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Alonzo Harris

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Hi, not sure if posting in the right section so sorry if not but was wondering if being a train driver is good in general and would you recommend it to someone coming out of school who doesn't know what to do?

Is it only an interesting job if you like trains?

Good money, generally no weekends and only 4days a week?
 
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33056

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Good money, generally no weekends and only 4days a week?
No doubt some of the drivers on here will be able to enlighten you about various aspects of the job but where on earth did you get the idea that they don't work weekends :shock:

If you don't want to work weekends (or shifts including late evenings / nights) then I would forget about any job on the operational railway.
 

Alonzo Harris

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Does that depend on the company? Other than that is it a good job without liking trains? Are the hours good for that pay?
 

Gemz91

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Does that depend on the company? Other than that is it a good job without liking trains? Are the hours good for that pay?

Some companies might be on 36 hours, but its almost the same. I don't particularly have an interest in trains, sometimes I love my job, other times I hate it.

Pays good, yes I admit that. But working weekends and evenings suck. If I'm on late turns I can go all week without seeing my partner at times (not always a bad thing). If I start work at 3am, I'll be in bed at 7 at night, so can't have friends round in the evening. Often struggle to book time off at weekends for birthdays, weddings or football esp during summer months (someone from a different depot will no doubt be along soon to tell me they have no problems booking time off). If you have kids, you'll miss alot of them growing up when your working evenings, not have chance to put them to bed and so on.

But you have to be 21 to drive trains, so if you're just leaving school, you've still got fair few years to kill before you can apply to be a driver. And in my experiance the ones who do it for the money are the ones who hate the job the most.
 

Alonzo Harris

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Thanks for the replies, out of interest what would you be doing if you could start again at 19? How long does training take/cost to become a driver?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Also maybe a stupid question like you said you work away from home all week sometimes is there a way to work a circuit or any way to be home every night like work earl am for few hours then work again after break and be home by 4/5pm?
 

Gemz91

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If I was 19 I'd be getting a trade like a plumber or a bricky! But if you want a job on the railways, theres other roles such as gateline staff or platform staff that would give you experience. Take a bit of time to look at other topics on the forum and what other jobs people have been applying for to give you more of an idea. I worked in a kitchen before the railways, think that helped me getting on the trains, alot of similarities, safety, following procedures and so on.

My training took round a bit a year, was round about 5 months in the classroom, then 7 months learning routes and driving trains with a mentor driver. The railway companies pay for all the training, and in fact you get paid whilst your training so not a bad thing.

I don't work away from home, all my shifts start and finish at my home depot. Just some weeks I start work mid afternoon, and finish at midnight. So by the time I get home my partner is in bed, then by the time I've woken up shes already gone out to work, then when shes got home I've gone to work.

In general, the railways are a very good job to get on, but its hard to get into.
 

Economist

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As Gemz91 says, get an apprenticeship, you should be able to gain a trade debt free whilst earning something in the meantime. These days, I would only go to university for Medicine, or Law/Mathematics at a top 10 university. Get interesting/safety critical hobbies, they can be useful at the Multi-Modal Interview you'll have to go through to become a driver.

Don't pin your hopes on a train driving role, you only get two attempts to pass the aptitude tests, I was lucky and passed on the first attempt. It is possible with a bit of aptitude and many, many hours of research.

The bit I'm having difficulty with are the Driver Manager Interviews, this is where you start competing against the other candidates. I'm in my early/mid twenties and much of the competition is thirties/forties and ex-military/emergency services. Those types have much more life experience than I do, which makes it rather challenging. Gemz, based on your username, I assume you got into driving fairly young though you were an internal applicant I think?
 
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ComUtoR

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Is it only an interesting job if you like trains

I have zero interest in trains. I don't know many Drivers that do. It's a just a job to most of us.

Your comment about weekends was pretty accurate. I've had the last 3 weekends off <D Even when I'm early shift on a Saturday I still feel like I've had the weekend off !
 

trentside

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I have zero interest in trains. I don't know many Drivers that do. It's a just a job to most of us.

I find there's more "closet" cranks than you'd think in the ranks, but of course it varies by depot.

From my point of view, I spend less time on the railway as a hobby now I work on trains - simply for the fact I see enough of them at work.
 

Gemz91

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Gemz, based on your username, I assume you got into driving fairly young though you were an internal applicant I think?

Yes, I was internal, but 91 isn't my year of birth, nor is it my age!

On the side of experience, I've always thought volunteering with someone like the St Johns Ambulance would give you good experience for applying for a train drivers job.
 
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Vtdriver

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Another one who has no interest in trains whatsoever. Apart from trains that I've driven I couldn't tell you what class a train is that passes.

As for the job, I love it. The only real downside is the shift work, and even that has it's benefits. Doing your shopping on a Tuesday morning, going to the gym before work when it's nice and quiet etc. But it does have a big impact on your social life and if you're not careful your health.

You're too young for the driving grade right now so plenty of time to research it and try something else for a while.
 
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Economist

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Yes, I was internal, but 91 isn't my year of birth, nor is it my age!

Sorry, it now makes sense.

On the side of experience, I've always thought volunteering with someone like the St Johns Ambulance would give you good experience for applying for a train drivers job.

Thanks for the advice on this one, it's definitely something I'll consider doing, either that or working as a Special Constable. In my spare time I do a bit of flying, whilst the examples are fantastic for the technical side (emergencies, rule-following etc.) when I've been asked people-questions, such as about delivering bad news, I've had to rely on my day job which isn't great for that sort of stuff.
 

Vtdriver

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Yes, a train driver has been found competent to drive over network rail infrastructure and can therefore apply to work anywhere in the country for another TOC. A tube driver could only apply for a trainee driver role.

Also, and I may be wrong so if a tube driver colleague could confirm, but I believe most tube lines are automatic, so you won't be doing hands on driving as such rather monitoring and ready to operate the brake and doing doors. As a Train Driver you will be driving (for now at least!)
 

trentside

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Also, and I may be wrong so if a tube driver colleague could confirm, but I believe most tube lines are automatic, so you won't be doing hands on driving as such rather monitoring and ready to operate the brake and doing doors. As a Train Driver you will be driving (for now at least!)

Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern are automatic.

The remainder are still manually driven for the time being.
 

Alonzo Harris

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one last thing I had to ask was for tubes do you join as a customer assistant and work your way up before applying and getting trained whereas for trains how does it work? Where could I find a course? Thanks
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Anyone help?
 

bookat1892

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Hi
I have my first assessement for trainee driver with Londonmidland next week and I would really appreciate some advice from anyone on here that has been in a similar situation
Thanks in advance
 

Economist

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On the tube, you would generally need to join as a CSA first, though there have been a few direct-entry Night Tube drivers recently. I think they took on some ex-forces folk as direct entry in the not-too distant past. The tube lines are becoming increasingly ATO, there are plans for the District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines to use ATO by 2020 (might be earlier).

I doubt the mainline will become particularly dependant on ATO in the near future, with certain short sections being the exception. Additionally, ASLEF are one of the stronger unions and I doubt there would be mass redundancies of drivers across the network if that is what your worried about.

Bookat1892, what depot is it you've gone for? There is quite a few details on here re: assessment. Personally, I'd say the Group Bourdon and MMI are the toughest bits, those are what I revised for the most and when I sat them, I passed.
 
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