driver I would love to be an incident response or MOM. That’s a job I also recommend to friends or family.

Just to add, my previous background is aviation. The key jobs are Pilot or Cabin Crew. So this kind of trend isn’t just specific to the railway.
 
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bramling

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It feels, sometimes, like train drivers are the kings of the railway.
The vast majority of threads are of people looking to find driver jobs, pass the psycho tests, get through interviews and sitting in talent pools, waiting for offers etc etc

Yet there are plenty of roles in the rail industry that pay good money for, I think, less mental effort and much easier to be accepted for, which are never talked about.

I feel this adds to a percentage of drivers (and I am a mainline driver, so no sour-grapes here) having an over exaggerated sense of importance....

I worked in a safety critical role, for a TOC/FOC, for a few years but there was always the air that the footplate grade was somehow elite. They have to pass special tests and only the best get through.
Newer drivers always gave the impression they thought they were slightly elivated because of this and the job wouldn’t run without their skills.

I decided I’d prove to everyone (myself inc) I could pass the tests and complete the rules.
I was lucky enough to pass everything first time of asking and started training within 6 months of applying. Rules were a headache but I cane away with a 98% mark...

But the job is more mentally demarnding in terms of concentration and awareness with long periods of alone time for not much more money than my previous role.

The point I’m trying to get to is that there are much more accessible roles with similar pay, with far fewer applicants which seem to be overlooked in favour of an all out desire to drive trains..

Just a thought:?::?:

There's certainly an element of "drivers are the top dogs" in the industry, and it cuts both ways as there's people in other grades who can be quite anti-driver. At the end of the day the delivery of a train service requires a whole string of people, both on the day and in the planning stages.

The driving grade is wonderful, but I'd agree it's only part of the story.
 

theironroad

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Exactly the same with me. I love the job.
I do agree with the OP, there are other fantastic opportunities on the railway. A guy on my course left his driving job for a control based job. He is much happier and it suits him well.

I even encourage friends and family to join ticket office roles (they can earn a lot, especially with overtime)
An interesting role in helping to plan someone’s trip too.

Every role on the railway is important and I am ashamed of drivers who look other grades down.
Especially if they’ve come from dispatcher to driver. I’ve seen it a lot and there isn’t any need for it.

Like Irish Rail, I enjoy operational roles. For me it’s driving through the countryside and snaking around the cities. Other drivers couldn’t give a monkeys and just want the money (don’t blame or fault them) but it’s a quick fire way to get bored.

I am always fascinated by the MOMs stories. If I wasn’t a driver I would love to be an incident response or MOM. That’s a job I also recommend to friends or family.

Just to add, my previous background is aviation. The key jobs are Pilot or Cabin Crew. So this kind of trend isn’t just specific to the railway.

Interesting, it's a pity about operational inter-grade relations at times, we're all cogs trying to keep the job going.

Not going to lie, I do find the job boring and underwhelming a lot of the time and have considered control before, but as you and Irish say, the one thing I do love is the moving office ,various scenery of whatever type , the weather, the seasons and often having a PNB somewhere to explore a bit.

Realistically, I don't think I'd swap that variety now for a static office, unless it had really nice panoramic views... The package itself makes it worth it, probably just need a change.

There's certainly an element of "drivers are the top dogs" in the industry, and it cuts both ways as there's people in other grades who can be quite anti-driver. At the end of the day the delivery of a train service requires a whole string of people, both on the day and in the planning stages.

The driving grade is wonderful, but I'd agree it's only part of the story.
Totally. I didn't want to say anti-driver but it definitely does exist and I can certainly understand why.
 

Stigy

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If the train drivers pay as rubbish like it was before 1997 nobody would be applying. It's all about the money. Train drivers can earn 75-80k without even trying. Then the big hitters are hitting 6 digits.
To get over £100k they must have no life outside work.
 
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