Gb railfreight driver..PROS VS CONS?

Honkytonk

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12 Jul 2021
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Preston
Hi I am currently a passenger driver for a busy toc based in the South but have been offered an interveiw next week for a driver position with GB.
I fancy a change and a new challange but have no clue if going from passanger to freight is jumping out of the fire into the frying pan. I belive the shifts/rostering can be unpredictable and many 12 hour shifts are expected? What is overtime like? The gb conditions? Basically I'm looking for a heads up from any lads who want to give it please good or bad any info would greatly appreciated.
Thanks fellas
 
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ggbrf

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Dont do it !!!!


Im an ex Gbrf driver. Im still on freight and love it.

Pros NO passengers!!!!!!!!
 
Last edited:

tiptoptaff

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I don't know much about GBRF, but we've had quite a few ex-GBRF blokes come over in recent times and none gone the other way. Whether that's something to be said about GBRF itself or just pax v freight, I couldn't say
 

390Pilot

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Very interested to hear your thoughts ggbrf. Cant pm as havent posted. If you could pm me your views that would be helpful.
 

GB

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Dont do it !!!!

My opinions are clear about Gbrf so I won't repost them.

Im an ex Gbrf driver. Im still on freight and love it.

Pros NO passengers!!!!!!!!

Unless you have posted under different user names your only posted opinions on the matter are...(dated 7th August)

Speak to your CC rep Barry Hare and will tell you what a "white roster" is. AKA no fixed rest day pattern.

"+12 is correct, it sucks and should never have been agreed but is actually very rarely used." yep it sucks but its in your t+c`s. WHY ? was there from day one.

Maybe cos a lot of MANAGERS(drivers) are NOT in Aslef?

Travel 30min in own time. AKA 13 hour shift, Crazy stuff.

No RPS pension. Do I need to go on !!!!
But it DOES happen. Bitter? YES very !!!!

Its my mission to make shaw NO drivers moves to GBRF

Speak to Barry Hare, Aslef rep
Your on annual hours. Based on a 34.5 hours week(was better than a 2% payrise. lol)
So you can work +50 hours per week then less next week etc..

You didn't respond to the counter arguments and the majority of your complaints are weak. You certainly haven't explained why you are so bitter.

For completeness here was my response to the above.

Which depots have flexible rest day patterns? I am not aware of any in my immediate area. My rest days are fixed and where there is WTT work this is in the base roster as base turns so you should know what you are doing ahead of time...staff competency permitting. Obviously if you are at a depot with a lot of ad-hoc work then things might be a bit different regarding base turns.

Annualised hours are not a new thing and has been a part of GB from the beginning. So yes you could be rostered 50+ one week then 30 the next but it all "should" even out eventually. You seem to have forgotten that you can choose to be "managed" and if you do reach your contract target before the end of the contract year you have the right to have the rest of the time off or continue to come in as OT.

Not sure why you are getting bent out of shape over the 30 minutes own travel. It is only used when booking on/off from home to go to a remote job and is no different to commuting (in your own time) to your depot and then doing a 12 hour turn. (unless you live next to the depot).

I'm not going to pretend its all rosy, but it is certainly not as bad as you and others make out.
 

dctraindriver

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9 Jan 2017
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409
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go over to the freight side too. I think what’s stopping me in particular is the pension side of things, and while I’m not out and about on my days off on the train, occasionally it’s nice to make use of the free travel.

I know a couple of drivers who’ve moved over to us but this was a good 5 years or so when redundancies were happening in freight; one was really sad at leaving and though it had changed over the years he was there he still loved it.
 

Robsey

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26 Aug 2021
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Kent
I'm in exactly the same boat... I hate passenger transport with a passion. All the numpties queuing up at one door to get on the train when all the others are clear, all the dumb arse questions you get asked when changing ends. I've also applied for GBRF at Hoo Jct. I got the standard "if your skills match what we require, we'll be in contact", that was a couple of weeks ago now. From what I gather if you can deal with the nights and flexibility it's probably worth going for it. I guess it depends how utterly fed up you are with carting passengers around.
 

choochoochoo

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6 Aug 2013
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I'm in exactly the same boat... I hate passenger transport with a passion. All the numpties queuing up at one door to get on the train when all the others are clear, all the dumb arse questions you get asked when changing ends.

