Guards on SWT

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chrisg

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Was talking to a lovely SWT guard at Walton-on-Thames and mentioned a pet peeve of mine which is guards on SWT trains who spend the whole journey in the rear cab of the train. I've seen people walk the whole length of the train to find a guard and assumed that the voice making announcements was the driver. The other day at Earlsfield whilst the train was pulling out and saw the guard in the rear cab go back to reading his paper!

The guard I was chatting to at Walton-on-Thames said that the guards aren't supposed to do that and should be available on the train for customers to speak to. Is that correct? Most people wouldn't think of peering out of the doors while the train is in a station to spot the guard and even if they did they wouldn't be able to get to him in the cab anyhow. Quite the opposite of Southern where the guard is always near a set of doors or somewhere in a carriage. Surely I can't be the only one who is annoyed by this!
 
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PinzaC55

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Do SWT guards get ticket commission? In the 1990's they (we) were only classed as Trainmen G's and not allowed to do tickets.
 

Robinson

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Got to be honest, that hasn't been my experience of SWT guards. On the trains I get (usually Waterloo-Southampton), we nearly always see the guard walking through the train at some point during the journey.
 

CC 72100

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Slightly off topic, but always wondered this and it seems like a good opportunity to ask: What is the difference in a 'normal' SWT guard and a non-commercial one? How do the roles differ? Just curious... ;)
 
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Bellwater

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A mate of mine who's an Ex Guard on SWT used to make an announcement saying he would be coming through the Train if the passengers needed him(a la XC/EC/MML).

The Guard sat in the back cab may have just done a walk through a couple of minutes ago, we don't know.

To answer Pinza, SWT Commercial Guards. Who do revenue get commission, SWT suburban Guards who don't, don't.
 

chrisg

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A grumpy SWT inspector sold me a ticket earlier today after I had to spend a while finding him. Conversation was thus:

Me: Can I buy a ticket from you please?

Him: You realise supposed to buy it before you board - why didn't you?

Me: Because the station was closed and the ticket machine was out of order.

Him: Oh. Ok then.

He realised he didn't have the right change (he owed me 5p) and said "I don't have any 5p coins....." to which I replied "you'll have to overpay me then" and he grudgingly did.

I don't expect the staff anywhere to be singing "Oh, what a beautiful morning" and dancing like a lunatic, but there is a fine line between being grumpy and being rude.
 

ralphchadkirk

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My only experience is travelling on SWT's Desiros, where the Guard always announces where they are and 99% of the time walks through the train. They also have to be in passenger accommodation (usually) to operate the doors.
 

chrisg

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A mate of mine who's an Ex Guard on SWT used to make an announcement saying he would be coming through the Train if the passengers needed him(a la XC/EC/MML).

The Guard sat in the back cab may have just done a walk through a couple of minutes ago, we don't know.

To answer Pinza, SWT Commercial Guards. Who do revenue get commission, SWT suburban Guards who don't, don't.

It's always been suburban guards who hide in the cab. I sat deliberately next to the rear cab in order to monitor the guard and he didn't move down the train from Weybridge to Waterloo, so I know he didn't walk down the train.

Even if he did a walk through though, I still feel they should be out in the train in case someone needs assistance or wants to ask a question. Much more useful to the travelling public then sitting in the cab!
 

Matt Taylor

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It's always been suburban guards who hide in the cab. I sat deliberately next to the rear cab in order to monitor the guard and he didn't move down the train from Weybridge to Waterloo, so I know he didn't walk down the train.


Was this Weybridge via Surbiton or was it via Staines?
 

jopsuk

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chrisg, it isn't your place to go around "testing" members of rail staff. Doing so is likely to make you unpopular, doubly so if you recount the details on a public forum
 

chrisg

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chrisg, it isn't your place to go around "testing" members of rail staff. Doing so is likely to make you unpopular, doubly so if you recount the details on a public forum

Unpopular with whom?

And I've paid for the service so I'm free to silently observe what goes on around me. When I report my concerns to SWT (as I have on several occasions), I have always been thanked for my feedback. I certainly don't "test" members of rail staff, I don't interfere with or have any interaction with them.

Similarly, I'm not mentioning any names or specifics that could be used to identify any named person (although my feedback to SWT has) so I don't see how anybody could have a problem with it.
 

