A career as a signaller

ArchangelA

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4 Feb 2020
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Coming from a background with a ton of rules and policies around security, etc. I do understand the inflexibility of it being dead-on 60 minutes. As gutting as it is to be 5 minutes out! It's just the 90 minutes bit that rubbed me up the wrong way - as an outsider/layman to the rail industry I was really looking forward to it as a new long-term venture. A lot of my previous role would have meshed perfectly with their requirements. Not to mention the wacking-great pay to go with it. Anyway that's just me whinging.

But you're right, they're only human. If the rules say 60, then, 60 it is.
One thing they WILL test if you're lucky to make it to interview is your ability to stick rigidly to the safety rules, so if it says 60 they mean 60 and not 61 lol
 
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LeGrimpeur

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26 Sep 2017
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You'd think that, and so I applied. Then I got a call saying I live "just outside an hour's drive" (1hr 05m away), but I applied on the basis it said 90 minutes...so it kind of got shrugged off because I couldn't relocate, now I am confused. I don't know if it was an oversight, or what. Just curious if 90mins was the norm for signallers.

Off-topic but they're moving to Crawley in 2022 which is less than 60min from me, but that did little good to persuade them...gutted.
Did they phone you to discuss this?
 

Densetsu

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13 Jan 2017
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Did they phone you to discuss this?

Yeah I got a call, really pleasant and whatnot but totally by surprise. I couldn't really argue my case much because at the time I couldn't recall where I saw the whole "90 minutes" thing. So I mentioned it, and I think she assumed I must have been mistaken because it was sort of shrugged off and not discussed further. Just asked if I would relocate, which suggests to me that they were probably interested in progressing me if I could.

I've sent them an email, politely asking for clarification, but it looks like I'm out the running either way! How's yours going?

Edit: typo.
 

Sunset route

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Do you get paid the shift allowances prior to being ‘passed out’ but just at the grade below?

Shift allowances are basically overtime, nights or Sundays, so unless you have to do some specific training overnight or on a Sunday - unlikely but possible, maybe to see a few possessions for example - then no, just basic pay at a grade below.

It depends on what the local management want, generally most will areas will want a trainee to do a spell of nights at the least before passing out. Once you're finished school the in-box training is all locally run and there is no national standard for it.

We are lucky enough to have a separate 16 week training roster at our location which gives all trainees early, late and nights as well as weekend work whether they move on to the 8hr or 12hr link, so they can do or see most things they need to put into proactive after leaving signalling school.
 

Trackboy

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31 Oct 2017
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Does anyone know if we get any discount to use London Underground. For e.g 75% off on PAYG oyster.
 

wingnut1982

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5 Jun 2021
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Birmingham
We are lucky enough to have a separate 16 week training roster at our location which gives all trainees early, late and nights as well as weekend work whether they move on to the 8hr or 12hr link, so they can do or see most things they need to put into proactive after leaving signalling school.
Thanks. Seems that the on the job training (and the pay that goes with it) is very much a localised arrangement that is bespoke to that location.
 

SignallerJohn

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19 Dec 2017
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But what if it says 90 minutes and you’re only 95 minutes away?

I wouldn’t want to commute 90 minutes and then do a 12 hour turn, and then have another 90 minutes to get home. And that’s without traffic or any sort of road issues if you’re driving. What if your delayed 30 minutes and you can’t relieve your colleague on time?

I’d recommend an Air BNB if you don’t want to relocate.
 

cowboysfan

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12 Oct 2020
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Somewhere
Was it 12 m FTC or 2yrs they recruited you on? How the rest of your cohort get on? did they get jobs?
I was employed on a 12month FTC but now have a perm role which I am waiting for my current LOM to give a release date for. I think out of the 10 people in my cohort 2 already had perm roles, 8 of us were all 12 month FTC we passed out around Feb and I think 1 left the railway after training and 3-4 others now have perm roles and I believe for the rest they have a mix of secondments but yet to find a perm role.
 

ArchangelA

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4 Feb 2020
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West Midlands
I was employed on a 12month FTC but now have a perm role which I am waiting for my current LOM to give a release date for. I think out of the 10 people in my cohort 2 already had perm roles, 8 of us were all 12 month FTC we passed out around Feb and I think 1 left the railway after training and 3-4 others now have perm roles and I believe for the rest they have a mix of secondments but yet to find a perm role.
Whats the possibility of the ones without perm jobs being made jobless-or doesnt it work that way?
 

HamSandwich

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19 May 2020
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50
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Earth
Whats the possibility of the ones without perm jobs being made jobless-or doesnt it work that way?
Where I am, those without permanent jerbs are currently seconded where there are staff off sick and not enough relief cover, we were all told the chances of being made jobless at the end of the 12 months were incredibly slim as Network Rail have spent £££ training us up. I'm very fortunate in having a permanent role, even if it's a grade 1.
 

