Best TOC to work for (Guard)

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by MrGray, 2 Jun 2015.

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  1. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Any guards, fancy discussing which TOC is the best to work for and why etc?

    Want to focus on Southern, or the TOC's that run similar lines. Including South West etc etc.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. scott118

    scott118 Member

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    No longer interested in AGA, Norwich, by the looks of things..;)
     
  3. red2005

    red2005 Member

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    Hard to say really unless you've worked for multiple toc's and even then it's down to opinion I suppose!.....I've worked for 2 and I found LM great to work for!! Rubbish work but treated fantastically well by the company!
     
  4. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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  5. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Just exploring my options really. I love Norwich since that's my home town, but I quite like it down here in the south. And the Class 377's are too gorgeous to leave unless needed. scott118

    I want to really gain an understanding of the best company from people employed by them. Since there are quite a few to choose from!
     
  6. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    I find FGW on balance to be pretty good. No major complaints about anything that's unliveable with.
     
  7. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Looking at London Midland, how come they wont accept people that have been treated for near sightedness? I've just gotten glasses for being near sighted (im not totally blind, it's just pretty fuzzy over longer distances)

    Just wondering why that was?
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's not an issue if you have glasses, it's laser surgery, which I believe is currently a bar to a safety critical role (at least driver/guard) on all TOCs?
     
  9. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    I would guess the intercity TOCs. Virgin pay the most and with lots of running time between stops it gives plenty of down time once ticket checks are complete.
     
  10. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    I get its fine if you have glasses. But I would have thought laser eye surgery would have been better as it's a perminant fix?

    And I did look at Virgin, but they only recruit internally.
     
  11. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    That isn't true - their campaign a couple of months ago saw some TM positions offered to external applicants.
     
  12. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Oh really? Was just going by what was on the website. May give Virgin a go then.
     
  13. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    It's more to do with the risk that the surgery could affect your eyesight later in life (as I understand it). However this rule could change soon, the military (more specifically the Royal Marines) now accept candidates who have had laser eye surgery when it's been previously banned.

    Sout West Trains are pretty good to work for, we have two grades. Commercial and Non-Commercial and the pay for Commercial guards is second only to Virgin WC. The work is also pretty secure for the next decade at the least too.
     
  14. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    What's the difference between the two? I was looking at SW, would deffo be an option.
     
  15. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Non-Commercial Guards do not have ticket machines and thus earn less, their route and traction knowledge isn't as 'exciting' their Commercial counterparts either. It's considered to be a junior grade to the Commercial Guard post.
     
  16. whoosh

    whoosh Member

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    Virgin West Coast have a 42 hour week though, which is why they 'pay the most' compared to everyone else who are mostly on a 35/37 hour week.

    I used to work for an Intercity operator (as a Driver). Part of a Regional Railways franchise was merged with the Intercity one. When this happened there were 'Train Managers' on the ex-Intercity part (on a 35 hour week), and 'Senior Conductors' on the ex-Regional Railways work (on a 37 hour week). There were quite a few Train Managers who went over to being Senior Conductors on a lower salary and a two hour longer working week. They loved it as they got commission on the tickets they sold as a Senior Conductor; got proper breaks (PNBs), and best of all, didn't have first class passengers moaning about no catering or no tea and coffee because of a broken boiler or whatever, as the trains they were now on were all standard class with no buffet or trolley or anything - nice and simple. Plus most of the trains they now worked had no seat reservations - so no arguments over whether advance tickets were valid.
    One of them said to me, "No more First Class passengers looking down their nose at me, it's a different clientele. This lot are just pleased when a train turns up!"

    So Intercity isn't necessarily the best!
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  17. HLE

    HLE Member

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    Plenty of London midland drivers/guards wear glasses.

    Laser eye surgery is a different kettle of fish though
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  18. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    Very good points. The most prestigious jobs are not always the best.
     
  19. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    That's true. Trouble is I don't want to keep wearing glasses as they keep getting in the way. So I would prefer laser surgery. But I don't want it to discount me any jobs.

    And do you have to start as a non commercial or is it role dependant?
     