ANorthernGuard

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chrisg, it isn't your place to go around "testing" members of rail staff. Doing so is likely to make you unpopular, doubly so if you recount the details on a public forum

Maybe we should "Test" passengers and see if I pick an individual at random and see if they have followed "Every part of the Nrcoc" <D

seriously though do some people actually get some perverse pleasure doing that or does it give them a feeling of power, if you feel that a member of staff has not done their job correctly before going to the powers at be at least try and find out why, i got complained about a few years back by someone at the front of one of my trains saying I had not sold him a ticket a quick glance at my machine by a CTM got a sigh and an apology (it was that packed I only got the rear set done), if someone is being lazy on a regular basis fair enough but without knowledge of a real reason its hardly a nice thing to do.
 

Bellwater

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Maybe we should be noting the Buisness Cards in Season Ticket Wallets and going to 'monitor' the people on them..

That's all I will say before it flares up.
 

chrisg

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Maybe we should "Test" passengers and see if I pick an individual at random and see if they have followed "Every part of the Nrcoc" <D

seriously though do some people actually get some perverse pleasure doing that or does it give them a feeling of power, if you feel that a member of staff has not done their job correctly before going to the powers at be at least try and find out why, i got complained about a few years back by someone at the front of one of my trains saying I had not sold him a ticket a quick glance at my machine by a CTM got a sigh and an apology (it was that packed I only got the rear set done), if someone is being lazy on a regular basis fair enough but without knowledge of a real reason its hardly a nice thing to do.

I hear you. :)

I'm not trying to "pick on" SWT staff - if I only ever saw the odd guard stuck at the back I wouldn't care. But myself and my commuting buddies have all noticed that most of the guards regularly never appear. It's clearly an issue as the SWT guard I chatted to at Walton-on-Thames knew about it and agreed it wasn't what should be happening.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Maybe we should be noting the Buisness Cards in Season Ticket Wallets and going to 'monitor' the people on them..

That's all I will say before it flares up.

Not quite the same though - I don't care what SWT staff do whilst they are not at work, but SWT invite feedback through various channels and I see nothing wrong with giving it, the response from them has never been negative.
 

scotsman

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myself and my commuting buddies have all noticed that most of the guards regularly never appear. It's clearly an issue as the SWT guard I chatted to at Walton-on-Thames knew about it and agreed it wasn't what should be happening.


Making sure that your fare money is being well used?

Perhaps I should find your occupation and make sure that my (or your customers') money is being well spent, then report my concerns to your employer?
 

Matt Taylor

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I am a non-commercial guard on both Weybridge routes, I am also moving to a commercial position in a few weeks time so I am probably in a greater position than anyone else to provide answers to some of the questions posted here. I am happy to answer questions, but I will not sit here in my spare time and be lectured by somebody who knows little about the job. I'm also not going to bite the bait that has been carefully placed here.

Hopefully the thread will be moderated properly so we can have a proper discussion and I can add my input.
 

Tomonthetrain

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I am a non-commercial guard on both Weybridge routes, I am also moving to a commercial position in a few weeks time so I am probably in a greater position than anyone else to provide answers to some of the questions posted here. I am happy to answer questions, but I will not sit here in my spare time and be lectured by somebody who knows little about the job. I'm also not going to bite the bait that has been carefully placed here.

Hopefully the thread will be moderated properly so we can have a proper discussion and I can add my input.

well said that man. You know what your job entails so you do it. I wonder how many people who complain about guards have actually been a guard themselves
 

DarloRich

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I hear you. :)

I'm not trying to "pick on" SWT staff - if I only ever saw the odd guard stuck at the back I wouldn't care. But myself and my commuting buddies have all noticed that most of the guards regularly never appear. It's clearly an issue as the SWT guard I chatted to at Walton-on-Thames knew about it and agreed it wasn't what should be happening.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Not quite the same though - I don't care what SWT staff do whilst they are not at work, but SWT invite feedback through various channels and I see nothing wrong with giving it, the response from them has never been negative.

Where do you work pal? Shall we all come and silently monitor you. did you have an extra 5 minutes lunch or take an extra pen? Tut tut where is my feedback form? Gee wizz why not try getting a life?
 

Matt Taylor

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I've got nothing to hide by the way, SWT management do plenty of discreet monitoring of guards and the last time I was involved in such an exercise I came out top of the list of those guards monitored in terms of availability and, more importantly, safe door operation.

There is a very legitimate reason why it is sometimes best policy to be in the cab when working a train. Above all else we are there for the safety of all passengers, then for performance reasons and finally for customer service. The day I sacrifice operational safety for customer service is the day I'll be in my inspector's office having 'tea, no biscuits'.
 

tsr

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Quite the opposite of Southern where the guard is always near a set of doors or somewhere in a carriage.