ArchangelA

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How long have you spent on a reserve list before being offered a signaller job? How long after this was the medical? How long after that was signalling school?
 

EGPWS#2

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19 Aug 2020
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Hampshire
Guys, I have been sent a contract for the signaller role and I have not seen any 12 months commitment requirement written within the terms. Therefore, surely, this “unwritten” rule can not be enforced or it will lead to grievances being submitted against the LOCs.
Too late and too tired to check but…iirc the contract you sign when you start signalling school, on day one, mentiones the 12 month commitment. I’ll check tomorrow. Whilst it may not be legally binding I would caution against upsetting people on your way up/around as those very peoples paths you cross you may have to cross again.

Coming from a background with a ton of rules and policies around security, etc. I do understand the inflexibility of it being dead-on 60 minutes. As gutting as it is to be 5 minutes out! It's just the 90 minutes bit that rubbed me up the wrong way - as an outsider/layman to the rail industry I was really looking forward to it as a new long-term venture. A lot of my previous role would have meshed perfectly with their requirements. Not to mention the wacking-great pay to go with it. Anyway that's just me whinging.

But you're right, they're only human. If the rules say 60, then, 60 it is.
Yes. If it says 60 then as you say, that is what is is. If you want the job state that you’ll relocate. But be warned, fatigue management is a hot potato. Likewise I was from an industry where fatigue management was hot hot hot. My personal advice is if it’s 12 hour shifts bunk as close as you can, 8 hour shifts not much further away. You’ll be better rested and safer, not to mention a better work:life balance.

What do you mean by "accurate"? If that's what the advert says, that's what it will be.
Yet another reply where I wish I could add an emoji. Well said.

Yeah I got a call, really pleasant and whatnot but totally by surprise. I couldn't really argue my case much because at the time I couldn't recall where I saw the whole "90 minutes" thing. So I mentioned it, and I think she assumed I must have been mistaken because it was sort of shrugged off and not discussed further. Just asked if I would relocate, which suggests to me that they were probably interested in progressing me if I could.

I've sent them an email, politely asking for clarification, but it looks like I'm out the running either way! How's yours going?

Edit: typo.
Ahhhh. Repent at leisure and all that. Should have said yes dear chap and given yourself time to reappraise the implied offer. Saying yes would have unlocked the door for you, leaving you the option to either open or close it.
 
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Densetsu

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13 Jan 2017
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7
Too late and too tired to check but…iirc the contract you sign when you start signalling school, on day one, mentiones the 12 month commitment. I’ll check tomorrow. Whilst it may not be legally binding I would caution against upsetting people on your way up/around as those very peoples paths you cross you may have to cross again.


Yes. If it says 60 then as you say, that is what is is. If you want the job state that you’ll relocate. But be warned, fatigue management is a hot potato. Likewise I was from an industry where fatigue management was hot hot hot. My personal advice is if it’s 12 hour shifts bunk as close as you can, 8 hour shifts not much further away. You’ll be better rested and safer, not to mention a better work:life balance.


Yet another reply where I wish I could add an emoji. Well said.


Ahhhh. Repent at leisure and all that. Should have said yes dear chap and given yourself time to reappraise the implied offer. Saying yes would have unlocked the door for you, leaving you the option to either open or close it.

Yeah, I did wonder afterwards about just saying yes to relocating, but if I know I can't do it I didn't feel like lying would have got me anywhere. I figured they could just ask for proof of my "new" address, and I'd look like a right deceptive idiot down the line! Possibly ruining any chances etc. (I just don't know how it all works right now). Just didn't sit right with me.

Turns out there is some confusion going on in HR (so they say). They're checking with management because the advert said 90 minutes - basically if the shifts are 8 hours long at Victoria, that's correct. If they're 12 hours long, then the 60 minute rule applies.

HR were well alright about it, though. Very friendly, and it's nice they seem to be getting to the bottom of it. I'm resigned to being withdrawn anyway, but slightly hopeful that it does indeed turn out to be 90 minutes. Even though I know most(?) ROCs are 12 hour shifts, I thought I read somewhere that Victoria ASC was 8. We shall see I suppose...
 
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Mbgjones

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28 Aug 2021
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Hello Everyone. Some valuable info in here. Really helped
Just wanted to ask if anyone has any idea what’s checked in the medical, and if there are any height/weight restrictions?
 

