Eat & Drinking while driving

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MML-Ben

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Hi everyone.

A question I've always thought about and never known the answer to regarding eating & drinking as a driver on duty.

To me (a railway noob) common sense is you are not allowed to eat or drink while the train is moving (for obvious reasons). But what are the rules/laws regarding when at a station, is the driver allowed to have a drink of water form a bottle on a hot day, for example? Can they chew mints and or gum while driving? I've read many times that their bag should be out of reach, are they only allowed to eat when on a break? Is the rule TOC wide or do they vary by each company?
 
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MissPWay

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Hi everyone.

A question I've always thought about and never known the answer to regarding eating & drinking as a driver on duty.

To me (a railway noob) common sense is you are not allowed to eat or drink while the train is moving (for obvious reasons). But what are the rules/laws regarding when at a station, is the driver allowed to have a drink of water form a bottle on a hot day, for example? Can they chew mints and or gum while driving? I've read many times that their bag should be out of reach, are they only allowed to eat when on a break? Is the rule TOC wide or do they vary by each company?

You can eat or drink whenever you want, driving or not.

You’re expected to be professional enough to not start eating a roast dinner after passing a single yellow or coming into a station for example.
 

MML-Ben

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You can eat or drink whenever you want, driving or not.

You’re expected to be professional enough to not start eating a roast dinner after passing a single yellow or coming into a station for example.

That's interesting, I always assumed it could be a distraction.
 

43066

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Hi everyone.

A question I've always thought about and never known the answer to regarding eating & drinking as a driver on duty.

To me (a railway noob) common sense is you are not allowed to eat or drink while the train is moving (for obvious reasons). But what are the rules/laws regarding when at a station, is the driver allowed to have a drink of water form a bottle on a hot day, for example? Can they chew mints and or gum while driving? I've read many times that their bag should be out of reach, are they only allowed to eat when on a break? Is the rule TOC wide or do they vary by each company?

There’s no prohibition on eating/drinking at any time. Common sense would dictate not doing it while approaching buffer stops, for example, but when running on greens there’s no problem.
 

MissPWay

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That's interesting, I always assumed it could be a distraction.

It can be, but you’re supposed to manage distractions. So like I said, pick your moments. Cruising on greens then crack ok with your lunch box. Restrictive aspects, put your sandwich down and concentrate.
 

TheEdge

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You can eat or drink whenever you want, driving or not.

You’re expected to be professional enough to not start eating a roast dinner after passing a single yellow or coming into a station for example.

That's why I start it the travel oven cooking just as I leave my origin. It ruins the gravy though if you get a single yellow while you need to stir it.
 

LCC106

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You need to stay alert and very often this involves copious amounts of caffeine while driving after a very early (or late) start. I know some drivers who always eat at the same time of day regardless of if they’re driving the train or on a Personal Needs Break. As has been said, pick your moment wisely but I usually keep one hand next to the brake handle just in case. I have to remember not to drink while driving my car :!:
 

driver9000

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You're not going to sit there having a Sunday roast while driving but there is nothing to stop you having a sandwich and a cup of tea while driving. Many cabs even have cup holders and eating a snack or having a drink to hand is often encouraged for maintaining concentration on long journeys. I always carry a brewing up kit with me along with filling a flask with hot water before leaving the mess room. The responsibility of when it's safe to brew up or eat is down to you so you shouldn't be doing it running on cautionary aspects or approaching stations for example.
 

cakefiend

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I'm sure someone with more knowledge will correct me, but I seem to recall hearing that some locos had kettles/plate warmers inbuilt for the drivers convenience!
Some have mini hobs (tends to be only freight locos these days) but I doubt you could safely use it on the move!
 

bengley

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I once had a large Dominos BBQ Chicken pizza when working a 319 from Blackfriars to Sutton.
 

theironroad

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Hi everyone.

A question I've always thought about and never known the answer to regarding eating & drinking as a driver on duty.

To me (a railway noob) common sense is you are not allowed to eat or drink while the train is moving (for obvious reasons). But what are the rules/laws regarding when at a station, is the driver allowed to have a drink of water form a bottle on a hot day, for example? Can they chew mints and or gum while driving? I've read many times that their bag should be out of reach, are they only allowed to eat when on a break? Is the rule TOC wide or do they vary by each company?

