Heritage railway vs main railway

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Steam Man, 8 Jun 2019.

  1. Steam Man

    Steam Man Member

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    If I went for the mainline, will everything I’ve learnt on SDR help me at all? should I mention everything I’ve done on SDR at interview?

    I’ve dealt with an emergency situation, I’ve run the train at night twice, which on a heritage railway is a rarity. I had to apply the emergency brakes to stop someone from getting hurt.

    Would any company turn me away because of this?

    I live in Paignton and I can travel to any company to speak to them
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 9 Jun 2019
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  3. martin2345uk

    martin2345uk Established Member

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    Save these concerns for when you get to an interview, there’s a long road before you get that far.
     
  4. tiptoptaff

    tiptoptaff Established Member

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    It entirely depends on how you present the experience and how you show its relevance to the job you're applying for.

    No TOC is going to turn you away simply for working on a heritage railway. But they may not decide your experience is worth while if you don't use it in the right way.

    Just being part of "running trains at night" isn't something they'll look twice at. But if you talk about what exactly you did and how that's relevant, they'll take it on board.

    You're SDR, so you say. So surely you MUST know the GWR crew (whom I know you wish to work for) that volunteer there. Heck, you've got one of THE legendary driver to learn from. Speak to them, ask for their advice.
     
  5. E&W Lucas

    E&W Lucas Established Member

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    Are you sure you’ve not just been playing Train Simulator?
    How many “hg does a pannier tank operate at?
     
  6. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    That does come across a little rude. Additionally, not everyone who works on a heritage railway is footplate crew, so they're not necessarily going to know the particular details of different types of engine. I did heritage railways for seven odd years and I couldn't tell you what most of the steam engines were called unless it was one of the regular few.

    I recall being in the NRM with friends once and one was shocked that I couldn't explain the minutae of a steam engine. "But you're a heritage railway guard!" "Yes, a *guard*", and offered to show them around a nearby Mk. 1 coach instead.
     
  7. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    I think the assumption is (wrongly judging by your post?) that if you volunteer for a heritage railway, you must be an enthusiast, or at the very least have an interest in steam locomotives. I’d assume that even with a limited interest, you’d naturally pick things up?

    I’ve worked on the railway for 12-years and am shocked that people servicing similar lengths of time aren’t familiar with the types of stock we use, or the timetable at their own stations. It’s down to professional pride a lot of the time I think, and knowing your job and the industry of course. Even those not working on board our trains.
     
  8. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    You'll be trained on the areas which you need to know for whatever role you'd be doing, so for a footplate crew you'd be trained on the inner workings and particulars of steam locomotives. Diesel crews would be focussed on that type of locomotive. A Guard would need to know more about operations and the rolling stock in use. Of course you're going to pick up a broader knowledge the longer you're there, but nobody's really going to have an in depth knowledge of everything.

    At work I can reel off chapter and verse in rail ops, ROGS, etc, and I'm quite familiar with tickets, and our end product out on the trains, but ask me about Yield Management or Rail Replacement Transport planning and I'd only be able to explain the basics.
     
  9. E&W Lucas

    E&W Lucas Established Member

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    To the guard above- you know the answer to what I asked. Think implications of a GW loco hung on the front of your set.
    Anyone that’s been anywhere near a footplate on the SDR would also know that.
    From the vocabulary used, I immediately formed the impression that the OP hadn’t.
    Plenty of heritage people on the mainline, but claiming that you’ve already done the job, isn’t the way to go about joining them.
     
  10. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    Aye, I know what to expect if it's green and has GWR on the side (Though the more pressing issue is what to do if it comes off and gets replaced by something standard). That's not the same as knowing what a Panner Tank is - the point I'm making is not everyone who works on heritage railways are footplate crew who know a lot about steam engines, it takes a lot of different people to run a railway, so the OP could be a Guard, or a Shunter, perhaps.
     
