A career as a signaller

Termy

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I've done the online SJT in the last few days. Just waiting for that email with the results to come through sometime. Definitely waiting on tenderhooks... :D
 
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nom de guerre

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Sunset route said:
12hr roster is a dirty word in some parts of the world lol
Really? Why?


...even those that might like the idea of a 12hr roster don't go much on those computer thingies or the sterile environment of the building to even consider dropping grades.
Fair enough - I don't especially enjoy the ROC environment myself (although I like the "computer thingies" more than I thought I would).



TomBoyd said:
I waited for a Grade 8 Station to open up before applying to a ROC. 12 hour roster. half the commute. I can't wait to be released!
Is that a sideways move, grade-wise, or did you downgrade to get a 12 hour roster? (PM me if I'm being too nosy!).

Presume you'll be across the way from Sunset?
 

TomBoyd

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Really? Why?
I've heard the same, my current box is fighting for a 12 Hour roster at the moment as has encountered huge resistance from the top. god knows why.

Is that a sideways move, grade-wise, or did you downgrade to get a 12 hour roster? (PM me if I'm being too nosy!).

Presume you'll be across the way from Sunset?
Sideways for personal, geographical reasons.

I'll be at 3Bridges ROC
 

contrad!ction

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I've heard the same, my current box is fighting for a 12 Hour roster at the moment as has encountered huge resistance from the top. god knows why.
Cost apparently. Not sure how/why though as I've not bothered to do the maths myself! I much prefer working 12s than 8s though - that long weekend...
 

nom de guerre

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Cost apparently.
Yes. Apparently those on a 12 hour roster receive 32 hours' more pay/holidays per year than those on 8s (no, I haven't done the maths). Also, overtime is more expensive.

I was just interested by Sunset's comment about 12s being "a dirty word". The vast majority of signallers I've met prefer 12s.
 

Sunset route

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Yes. Apparently those on a 12 hour roster receive 32 hours' more pay/holidays per year than those on 8s (no, I haven't done the maths). Also, overtime is more expensive.

I was just interested by Sunset's comment about 12s being "a dirty word". The vast majority of signallers I've met prefer 12s.
Then you've not worked at our place then! :lol:
 

kimflop

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21 Mar 2012
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York ROC is 12hr shifts, best thing ever. Some people do travel a long way but the pro's out-weigh the con's. Less petrol expense, more time at home, better quality of life, less mileage on the car....
 

verve76

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I see there a few jobs advertised on the NR website today. Out of interest some are fixed term until Jan '17 - just wondered how this worked as surely once you've been through application stages and then 9 weeks training it will almost take you to Jan 2017?!

Also what's meant with fixed salary? Presumably no OT or Sunday pay?
 

contrad!ction

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I see there a few jobs advertised on the NR website today. Out of interest some are fixed term until Jan '17 - just wondered how this worked as surely once you've been through application stages and then 9 weeks training it will almost take you to Jan 2017?!

Also what's meant with fixed salary? Presumably no OT or Sunday pay?
The end dates of these fixed term contracts can be quite 'flexible' ;) - once you're in though it's relatively easy (if you aren't totally useless) to move into a permanent position using the internal jobs list (which contain a lot more/better signaller vacancies...)

Nope, means that you can't negotiate your base salary (each box is graded 1-9 and that's that) - your base salary doesn't include RDW/Sundays/Night Rate/SE allowance etc...which is added on top.
 

verve76

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The end dates of these fixed term contracts can be quite 'flexible' ;) - once you're in though it's relatively easy (if you aren't totally useless) to move into a permanent position using the internal jobs list (which contain a lot more/better signaller vacancies...)

Nope, means that you can't negotiate your base salary (each box is graded 1-9 and that's that) - your base salary doesn't include RDW/Sundays/Night Rate/SE allowance etc...which is added on top.
Ah I get it - thanks ;)
 

Termy

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I see there a few jobs advertised on the NR website today. Out of interest some are fixed term until Jan '17 - just wondered how this worked as surely once you've been through application stages and then 9 weeks training it will almost take you to Jan 2017?!