  20. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    It depends on the TOC. Very few TOCs have non commerical roles now. SWT and perhaps Merseyrail are the ones I can think of.
     
  21. amateur

    amateur Member

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    Where contact lenses. Carry your glasses with you in case
     
  22. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Depends on the depot, if you go to one with both grades you would most certainly have to start as a non commercial guard.
     
  23. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    I guess it just depends on the employer about laser surgery. I could get contacts I suppose and have my specs handy. They're just a pain.

    And which routes do you sign Monty?
     
  24. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Mainline routes mainly, if you were to start as a non commercial guard at Waterloo you would sign the suburban routes mostly.
     
  25. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Since I'm not totally au fait with the mainline routes. Any examples?
     
  26. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    Main line routes go out of London. I think from Waterloo they would be

    Waterloo to Guildford/ Portsmouth

    Basingstoke/Southampton/Bournemouth/Weymouth

    Salisbury/Exeter.

    Oh and the Alton line.
     
  27. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Oooh I see. Obviously waterloo would be the best option. But either way it would a commute in to the centre of London to start work if working for any TOC other than Southern.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    And what's the pay like for South West?
     
  28. E&W Lucas

    E&W Lucas Established Member

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    You've given Coulsdon as your location. IIRC, that means that getting onto the thameslink route should be easy. If so, then you can easily consider depots north of the Thames too. You'll find that most central London staff commute.

    I wouldn't worry too much about "sexy" routes or trains. They all become much of a muchness after a while, whatever grade you are in. Look at the day to day reality of the job. Shift pattern, ease of getting to work, etc. If you thrive on interaction with people, this is a role for you. Most of what the employers are interested in is customer service skills/ experience/ aptitude.

    Depending on how it compares to what you're doing at the moment, getting in via the platform/ despatch role might be an option worth investigating too. In many ways a similar job, except that you get cold!
     
  29. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    377s are pretty good, but to be honest there are a lot of decent trains to work around the network. And what you see from a passenger perspective often doesn't match the reality as a guard/conductor. For example, a lot of passengers are rather indifferent to Southern Class 455s, but they can be fairly nice to work as a conductor (on the rare occasions that you would, and for Selhurst/Horsham train crew depots only). And remember that working 377s does have the negative that they are often in very long formations (eg. 10-12 coaches), so you spend a lot of time running up and down to the correct dispatch positions at stations without making much commission through selling tickets. The conductor role is very complex and basing it on a specific type of train can be a bit iffy, except for the really obvious (I mean, I can't imagine many people wanting to ride around on Pacers all day if they had the choice).

    Coulsdon (Town or South) stations have easy access to trains to East Croydon for Thameslink during the day, and night buses to Purley for Southern services overnight. The easiest crew depots to access would be Selhurst, Victoria, Redhill, and maybe some of the intercity route London depots if they are within the specified travelling time.

    You could also drive to Selhurst or Redhill depots quite easily, but others would be best accessed by train.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  30. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    Yeah the sexy trains kind of thing is just a personal like of the trains. I know it's all basically the same role and so on so forth.

    I don't mind commuting either to be fair. Living in Coulsdon (Might soon be Crawley, or another close town) isn't a problem for pretty much every route you can find. (Except for Liverpool Street - Norwich with AGA)

    And that's a point with Southern. Long ass formations.

    I'm researching some of the other TOC's that go farther afeild too, but obviously London depots are going to be priority as don't really want to move too far from the south as I'm getting roots here.

    Any thoughts/feelings/experience working with TOC's and on the different sets, routes etc would be much appreciated.

    I love customer service as I've always loved the feeling i've made someones day a little bit better. Atm I work in an office and rarely go out to events where I have a little Close Protection team leader role (although not licenced activity, it's mainly supervising the team with a "celebrity") so that is massivley customer service orientated.

    Previous experience with customer service was at a hotel in Norwich where I was the assistant to the Ops manager (The person under the General Manager) and that had a very customer facing role etc. So as annoying as the public is, I don't mind working with them.

    In a job where you can interact with people every day and basically play trains as a job. And as a bit of a train geek, who wouldn't love that?
     
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