Not all Southern guards are always in areas accessible to passengers. 442s have guard's compartments, and the middle (otherwise out of use) driving cabs of some coupled 377s can be used as guard's cabs when the train is very busy - I've seen it happen a few times. Most of the time, however, they can be found easily, but they often take rather a while to walk down the train - or don't.

Maybe we should "Test" passengers and see if I pick an individual at random and see if they have followed "Every part of the Nrcoc" <D

seriously though do some people actually get some perverse pleasure doing that or does it give them a feeling of power, if you feel that a member of staff has not done their job correctly before going to the powers at be at least try and find out why, i got complained about a few years back by someone at the front of one of my trains saying I had not sold him a ticket a quick glance at my machine by a CTM got a sigh and an apology (it was that packed I only got the rear set done), if someone is being lazy on a regular basis fair enough but without knowledge of a real reason its hardly a nice thing to do.

To answer your first point: well, of course, feel free! I'm fine with that!

Your second point can sometimes, but not always, be answered other than by saying that people do get a "perverse pleasure" criticising staff. Firstly, and perhaps importantly for some, an awful lot of money* is paid by passengers. A hard-working and pleasant railway - not to mention a safe, easy-to-use and efficient one - is what customers do expect to see their hard-earned cash spent on. Undue criticism is not welcome, but it may be helpful to politely point out a few ways that services could be improved. Failure to take well-meant criticism from paying customers is a mistake and a big one at that. You may feel that it is harsh for passengers to criticise staff, but provided they do so in a civil exchange with customer services or managers, I see no problem, even if the matter cannot be taken forward for whatever reason.

Secondly, in some instances, criticism is needed urgently, and these sorts of situations can sometimes be avoided by pre-emptive communications with passengers. If nobody at a TOC were to notice standards slipping, they could easily slip beyond what is acceptable, but an open channel for comments may potentially have solved this.

Now, I'm not saying that from time to time staff don't have a bit of a bad day and are a bit grumpy, but that's different. If a passenger complains about such things, they don't necessarily need to be taken seriously.

*This said, I absolutely understand that money isn't everything, of course.
 

Robbies

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I've got nothing to hide by the way, SWT management do plenty of discreet monitoring of guards and the last time I was involved in such an exercise I came out top of the list of those guards monitored in terms of availability and, more importantly, safe door operation.

There is a very legitimate reason why it is sometimes best policy to be in the cab when working a train. Above all else we are there for the safety of all passengers, then for performance reasons and finally for customer service. The day I sacrifice operational safety for customer service is the day I'll be in my inspector's office having 'tea, no biscuits'.

It has always been my experience that the SWT guards whether they be commercial or otherwise have always been helpful and friendly to be as a customer especially when there has been problems with travelling like this morning trying to get from Martins Heron to Wokingham first thing this morning which did not happen because of a faulty class 458 at Feltham. You can see all the details on this subject on the Class 458 software thread I have created in the Traction/Rolling stock section.

The Guard this morning on the trains from Ascot to Guildford was especially friendly and helpful. Did spend some time in the Guards office in the 4 car Desiro opposite were I sat, but did also go up and down the train a good few times. The Guard who ws a commercial guard as he was able to sell tickets and did sell a few without any questions like 'You should have got your ticket before you boarded the train' did mention over the passenger intercom were it was at that particular time in the train should passengers require his assistance.

The above is the sort of service I have seen many times from the guards not only working for SWT, but for other franchises as well. So, I say that we should be saluting the likes of Matt etc... rather than critizing them.
 

Matt Taylor

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Slightly off topic, but always wondered this and it seems like a good opportunity to ask: What is the difference in a 'normal' SWT guard and a non-commercial one? How do the roles differ? Just curious... ;)

Non-commercial guards are based at Guildford, Woking, Staines, Waterloo, Wimbledon and Strawberry Hill and are concentrated on inner suburban work. We are not trained in retail matters (tickets) and do not sell tickets, primarily because our station stops are generally too close together to enable us to engage in ticketing matters. There isn't a great deal of interaction with the public, particularly within the travelcard area, but we are expected to patrol the train at regular intervals. Commercial guards get are based at all depots except Wimbledon and Strawberry Hill and work all trains (but predominantly mainline work), they are trained in retail matters and sell tickets on board, they have far more interaction with passengers and that is a large part of why I wanted to move to a commercial position.
 
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