Best question I keep getting when changing ends is 'which end is going to be the front ?' when at one end of the trains there are buffer stops that they must've walked past !!!

Sorry for the thread drift.
 

BrokenSam

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18 May 2020
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North Wales
Best question I keep getting when changing ends is 'which end is going to be the front ?' when at one end of the trains there are buffer stops that they must've walked past !!!

Sorry for the thread drift.
I got "shouldn't you be driving the train?"

I'm a Guard, I was checking tickets and the train was moving...
 

GG96LFC

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29 Oct 2018
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105
I got "shouldn't you be driving the train?"

I'm a Guard, I was checking tickets and the train was moving...
I was changing ends at a station, and had not one, not two, but three passengers ask me about the trains station stops…whist stood under the station stops info board…whilst the station stops announcements were being made on the speakers ‍:rolleyes:
 

Atishyou

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1 Jan 2012
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It's swings and roundabouts, preference s etc. Some works best for some people, some better for others.

Passenger:
Set shifts, known months in advance
Free / reduced price travel
Generally won't work Christmas
TOC depending - possible limited route / traction knowledge
Can argue job security (based on historical events)
RPS pension

Freight:
You generally don't know your shifts until the week before in many cases
No free travel unless Safeguarded
Good chance of an engineering job on Xmas day
Depending on area, you may get good route and traction or you may get stuck on a particular route constantly.
Good chance of job security at the moment, but peaks and troughs
No RPS
 

Crazyb

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6 Dec 2014
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115
There loads of threads out there about pros and cons

Like I've said before, it's pending what you want....You need to look into the pension, which is really important,.... You will lose all your travel...... Saying that, some drivers are not worried about pensions and some don't use the trains for travel, anyway.

You need to speak to the LDC at that depot, or the DFC to get you a roster to show you the shifts....The depot may not have nights or early starts...Freight depots are not all about nights, which drivers are worried about. I had one week in 13 at Intermodal, the rest were days or afternoons.

Once you've looked at the roster, you need to see what impact it has on your live, especially with kids. If you have AV with a star i think in GB's roster, I think thats a ballast turn. Starting at 23:59 on a Saturday ballast for 10 hours is no good....That's why you need to speak to the depot LDC. Most guys are really friendly at GB, and will most probably help you out.

I'm not a freight driver now, but at a TOC.....TOC's wrap you up in cotton wool, but being a freight dog you get on a deal with it, something some PAX drivers can struggle with. I've seen a few, but saying that, some are still there after a number of years.

There are Pro's and Con's for everything...For me, I have much better conditions and a much higher salary, but it's boring. I also have addiction to coffee and spending money on meal deal in London!!! now which could count as a pro or a con!!, which on the freight, you will need to have a big bag of food, just in case you get stuck out.

Though I could walk straight back into the freight after spending 30 years driving round the world, my TOC has wrapped too much cotton wool round me to go back.

Put it this way, you won't be bored as it's a different day everyday.

Me personally, I would go for the interview, ask loads of questions and speak to the LDC or any drivers based at that depot.
 

whoosh

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Me personally, I would go for the interview, ask loads of questions and speak to the LDC or any drivers based at that depot.

Yes!
It's important to know that you, the interviewee, is sizing them (the company) up as well. An interview is a two-way street.
 

Dazza1212

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12 Apr 2019
Messages
6
Been a passenger driver almost 20 years before going on the freight and now after 4 years I am going back to passenger work. As stated before it really does depend on what suits your lifestyle. I have had good and bad times at both pass and freight. Passenger is better if you like to plan your social life in advance but if your happy to just work work and work and earn very good money then freight may be ok for you. I had enough of not knowing what I was doing for the next week (starting on a Sunday) until the roster came out on a Friday evening, even then by 9am on Monday morning the roster 90% of the time will have changed and will continue to change even up to about 4pm the next Friday……..Passenger rosters can change but nowhere near as much. The Freight company I worked for had a basic roster with planned rest days on but the working days were bands. You could be booked anything up to a 12 hour shift starting anytime in that band. Band A 00.01 to 08.00 Band B 08.01 to 16.00 and Band C 16.01 to 00.00 Not good for planning nights out as a band A could have you finishing as late as 20.00.
 