  11. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    I'm a volunteer on a narrow gauge railway. I help build coaches and wagons.
    I don't even know the numbers of the locos we run, other than they are steam, diesel and battery, and would have to look in the brochure for our timetable.
    Does that make me unprofessional?
     
  12. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    No, but then I didn’t insinuate that. I said it’s down to professional pride which doesn’t necessarily make someone unprofessional if the lack it. I should have also specified I was mainly referring to customer facing, frontline roles. If you’ve been working at a station or even on trains for 12/13-years, one should know their network inside out at the very least. I think it’s reasonable to expect that?
     
  13. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I've been driving trains for over 15yrs. I've been at the same depot for all of that time. I don't even know the dispatch plan at my local station. I couldn't tell you the times of the trains that leave my depot, let alone those at another station.

    I know well experienced Managers who don't have a clue about trains and equally I know station staff that don't know what a DRA is. I spoke to a Driver the other day who didn't know what a crush loading valve was. None of that makes us unprofessional.
     
  14. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    As I said, I wasn’t calling anybody unprofessional.

    Maybe I used the wrong terminology?
     
  15. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I think the expectation is misplaced. Many people are very good at their job and take a lot of pride in it. When it starts to stray outside of their job then things are different. The railway is an industry where a lot of small bubbles juxtapose against each other. Platform staff vs Driver is a prime example. Whilst we work together closely and parts of our duties overlap; neither of us know each others roles. Why should we ? The railway also covers a vast distance. I work in Kent but only work on a tiny portion of the network. I don't think it is reasonable for me to know the workings of a station that I never go to, work near or is 50 miles away. I think that is unreasonable.

    My expectation is for people to do their job, and hopefully to the best of their abilities. I have zero expectations for a member of Platform Staff to know the intricate working of a train. I did, but that illusion was shattered years ago.

    Same with any industry really. I used to be a Manager. I worked my way up from the bottom so I experienced each role. However, it isn't a pre requisite for the role and there are many Managers who are very good at their jobs and put their trust in those underneath them to do theirs. In some respect, that is what makes them good Managers.
     
  16. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    I agree. My point really I guess, was that staff , such as platform staff, don’t necessarily take the time to know things they really should. I’d not expect a member of platform staff to know what I do, and I don’t know the nuts and bolts about what they do. An example is, I was at Clapham Junction for a couple of years, and my job entails travelling the network, visiting different locations. I knew in a matter of months what went where and at what time etc at Clapham, yet some station staff didn’t, nor did colleagues of mine at the same station. That seemed like they didn’t take pride in their work because the things they should have known, they didn’t? I appreciate not everybody knows about what stock we use etc, but again, it’s something that I would think people would normally pick up naturally.

    And I understand not every body, or not many people understand the technical terms and what not on the railway. I certainly didn’t have a clue what you were on about when you have some examples, but as you say, not everybody would be expected to know.
     
  17. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Eat, sleep, work, repeat. For some; it's just a job. No more, no less. Not sure I can fault people for that.

    I'd agree and it shocks me too at times. I think its the insular nature of people and the insular nature of employment; especially on the railway.

    Places like Clapham have hundreds of services. So maybe there is an element of that. What I also see is that staff have a different perspective on train times etc. Staff know that train times change continually so one month they can be running at xx21 and xx51 but the next month they were amended to xx20 and xx50. There is also so many permutations of service that you often find that you need to be more specific when talking to staff. Just because the Cannon Streets run at xx03 and xx33 it changes throughout the day and in the peak they run additional services, have different stopping patterns and run MO, FO, and SX etc. So 'what time is the next one to Cannon Street has multiple answers depending on what time of day it is. I can imagine that somewhere like Clapham is even more complicated.

    How much do we expect staff to know and how much is our own naivety about what they do and don't know ?
     
  18. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    I worked as a signaller on Network Rail for 10 years, and I certainly didn't know the network inside out, but I was professional and took pride in my work. Ditto on the NG line I volunteer, but I certainly couldn't tell you many details about it's history.
    I think you might need to reconsider how you look at volunteers.
     

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