Driver routes

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GJEdmunds

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What is the longest route a driver could learn - and what is the maximum number of routes that can be learnt? And if a driver doesn't travel the route for six months doers he have to re-train?
 
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6Gman

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What is the longest route a driver could learn - and what is the maximum number of routes that can be learnt? And if a driver doesn't travel the route for six months doers he have to re-train?

1. Depends what you mean. Theoretically or in current practice?
2. Depends what you mean by "number of routes"/ And how you define "route"?
3. Yes (broadly) - he would "refresh" his route knowledge i.e. not restart from scratch.

Preston men sign Euston to Glasgow, 401 miles - might take some beating!
A depot like Bescot or New Street would sign a lot of routes.
 

LowLevel

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Nottingham 'local' drivers with all routes on their card sign over 400 miles of railway. I certainly do as a guard.
 

Hooligan

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Virgin East Coast drivers at Newcastle have Kings Cross to Aberdeen and Inverness, obviously not in one shift !
 

SpacePhoenix

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On a route where more then one type of traction could be used, is the traction tied into the route or signed separate from the route?
 

craigybagel

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On a route where more then one type of traction could be used, is the traction tied into the route or signed separate from the route?

At my depot, for drivers there are two links. Aside from one extra depot, there is no difference between route cards for the two links; the only difference is the more senior of the two links signs one additional type of traction (4 for the lower link, 5 for the upper).
 

ComUtoR

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New St based XC here.
Rough calculation suggests I sign 720 miles or so of routes.

I sign 185m 74c
Longest single "route" 73m 5c
Number of "routes" 9

For "route" I've tried to keep it simple and split the routes to what a layman would expect as a "route" Diversions, spurs, sidings, and multiple routes have been excluded. The technical number of routes I sign I couldn't say as its pretty high and not information I can freely access.
 

ComUtoR

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Do you have exams to obtain route knowledge?

I have a driving and written asessment

How are you trained

Various methods. Under instruction, cab rides, videos, maps, peer advice, simulator.

, and is it TOC-dependant?

Very much so. Ours is rarely under instruction (except new Drivers) and we don't use videos or the simulator. As a Driver you are trusted to go out and learn a new route independently. There are some caveats but otherwise you are expected to simply do your job professionally using all the resources available.
 

Bookd

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This may seem an odd question, but what is the position regarding sidings, loops, yards and so on. Some sidings or loops may be very rarely used, or there may be a case when a train needs to be diverted to, say, Clapham yard, in an emergency. Does the driver need to have previously driven and signed that specific track?
As an outsider I would have thought that if a driver were instructed, in such circumstances, to turn left at the next points and stop at the signal that would be safe even if he had never been there before, but would that be permitted?
 
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ComUtoR

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As an outsider I would have thought that if a driver were instructed, in such circumstances, to turn left at the next points and stop at the signal that would be safe even if he had never been there before, but would that be permitted?

Not permitted. If something happened then you would be totally liable. You would be crucified by the RAIB if anything happened. The reasons why we sign the routes (including turnbacks etc) is so that we can operate over them safely.

The safest option would be to send out someone to pilot/conduct over the route.

What would be considered an "emergency" ?
 
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Johncleesefan

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But when you sign a route you don't have to have driven every portion of track. My example is multiple holding sidings. You are assessed driving in and out but may not necessarily go into each one. You will be examined on the area though. Layout, signals, local instructions etc
 

6Gman

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But when you sign a route you don't have to have driven every portion of track. My example is multiple holding sidings. You are assessed driving in and out but may not necessarily go into each one. You will be examined on the area though. Layout, signals, local instructions etc

With the spread of bidirectional working does this create issues e.g. Liverpool - Euston VT trains normally use Plat.5 at Crewe - but could use Plat.6. If the driver finds himself signalled into Plat.6, but has never previously used that platform, is that a problem?
 

craigybagel

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With the spread of bidirectional working does this create issues e.g. Liverpool - Euston VT trains normally use Plat.5 at Crewe - but could use Plat.6. If the driver finds himself signalled into Plat.6, but has never previously used that platform, is that a problem?

Something similar to that actually happened today - damage to a set of points meant that Northern's Manchester service couldn't use platform 1 today, which they normally use for almost every departure. I know at least one service went from Platform 6.
 

theironroad

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With the spread of bidirectional working does this create issues e.g. Liverpool - Euston VT trains normally use Plat.5 at Crewe - but could use Plat.6. If the driver finds himself signalled into Plat.6, but has never previously used that platform, is that a problem?