D5581

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7 Mar 2017
Messages
51
Hi I am currently a passenger driver for a busy toc based in the South but have been offered an interveiw next week for a driver position with GB.
I fancy a change and a new challange but have no clue if going from passanger to freight is jumping out of the fire into the frying pan. I belive the shifts/rostering can be unpredictable and many 12 hour shifts are expected? What is overtime like? The gb conditions? Basically I'm looking for a heads up from any lads who want to give it please good or bad any info would greatly appreciated.
Thanks fellas
Pros
No passengers. Different routes.
Good overtime rates
some good company perks

Cons
Poor management
Exceptionally clicky - if you're not in the click, you get all the **** work
bit of a backstabbing culture
 

Dieseldriver

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9 Apr 2012
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Not ever worked for GBRF but have worked for a freight company. Went over from a passenger company, realised I hated it and then scurried back to a passenger company. Having experienced freight I have no positive things to say about it.
 

train_lover

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2 Nov 2007
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I'm a GB driver, I absolutely love it. Compared to the TOC I used to work for they are a breath of fresh air. I'd never go back to passenger work.
 

43066

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Some excellent advice on here. It strikes me generally that freight is quite marmite and especially suits enthusiasts who enjoy playing with locos, banging and clanging etc. It also seems to vary a lot more than passenger work between FOC and even between depot (intermodal, ballast trains, stone trains are all apparently quite different) so you probably really need to speak to people at the depot you’ve applied to really understand what you’re getting in for.

I think the OP should give it a go, it’s always possible to move back to a TOC.
 

quattromatt

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Penzance
Been a passenger driver almost 20 years before going on the freight and now after 4 years I am going back to passenger work. As stated before it really does depend on what suits your lifestyle. I have had good and bad times at both pass and freight. Passenger is better if you like to plan your social life in advance but if your happy to just work work and work and earn very good money then freight may be ok for you. I had enough of not knowing what I was doing for the next week (starting on a Sunday) until the roster came out on a Friday evening, even then by 9am on Monday morning the roster 90% of the time will have changed and will continue to change even up to about 4pm the next Friday……..Passenger rosters can change but nowhere near as much. The Freight company I worked for had a basic roster with planned rest days on but the working days were bands. You could be booked anything up to a 12 hour shift starting anytime in that band. Band A 00.01 to 08.00 Band B 08.01 to 16.00 and Band C 16.01 to 00.00 Not good for planning nights out as a band A could have you finishing as late as 20.00.
Sounds FLHH to me?
 

whoosh

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3 Sep 2008
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917
There's two drivers at the TOC I work at who used to work for GBRf. Not knowing what you were doing week to week and sometimes very long shifts put them off.

The GBRf drivers I've bumped into lately seem to like it. One used to be a Shunter for them and they trained him up to be a Driver. He enjoys it even though he'd spent a large amount of time working nights in the last couple of years.
Another one used to work at my TOC for many years and left for something different. He likes the variety of it, has a four weekly rest day pattern (with two weekends off), but otherwise knows nothing about work is going to be given.
One other I met loves it, but works part-time which allows him time to run his own business - model railway signals! I suppose a variety of work and only needing to work two days a week would have many people smiling though!

One story I will share involved a Driver who left a TOC, joined GBRf and was passed out on traction quite quickly and also passed out on some routes quite quickly as well - as he'd signed a fair amount in his previous job.
Unfortunately, he had a SPAD, and because he was still in his six month probation period, they just let him go when that came to an end. He was then in the difficult position of trying to find another driving role somewhere else.

I've also heard a similar thing about a former Driver Manager at a TOC who joined them as a Driver. Something along the lines of leaving the loco brake on after coupling to the train, then changing cabs, and driving quite a number of miles with the brakes on the loco on (operated by the brake handle in the other cab).
I think that's how the tale went - it might've been a parking brake instead, but either way, he was new to locos, made a mistake, and he was out the door. Presumably that was within the probation period as well.
 

Driver0202

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There's two drivers at the TOC I work at who used to work for GBRf. Not knowing what you were doing week to week and sometimes very long shifts put them off.