ArchangelA

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4 Feb 2020
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West Midlands
Hello Everyone. Some valuable info in here. Really helped
Just wanted to ask if anyone has any idea what’s checked in the medical, and if there are any height/weight restrictions?
Eyesight including colour vision, blood pressure, drugs and alcohol urinary test, height and weight, mobility, and a general chat about medical history I believe. Not sure if they penalise people who are overweight- bloody hope not lol

Eyesight including colour vision, blood pressure, drugs and alcohol urinary test, height and weight, mobility, and a general chat about medical history I believe. Not sure if they penalise people who are overweight- bloody hope not lol
Oh and hearing!

I managed to get through it with a BMI north of 35 and ears full of wax. I was a bit concerned beforehand about these but no problems at all, don’t sweat it!
I've had one too many pies personally, do you think this would go against me when I have my signaller medical as my own BMI is fairly high to?.
 
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Kraken

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22 Mar 2020
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Lincolnshire
I've had one too many pies personally, do you think this would go against me when I have my signaller medical as my own BMI is fairly high to?.
Nah, as long as you can do the mobility tests adequately (in my case that was kneeling down and standing up again and twisting my body round, really basic) and your blood pressure isn’t too high you’ll be fine. He didn’t even mention my BMI and it’s pretty, cough, *generous*. Blood pressure being neither too high nor low seems to be the major concern even once you are in, for some bizarre reason they don’t seem to want people who might pass out when on their own in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, unless you can barely walk you’re so fat it’s nothing to worry about.
 

Highlandspring

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I‘ve come home today to an unwelcome surprise in the form of a citation letter for jury service, which I’ve never done before. Obviously I‘ll need to pass it on to the roster clerk but does anyone here know how it works for payment? Do I have to take my chances claiming it back from the court or will NR pay me as usual? The first two days of it will be my booked rest days to complicate matters.
 

ArchangelA

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I‘ve come home today to an unwelcome surprise in the form of a citation letter for jury service, which I’ve never done before. Obviously I‘ll need to pass it on to the roster clerk but does anyone here know how it works for payment? Do I have to take my chances claiming it back from the court or will NR pay me as usual? The first two days of it will be my booked rest days to complicate matters.
You should be able to claim it back from the court as expenses

Nah, as long as you can do the mobility tests adequately (in my case that was kneeling down and standing up again and twisting my body round, really basic) and your blood pressure isn’t too high you’ll be fine. He didn’t even mention my BMI and it’s pretty, cough, *generous*. Blood pressure being neither too high nor low seems to be the major concern even once you are in, for some bizarre reason they don’t seem to want people who might pass out when on their own in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, unless you can barely walk you’re so fat it’s nothing to worry about.
Noooo I didnt eat THAT many pies but Im carrying a bit of middle aged spread these days. Call it cuddly lol
 

bouff34

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6 Nov 2018
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I‘ve come home today to an unwelcome surprise in the form of a citation letter for jury service, which I’ve never done before. Obviously I‘ll need to pass it on to the roster clerk but does anyone here know how it works for payment? Do I have to take my chances claiming it back from the court or will NR pay me as usual? The first two days of it will be my booked rest days to complicate matters.
NR should pay you as normal.. comes under Special Leave:

Jury service
  • You can take paid time off work at your basic rate of pay if you're called for jury service.
    You must tell your line manager the dates you’ll be required to attend court as soon as you get the jury summons.
    If your jury service goes on for longer than planned, you must let your line manager know and keep in regular contact while you're away. (Copied from Connect)


You are unlikely to get anything back for the lost rest days and equally if you are rostered to work the weekend will be expected to work (I guess an exception would have to be made if you fall foul of the 13 day rule though?)
 
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Trothy

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22 May 2013
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I‘ve come home today to an unwelcome surprise in the form of a citation letter for jury service, which I’ve never done before. Obviously I‘ll need to pass it on to the roster clerk but does anyone here know how it works for payment? Do I have to take my chances claiming it back from the court or will NR pay me as usual? The first two days of it will be my booked rest days to complicate matters.

Network Rail will pay you your basic rate of pay. Not sure what happens with Sundays // RD's though. I'd imagine you could claim payment for Mon-Fri Rest Days from the court as loss of earnings.

I don't think anyone here whose done it worked Saturdays or Sundays, but neither were they able to claim any payment for them. (Either from the court or Network Rail)
 

Sunset route

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I‘ve come home today to an unwelcome surprise in the form of a citation letter for jury service, which I’ve never done before. Obviously I‘ll need to pass it on to the roster clerk but does anyone here know how it works for payment? Do I have to take my chances claiming it back from the court or will NR pay me as usual? The first two days of it will be my booked rest days to complicate matters.

I lost a Sunday but they chucked in a buckshee rest day without me asking so I was happy as it was two weeks away from the panels.

For those that can claim court expenses (which I couldn’t as we are still paid by NR), travel or car parking they are not worth much and as an old safe guarded ex BR employee I still had my residential travel which covered my train journey to and from court so I couldn’t even claim travel expenses either.
 

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