Also what's meant with fixed salary? Presumably no OT or Sunday pay?
Thank you for the heads up! Looks like a position in a box relatively closer to me has opened up near Exeter. That's pretty convenient. :)
 

nom de guerre

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contrad!ction said:
you can't negotiate your base salary (each box is graded 1-9 and that's that)
Under what circumstances can you negotiate your base salary? The only time I've heard of it happening around here was following a resignalling balls-up (when jobs that were supposed to disappear, didn't).
 

contrad!ction

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Under what circumstances can you negotiate your base salary? The only time I've heard of it happening around here was following a resignalling balls-up (when jobs that were supposed to disappear, didn't).
Within the sig/sup grades you can't, but within the role clarity bands you can between the lower and upper limits (I think?). What can happen though (legend says :lol:) is that if you feel your panel/box/workstation is under-graded apply for for a regrade - from what I can gather the evidence required to do this is quite extensive.
 

contrad!ction

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Ah, I get ya.

We're applying for a regrade at our place later this year. A fair amount of admin involved, by all accounts.
Logs of all telephone calls, cross workstation messages, timetables, STP schedules, infrastructure complexity, shunting moves blah blah blah...all averaged across a 3-6 week period.

I don't know in detail how it works but there's a 'score' that needs to be met for each grade apparently. Not an easy process by any means.
 

nom de guerre

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Logs of all telephone calls, cross workstation messages, timetables, STP schedules, infrastructure complexity, shunting moves blah blah blah...all averaged across a 3-6 week period.

I don't know in detail how it works but there's a 'score' that needs to be met for each grade apparently. Not an easy process by any means.
Yes. Also mention of crossing use, ARS/ACI coverage/reliability, volume of error messages.

Slightly complicated in our case as the workstation in question was artificially downgraded to facilitate a displacement process. It is at least one grade too low on infrastructure complexity alone.
 

martin2345uk

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Does anyone know much about Monks Siding box?

Gradient, I take it you didn't apply in the end?

It looks like it's on a freight line; and operates what looks like a very quiet level crossing... I take it there would only be one person on duty at any one time in a little place like that?
 

Wee_Eck

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Can anyone tell me what kind of notice you get for your shifts and a rough idea of how a rota would look?
I'm applying for Motherwell, I have 2 kids who are both at school and my wife works as a nurse on 12 hour shifts and she self rosters so would like to reassure her that this is a career option I can go for that won't affect our family life.
 

Sunset route

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Can anyone tell me what kind of notice you get for your shifts and a rough idea of how a rota would look?
I'm applying for Motherwell, I have 2 kids who are both at school and my wife works as a nurse on 12 hour shifts and she self rosters so would like to reassure her that this is a career option I can go for that won't affect our family life.
All rosters work to a fixed rotation, based upon the locations needs and staff numbers required. Once your at your location you just take your turn on your roster for each week as they rotate around the roster. My roster is a huge roster, but if I choose to I could write in to my diary for years to come, but I normally only work a year in advance. I know what I'm working this Christmas and next as well as any other important dates inbetween.

You will need to contact the Motherwell LOM to see if they can supply you with a copy of the roster or rosters if there is more than one link.
 
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verve76

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There is an advert for signallers in "Halifax and 1 hours travel time surrounding" at the moment. Just wondered what this exactly means e.g I live 55miles from Halifax and about 1 hour 10 mins in the car on a good day so I'm thinking if there's anything my side of Halifax then surely it is worth going for?
 

TomBoyd

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There is an advert for signallers in "Halifax and 1 hours travel time surrounding" at the moment. Just wondered what this exactly means e.g I live 55miles from Halifax and about 1 hour 10 mins in the car on a good day so I'm thinking if there's anything my side of Halifax then surely it is worth going for?
Is this a relief role? Sounds like its advertising for a relief position, meaning you'll be working multiple boxes.
 

verve76

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Thanks for the reply. The advert doesn't mention about relief position in fact it seems to mention multiple opportunities. Just strangely worded as 1 hour from Halifax takes in many other towns and cities so why not just advertise them as such?
 