The GBRf drivers I've bumped into lately seem to like it. One used to be a Shunter for them and they trained him up to be a Driver. He enjoys it even though he'd spent a large amount of time working nights in the last couple of years.
Another one used to work at my TOC for many years and left for something different. He likes the variety of it, has a four weekly rest day pattern (with two weekends off), but otherwise knows nothing about work is going to be given.
One other I met loves it, but works part-time which allows him time to run his own business - model railway signals! I suppose a variety of work and only needing to work two days a week would have many people smiling though!

One story I will share involved a Driver who left a TOC, joined GBRf and was passed out on traction quite quickly and also passed out on some routes quite quickly as well - as he'd signed a fair amount in his previous job.
Unfortunately, he had a SPAD, and because he was still in his six month probation period, they just let him go when that came to an end. He was then in the difficult position of trying to find another driving role somewhere else.

I've also heard a similar thing about a former Driver Manager at a TOC who joined them as a Driver. Something along the lines of leaving the loco brake on after coupling to the train, then changing cabs, and driving quite a number of miles with the brakes on the loco on (operated by the brake handle in the other cab).
I think that's how the tale went - it might've been a parking brake instead, but either way, he was new to locos, made a mistake, and he was out the door. Presumably that was within the probation period as well.
Find it quite hard to understand the last part of that, as if the parking brake is left on on a 66, the brake will automatically apply at 6mph or should do. For straight air, the loco would need some serious power to move if the straight air was left on, you can also clearly notice the straight air left on when you change ends as the bogey brakes dial would not drop, so to drive a few miles with the brakes on would of had to be doing low speed or clearly a bit daft not to notice the straight air was still on in the rear cab. Also leaving the brakes on you would have a general fault light, light up.
 
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Find it quite hard to understand the last part of that, as if the parking brake is left on on a 66, the brake will automatically apply at 6mph or should do. For straight air, the loco would need some serious power to move if the straight air was left on, you can also clearly notice the straight air left on when you change ends as the bogey brakes dial would not drop, so to drive a few miles with the brakes on would of had to be doing low speed or clearly a bit daft not to notice the straight air was still on in the rear cab. Also leaving the brakes on you would have a general fault light, light up.
Agree, more fool him for not checking his pressures and dials be able able smell the burning and hear the flats too
 

GB

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Everyone has left the straight air on in the other cab at least once. But it takes some doing to over power it and not notice the gauges.
 

Driver0202

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Everyone has left the straight air on in the other cab at least once. But it takes some doing to over power it and not notice the gauges.
Yep , tend to leave it on once a month at least haha , but notice always before taking power. And the the words O for **** sake come out and I huff and puff walking back to take it off .

Everyone has left the straight air on in the other cab at least once. But it takes some doing to over power it and not notice the gauges.
It’s a bit like when someone leaves the iso switch down when starting a loco up then you, o you ****ing **** lol
 

tiptoptaff

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Does anyone know what the roster/work/links/traction/routes etc is all like at Cardiff?
 

Atishyou

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Find it quite hard to understand the last part of that, as if the parking brake is left on on a 66, the brake will automatically apply at 6mph or should do. For straight air, the loco would need some serious power to move if the straight air was left on, you can also clearly notice the straight air left on when you change ends as the bogey brakes dial would not drop, so to drive a few miles with the brakes on would of had to be doing low speed or clearly a bit daft not to notice the straight air was still on in the rear cab. Also leaving the brakes on you would have a general fault light, light up.
Not sure if GB 66s have a mod, but leaving brakes on won't give a fault light. Leaving parking brake on a 66 and applying power will bring General Fault light on, but only on that loco. Equally, if parking brake has been left on on an isolated loco, you'll get no notification of it in the leading cab of the leading loco, so you'll be able to drag it.
 

Driver0202

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Not sure if GB 66s have a mod, but leaving brakes on won't give a fault light. Leaving parking brake on a 66 and applying power will bring General Fault light on, but only on that loco. Equally, if parking brake has been left on on an isolated loco, you'll get no notification of it in the leading cab of the leading loco, so you'll be able to drag it.
The general fault light was more or less regarding the parking break, and the person has not added in that there were 2 locos, just said changed cabs hence the dials should of checked the bogey brake gauge. if there was 2 locos surely a roll by should of possibly been done, they are at my location.
 

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