Are there any railway roles which don't require night working?

alexl92

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2014
Messages
2,048
Hi,
I'm considering a change of career in the next 18mo - 2 years. I would absolutely love to work on the railways, particularly as a dispatcher or guard, but with a young family it wouldn't be practical (or fair on my family)at this point in life to start a job that requires working overnight shifts or for example very early in the morning (4am starts for example).

I know this is probably a requirement of most jobs on the railway but I just wondered do any companies in the north have train or platform-based roles that wouldn't require me to regularly work outside of say, the hours of 6am - 7pm?

Thank you
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
3,549
Location
London
Lots of roles don't require night working. You are less likely to find them in operational roles (drivers, signallers, dispatchers, guards, control) will have varying levels of nights (including none) but that will be highly dependent on the role and location. Some places have a night link or similar or may only have certain staff required to do nights.

Those that do have nights may have a very rare link, or no night coverage at all (with insane early starts / late finishes instead to compensate) but as I said this will be highly variable based on depot and locations. Ultimately though it's a shift industry and has unsociable hours in operational roles which is part & parcel of the role.
 

43066

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2019
Messages
3,033
Location
London
Hi,
I'm considering a change of career in the next 18mo - 2 years. I would absolutely love to work on the railways, particularly as a dispatcher or guard, but with a young family it wouldn't be practical (or fair on my family)at this point in life to start a job that requires working overnight shifts or for example very early in the morning (4am starts for example).

I know this is probably a requirement of most jobs on the railway but I just wondered do any companies in the north have train or platform-based roles that wouldn't require me to regularly work outside of say, the hours of 6am - 7pm?

Thank you

Night working* can usually be swapped away, but I doubt you’ll find any front line operational role that allows 0600 - 1900 unless you are being accommodated (and that’s highly unlikely for a new starter). Indeed at many depots almost every shift will start/finish outside these hours.

It’s well worth considering carefully as the shift work can be very anti social and definitely isn’t for everyone. That said, many of my colleagues with young families seem to manage to balance things very well.

*in a railway context nights generally means booking on for work around 2200 and going right through until 0600 or so.
 

TheEdge

Established Member
Joined
29 Nov 2012
Messages
3,921
Location
Norwich
Night working you can avoid quite easily if you went into a heavily customer facing role like a conductor or station staff as obviously very few operators operate overnight and with the exceptions of the major stations (which at night often operate with a skeleton crew only) many stations are unstaffed at night.

But...

You will probably find it impossible to find an operational role that doesn't have very early starts or very late finishes. If that's a deal breaker for you just wipe traincrew jobs off your list now, you wont find one thats fitting your criteria. You may be able to find station roles like that, either at smaller stations with limited opening times or if you can find a job opening that is advertised as within certain hours. But you are artificially limiting your options massively. If you want to find a close to 9-5 job on the railway its either an office role or maybe some ticket office roles.
 

tiptoptaff

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2013
Messages
2,559
None of conductors at my depot work nights. In fact the majority across the region don't. There's only a handful of nights for the sleeper at another depot that only TMs do.

It obviously depends on location
 

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
3,570
Location
UK
There are plenty of jobs that don't require night work, or early starts or late finishes, but (unsurprisingly) these are overwhelmingly office-type roles. That encompasses a wide variety of roles, some will still be customer facing (e.g. ticket office), but I don't think you will find very many guard or dispatcher roles that will match those requirements.

A handful of people will manage to do shift-based roles and swap (or be in a 'link', i.e. a subsection of a depot) such that they never work unsociable hours. But with most TOCs having abolished unsociable hours premiums etc., there is less in it for others to agree to such arrangements. Often you'll find that only the longest serving people in a depot will be able to do this.

So there is no guarantee of getting such a swap, and indeed at many depots you will find that you can't swap out of some early or late shifts because they're required to maintain your diversionary route knowledge, for example.
 

Six Bells

Member
Joined
20 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
Away
My signal box closes at night, unless there is a T3 on or an out of gauge / inspection train etc to run.

Most nights however, it closes after the last train around 23:30, opening up again at 06:20.
 

alexl92

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2014
Messages
2,048
Thanks guys, you've more or less confirmed what I was expecting! Probably something for me to consider in a few years then realistically.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

bouff34

Member
Joined
6 Nov 2018
Messages
128
Thanks guys, you've more or less confirmed what I was expecting! Probably something for me to consider in a few years then realistically.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Better to ask now..... numerous stories from my previous career in the police of probationers turning up and resigning in the first few weeks as they never realised that they would have to work nights on response! Defies belief that they had never picked up on this!!
 

greatkingrat

Established Member
Joined
20 Jan 2011
Messages
2,308
Hi,
I'm considering a change of career in the next 18mo - 2 years. I would absolutely love to work on the railways, particularly as a dispatcher or guard, but with a young family it wouldn't be practical (or fair on my family)at this point in life to start a job that requires working overnight shifts or for example very early in the morning (4am starts for example).

I know this is probably a requirement of most jobs on the railway but I just wondered do any companies in the north have train or platform-based roles that wouldn't require me to regularly work outside of say, the hours of 6am - 7pm?

Thank you
Actually, many people find very early starts work well if you have a young family. If you are starting at 4/5 am you will likely be finished in time to pick the kids up from school, and then in the evening you can just go to bed at the same time as the kids!
 

whoosh

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2008
Messages
943
In addition to the above comment, there's actually quite a few drivers at my TOC who swap for nights as they see their family when they finish work for breakfast before going to bed, and the family go to work or school, and have an evening meal with them before going to work.

If you follow the shifts, you'll need an understanding partner as they are the one who's going to be lumbered with the kids, on their own, quite often.



Something like Train Planning or Delay Attribution, would be office hours.
 

sargentsiri

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2018
Messages
41
I echo some of the comments above. I came off shift recently for days (Monday - Friday) to gain my weekends back after nearly 10 years of shift work.

Fast forward 3 months & I'm trying desperately to get back on shift to allow more family time, work life balance etc - which I honestly thought would never be the case!

Shifts are simply wonderful!
 

wobman

On Moderation
Joined
2 Jan 2011
Messages
695
It sounds like an office based role would be better suited for you, you will struggle to get an operations based job with office hours.
 

12C

Member
Joined
21 Jul 2021
Messages
15
Location
Barrow in Furness
I have young children and actually find the shift work suits!
Me too, I work more or less permanent nights on a depot and find it ideal with young children. I’m home just after 7am to have breakfast with them before they go to school/nursery then up mid afternoon before they’re back. They’re usually in bed before I go to work so they often don’t even notice I’ve gone. It’s not for everyone but personally having done 9-5 in the past I know which I prefer!
 

scrapy

Established Member
Joined
15 Dec 2008
Messages
1,645
Night working* can usually be swapped away, but I doubt you’ll find any front line operational role that allows 0600 - 1900 unless you are being accommodated (and that’s highly unlikely for a new starter). Indeed at many depots almost every shift will start/finish outside these hours.
Yes definitely don't bank on being accommodated. This is usually only for those who have an unexpected change of circumstance once employed to allow you to keep on working such as having to care for a family member or a relationship breakdown leads to childcare problems.

As has been said swaps are often possible and most shifts will allow you to either take kids to school, or pick them up. Some who do nights say 10am til 7am will sleep while the kids are at school then have the evening with their partner before work.
 
Last edited:

Top