So your driving for a couple of hours without any stops, and you expect a driver to not drink anything because the train is moving?

I'm curious as to what the "obvious reasons" are?

I should add, welcome to the madness that RF sometimes is as you seem to be a new poster. I'm sure you'll enjoy it :)
 

PudseyBearHST

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Yes, in fact drinking water or eating a piece of fruit (or anything sensible) is recommended as part of the RSSB techniques to overcome driver underload/boredom. Obviously picking the time you do so sensibly as others have already described.

You could always phone ahead and order your lunch in advance and get the likes of Deliveroo to deliver it to your cab at the precise time you arrive at your next booked stop ;)
They got it all wrong in the other thread, this is exactly what the SG button is for. Send Goods <:D

So your driving for a couple of hours without any stops, and you expect a driver to not drink any tea because the train is moving?
Fixed that for you :D Is it even possible to go without tea for 2 hours and not pass out?
 
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MML-Ben

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So your driving for a couple of hours without any stops, and you expect a driver to not drink anything because the train is moving?

I'm curious as to what the "obvious reasons" are?

I should add, welcome to the madness that RF sometimes is as you seem to be a new poster. I'm sure you'll enjoy it :)

Thanks for the welcome, my “obvious reasons” were I just thought maximum concentration was required at all times, alas not.
 

ComUtoR

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I once had a large Dominos BBQ Chicken pizza when working a 319 from Blackfriars to Sutton.

Where the hell did you put it !

I'm curious as to what the "obvious reasons" are?

Same here

You could always phone ahead and order your lunch in advance and get the likes of Deliveroo to deliver it to your cab at the precise time you arrive at your next booked stop ;)

I know a Driver who pre books a Curry and I used to know a Driver who would pre book beers for when he booked off.

There’s no prohibition on eating/drinking at any time.

When I first started, 'Cab disipline' included no food of drink in the cab. I don't remember when that was dropped from the driving policy.

Thanks for the welcome, my “obvious reasons” were I just thought maximum concentration was required at all times, alas not.

Food is a 'primary motivator'. If you were driving for an extended period and got hungry; your distraction level would increase, to the point where it would become a risk.
 

Bletchleyite

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Thanks for the welcome, my “obvious reasons” were I just thought maximum concentration was required at all times, alas not.

I must admit I'm surprised by this too. You're not even (unlike a car driver) allowed to listen to a radio, I'd think eating food (rather than just a bag of sweets or something) would have the potential for much more distraction, e.g. if you dropped your pizza down your front or a hot drink down yourself causing scalds. I'd have expected water to be allowed but not a lot else. To be fair, car drivers aren't even strictly speaking meant to drink water, though it's rarely enforced.
 

ComUtoR

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Second Man's side desk and grabbed a slice at stations!


With the little fan keeping it cool :lol:

The good thing about 700/707s is that you could probably lay out an entire sunday roast on the desk, chuck your pint in the cup holder, pop the refil in the other cup holder, and use the side tray for condiments and napkins and still never leave the chair.
 

bengley

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I must admit I'm surprised by this too. You're not even (unlike a car driver) allowed to listen to a radio, I'd think eating food (rather than just a bag of sweets or something) would have the potential for much more distraction, e.g. if you dropped your pizza down your front or a hot drink down yourself causing scalds. I'd have expected water to be allowed but not a lot else. To be fair, car drivers aren't even strictly speaking meant to drink water, though it's rarely enforced.
The difference being it's actually very difficult to drive a car while eating, but not a train. You can sometimes go for several minutes without needing to use your hands for anything.

Eating isn't really a distraction and we aren't even required to look out of the windscreen at all times (there was a RAIB report not so long ago about a train hitting a crane overhanging the track and the driver didn't see it coming because he was looking down at something. He wasn't criticised for this and the report even acknowledged that drivers aren't required to look out of the windscreen continuously unless there are known to be signals in the area to monitor)

With the little fan keeping it cool :lol:

The good thing about 700/707s is that you could probably lay out an entire sunday roast on the desk, chuck your pint in the cup holder, pop the refil in the other cup holder, and use the side tray for condiments and napkins and still never leave the chair.
Yep, that desk was fantastic for snacks and things :lol:
 

Islineclear3_1

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I must admit I'm surprised by this too. You're not even (unlike a car driver) allowed to listen to a radio, I'd think eating food (rather than just a bag of sweets or something) would have the potential for much more distraction, e.g. if you dropped your pizza down your front or a hot drink down yourself causing scalds. I'd have expected water to be allowed but not a lot else. To be fair, car drivers aren't even strictly speaking meant to drink water, though it's rarely enforced.