TomBoyd

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Thanks for the reply. The advert doesn't mention about relief position in fact it seems to mention multiple opportunities. Just strangely worded as 1 hour from Halifax takes in many other towns and cities so why not just advertise them as such?
No idae. Contact HR for more details.
 
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Can anyone tell me what kind of notice you get for your shifts and a rough idea of how a rota would look?
I'm applying for Motherwell, I have 2 kids who are both at school and my wife works as a nurse on 12 hour shifts and she self rosters so would like to reassure her that this is a career option I can go for that won't affect our family life.
As Sunset says, rosters are on a fixed rotation - of anything up for 32 weeks+, so in theory you know what you're working ad infinitum, especially given the advent of shift apps on mobile phones. You simply teach it the pattern and a start date and it will repeat it forever. Even a 32 week rotation is *usually* a simple 4 or 8 week pattern with tweaks every few months (usually an extra day off).

Two things to note though. Base rosters can and do change, usually at the request of staff (in theory management can't alter a base roster without negotiation) so it might not stay the way it is forever. Also, some boxes, usually larger power boxes or IECCs have "GPR" turns including in the base roster as opposed to a standalone GPR signallers. This means that you can be given any shift with 2 weeks notice on that day, although some boxes have local agreements that certain GPR turns will be for earlies, lates, nights etc.

If you want absolute certainty of every shift you're working then you need a "resident" signallers job, that does not have GPR turns. There are plenty of them, but it will hinder your job prospects if you make it clear that's all you will accept.
 

Sunset route

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As Sunset says, rosters are on a fixed rotation - of anything up for 32 weeks+, so in theory you know what you're working ad infinitum, especially given the advent of shift apps on mobile phones. You simply teach it the pattern and a start date and it will repeat it forever. Even a 32 week rotation is *usually* a simple 4 or 8 week pattern with tweaks every few months (usually an extra day off).

Two things to note though. Base rosters can and do change, usually at the request of staff (in theory management can't alter a base roster without negotiation) so it might not stay the way it is forever. Also, some boxes, usually larger power boxes or IECCs have "GPR" turns including in the base roster as opposed to a standalone GPR signallers. This means that you can be given any shift with 2 weeks notice on that day, although some boxes have local agreements that certain GPR turns will be for earlies, lates, nights etc.

If you want absolute certainty of every shift you're working then you need a "resident" signallers job, that does not have GPR turns. There are plenty of them, but it will hinder your job prospects if you make it clear that's all you will accept.

Our roster since 2009 is probably the largest single link roster in the country*, but we do have the luxury of having fixed GPR early, late & night turns which is nice.

Rosters are all agreed at local level between the LDC reps and LOMs and are negotiating issue and not consultation issue as per the National Collective Barginning document signed by the head of Network Rail HR and the Heads of all the recognised Union. So no roster can be imposed without negotiation and if a failed to agree happens then it's passed up to second level reps and management to resolve with luck. Before coming back down to loval level for the sign off.

*There a proposed consultation to split my location into two or even three links due soon in the coming months. But all rosters when staffing levels have been agreed will still come down to local LDC reps and LOMs to agree.
 

verve76

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Just wondered to those who are working as signallers (as far as is possible with any job!) do you enjoy it and do you look forward to going into work? What do you think are the good and bad points of the job? Any particular day to day stresses or regular stressful situations?
 

TomBoyd

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2 Sep 2013
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I like it, the work/life balance is really good. I don't take anything home with me.

The pay is excellent, the holidays good, and the job is enjoyable enough to occupy me most days.

I like my colleagues, by and large the company is a good company to work for, though its obtuseness, poor management and size can be frustrating at times. I'm definitely looking to advance within the company for the rest of my life.
 

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