While I don't sign Crewe, if the driver signs the station they sign the whole station normally.

However, part of signing the route knowledge is knowing which platforms can be used in order to continue the journey. If the driver is expecting to continue on, then they must be able to use a platform that can allow that after the station duties are complete. If the signaller advbises that the train is being terminated at that station, then obviously bay platforms may be appropriate. Often shunt moves within station limits are included when signing a route.
 

SpacePhoenix

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When a driver transfers from 1 link to another and the two links sign completely different routes (little or no overlap) will they do the required refreshers so as to be able to keep signing their old routes or will they allow their signing of their old routes to lapse?
 

theironroad

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When a driver transfers from 1 link to another and the two links sign completely different routes (little or no overlap) will they do the required refreshers so as to be able to keep signing their old routes or will they allow their signing of their old routes to lapse?

Depends and can vary locally and even by manager.

If the new link routes cannot be diverted via the old link routes then may not be allowed to continue to sign them.

If the managers are OK to grant refreshes and the driver happy to continue, then may be advantageous for Depot as will have additional driver for cover short work.

After 6 months of no work over route, the driver may sign off but it's mutual between driver and management in many cases.

I've know different managers in same depot, left alone same company to have different approach.
 

6Gman

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While I don't sign Crewe, if the driver signs the station they sign the whole station normally.

Well that was my assumption too until ...

Engineering Wrexham area; Cardiff-Holyhead trains diverted via Crewe.

Waiting on Plat.12, shown "on time". Departure time comes and goes - no sign.

Turns out it's sitting at Gresty Lane. Driver (Cardiff?) has seen the indicator showing 12, stopped the train - "I don't sign 12 - only 5, 6 & 7". 6 is busy, so he ends up going into 7 (a bay), relieved (by Crewe? Chester?). Then returns to Gresty Lane, reverses (again) and uses the U&D Loop to stroll past Plat.12 and off to Chester, by now significantly late.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Something similar to that actually happened today - damage to a set of points meant that Northern's Manchester service couldn't use platform 1 today, which they normally use for almost every departure. I know at least one service went from Platform 6.

I'm pretty sure there are some booked NR moves into 6 - certainly quite often see a 323 in No.6 in the evening.
 

Johncleesefan

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That seems ridiculous. Why would the entire station not be incorporated into his route knowledge. I sign a station with 15 platforms. Haven't physically used all of them but know them exactly like the ones I have used. Doesn't add up.
 

WCMLaddict

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Piccadilly is the same. Some drivers sign platforms 13/14 but not the main station. Go figure...
 

HSTfan!!!

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I figure I sign about 565 miles which is probably about average for my depot. A few men have a lot more again.
 

SpacePhoenix

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How often does it happen where the signaler routes a train onto a different route/into a different siding/platform then it turns out the driver doesn't sign where the train is being routed to?
 

axlecounter

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I presume that the UK too has adopted the european train driving license and certificate system? In the certificate should be clearly written which routes signs a driver and if he doesn't sign this or that platform.

Weird that some don't sign just some platform in a route that they sign. Could it be TOC dependent?
 

ComUtoR

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Weird that some don't sign just some platform in a route that they sign. Could it be TOC dependent?

I wouldn't say its TOC dependent. I would say its LOCATION dependent. We have a couple of stations that I only sign half of. There is also a station where there is a single platform where its unclear whether or not I sign it at its not on any "route" I sign and is used for a route that I don't sign.

There are also issues where what I am doing as the Driver becomes relevant and where the unit is going has an impact. If I was booked to TC at a certain location but the unit was routed into a through platform then there would be an issue. If the unit was being diverted and I didn't sign that diversion then I would need to leave the unit in a position where I can then take it or where it can be left safely.
 

craigybagel

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How often does it happen where the signaler routes a train onto a different route/into a different siding/platform then it turns out the driver doesn't sign where the train is being routed to?

Happened to me the other week - fortunately the junction was fitted with flashing signals so my driver knew from a long distance that the wrong route was set. Most drivers on that route and all guards sign the diversion but a small number of services are worked by drivers from a different depot that don't sign the diversion, and that was one of them.

In my experience though normally either control or station staff will check the driver and guard have the required route knowledge and then pass that message on to the box to act accordingly.
 
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