To be fair, trains run on a "guided way" and don't (usually) have the usual hazards of the roads such as pedestrians randomly walking out into the road or other cars pulling out suddenly in front of you causing you to brake or swerve

With the little fan keeping it cool :lol:

The good thing about 700/707s is that you could probably lay out an entire sunday roast on the desk, chuck your pint in the cup holder, pop the refil in the other cup holder, and use the side tray for condiments and napkins and still never leave the chair.

Add to that a catheter and an empty bottle at your feet and you've had your PNB on the move...
 

bengley

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To be fair, trains run on a "guided way" and don't (usually) have the usual hazards of the roads such as pedestrians randomly walking out into the road or other cars pulling out suddenly in front of you causing you to brake or swerve



Add to that a catheter and an empty bottle at your feet and you've had your PNB on the move...
Indeed. Running on greens in non complex areas there's really not a lot to worry about other than keeping a reasonable eye out for track workers. They're easy to spot normally and if they're not, it's usually because they're hiding behind bushes or structures.

And even then, they must have their own safe system of work in place. They're not to rely solely on drivers sounding their horns.
 

ComUtoR

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You're not even (unlike a car driver) allowed to listen to a radio, I'd think eating food (rather than just a bag of sweets or something) would have the potential for much more distraction.

With music/audio, you are actively listneing to it. You get distracted because you focus on the sounds. There would also be the possibility that it drowns out the other sounds in the cab. There are quite a few warning sounds in the cab so any extraneus sounds have a high risk or causing an incident.

Eating is very different. As I mentioned. Food/Hunger is a primary motivator. As your hunger increases; you start to focus and think more and more about food. A quick snack would reduce your risk. Eating is also something that is very much an unconscious behaviour. You can literally sit there and chew with little to no thought or action. Other than physically grabbing for a sandwich or cuppa your distraction from eating is pretty minimal.

Add to that a catheter and an empty bottle at your feet and you've had your PNB on the move...

Gotta love those days when you get to the PNB point and realise that you've eaten everything in your bag and got nothing left for 'Lunch'
 
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iphone76

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Personally I wouldn't eat in a cab for hygiene reasons. But that was in 315 days. I guess things are cleaner now with the 345s and covid, but still. No thanks.
 

Crossover

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I read (possibly on here) of a driver who would set up a Chinese takeaway on the desk of a HST
 

4F89

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I'm definitely gonna get a large pizza delivered to a platform tomorrow!
 

theironroad

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Yes, in fact drinking water or eating a piece of fruit (or anything sensible) is recommended as part of the RSSB techniques to overcome driver underload/boredom. Obviously picking the time you do so sensibly as others have already described.


They got it all wrong in the other thread, this is exactly what the SG button is for. Send Goods <:D


Fixed that for you :D Is it even possible to go without tea for 2 hours and not pass out?

It's just about possible to manage 2 hours but not recommended unless a going home train.

Thanks for the welcome, my “obvious reasons” were I just thought maximum concentration was required at all times, alas not.

Do you not think it's possible to fully concentrate while having a sip of water or a swig of tea.

I must admit I'm surprised by this too. You're not even (unlike a car driver) allowed to listen to a radio, I'd think eating food (rather than just a bag of sweets or something) would have the potential for much more distraction, e.g. if you dropped your pizza down your front or a hot drink down yourself causing scalds. I'd have expected water to be allowed but not a lot else. To be fair, car drivers aren't even strictly speaking meant to drink water, though it's rarely enforced.
I know the track is rough in places but most drivers can manage to swig tea from a mug that (normally) has a lid on with a sip slot. Nobody is suggesting having tea and kebab while crossing points, approaching stations, reds and cautions, while speaking with signaller or any other time of heightened alert, but it really is possible for a driver to multi task at most times.
 
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