How did you end up on the railway

Status
Not open for further replies.

MrPIC

Member
Joined
30 May 2015
Messages
417
Hi everyone, I thought it would be interesting/helpful for people looking to join to share how you ended up on the railway? Was it by chance, because of family? Did you always want to do it?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

185

Established Member
Joined
29 Aug 2010
Messages
3,992
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I think I was abducted in a van with Regional Railways on the side of it ;)

No, seriously, I tried three times at Merseyrail Electrics, aged 18 for stations / cust service jobs. Got nowhere, so finally after 6 months trying, dumped Merseyside and applied outside.

My fourth application was to the major intercity company at time for a job on twice the pay, I got the job straight away, albeit 180 miles from home.

Didn't really look back home until a few years ago, and wanted to move home to be closer to family. No surprise, 20 years later, Merseyrail didn't even give me a look in for a gateline job!

Ah well, still here on the railway, doing the same sort of job haha :P
 

TheEdge

Established Member
Joined
29 Nov 2012
Messages
3,687
Location
Norwich
1. Apply for Greater Anglia thinking; "Its in Norfolk, I'll get sifted but lets try"
2. Don't get sifted, become country bumpkin doing assessments in Stratford 27/7/12!
3. Still not sifted, wake up at 3am to drive to Norwich to attended interview at 1pm.
4. Offered medical, convince self that weed smoking colleague at work will have hotboxed a large warehouse and you'll fail.
5. No call when promised, become convinced of failure. Suddenly get call, boom, Trainee Conductor.
6. Now I actually do need to move from Hereford to Norwich.
 
Joined
10 Mar 2015
Messages
754
Contrary to most people attempting to join the railway I applied for my local TOC and got a job.

Don't know how some of you find it so hard to be honest.

Shame I have to work with The Edge but hey, can't have everything in life.
 
Last edited:

Simon11

Member
Joined
7 Nov 2010
Messages
1,090
I was looking to do a year in industry as part of my degree (mix of computing, maths & economics) and I always enjoyed the railways, so was rather excited to see an opportunity from Virgin Trains WC. I went along to the interview and managed to secure the job!

Now having spent six years in the industry, making a few important moves, I've managed to end up in a fantastic job and leading industry leading ideas. All achieved without going on a graduate scheme- its not the be and end all for getting a management job in the industry.
 
Last edited:

Gemz91

Member
Joined
1 Feb 2013
Messages
579
Location
Garden Shed
Lost my job, and was unemployed for around 6 months. Saw a job advertised as a first class host/on board customer service assistant/what ever you want to call it. Didn't have a clue about the wage, railway pensions, or anything, just wanted a job, plus I figured if I worked on the railways I could get free travel to away football games, and thought serving Mars Bars and cups of tea all day couldn't be too hard.

Applied for it, got it. Soon realised I only got discounted rail travel so I'd still have to pay, then realised I'd be working aloat of Saturdays so the amount of football I could watch would go down, but realised the benefits of working on the railways were great so stuck at it. Did that for a year, was a guard for three years, now been a qualified driver for a year.

Never set out to work on the railways, just worked out that way. But now I'm in I'm glad I did.
 

t_star2001uk

Member
Joined
23 Aug 2011
Messages
687
Way back in the dark days of 1988 i had just finished working on the Channel Tunnel. I was looking for a temporary job, waiting for the next ig building project to come along. That temporary job was the railway and ive been there ever since....
 

91104

Member
Joined
21 Jun 2013
Messages
109
Left school at 16 with no qualifications and actually wanted to stay on at school for an easy life but my Mum who was a part time carriage cleaner at Ilford shed was having none of it and said I had to start bringing some money in. So one day in the summer of 1991 she came home and said she'd had a word and I had to go to somewhere called Bounds Green for an interview which despite my best attempts to fail was still offered a job. Now almost 25 years later I'm driving for Virgin up and down the ECML and still loving life on the railway. Funny how life turns out sometimes.
 

beavercreek

Member
Joined
18 Nov 2011
Messages
187
Was rejected a few times for various cleaning and customer service roles.
Applied for a drivers job with another toc and got the job at the first attempt.
 

33056

Established Member
Joined
12 Nov 2007
Messages
2,374
Location
On a train somewhere in Europe
Had a dead-end admin job in the mid 1980s; always liked railways and had previously applied for a job in the Hereford area but didn't get it. Wandered into Marylebone during one lunch break and, on a whim, asked if there were any signalling jobs going. Got taken to see the AMI (Area Movements Inspector) who said that there were currently no jobs on his area but if I were to go and see his colleague down the road at Euston they were always after signalmen.

Went to Euston the following lunchtime, spoke to the AMI there and within a couple of weeks I had a job, subject to passing through signalling school OK!

I am given to understand that things are not so simple these days :o
 

TheApproach

New Member
Joined
13 Feb 2015
Messages
4
Worked in debt collection, a friend who was already here said "your a heartless *******, why don't you go for RPI" and that's how it all started
 

neilb62

Member
Joined
11 Nov 2015
Messages
267
Location
Darwen.
Had an afternoon off from school so caught a bus into Reading and went to the receptionist in Western Tower to ask if there were any jobs going at Reading Depot. She called upstairs and the man I now know to be the late great Jonny Havard (Traction Inspector) came down and asked me if I liked engines? I like watching them I replied, ah. so you fancy being a secondman then? I took a test there and then, and the rest as they say is history....
 

Brian1979

Member
Joined
30 Sep 2015
Messages
8
Decided university was a bit expensive so decide to get a job for a year to save up. That was in 1997. Got a job as a "rail operator" in other words a shunter. Kept getting restructured and a pay rise, so much so that I couldn't leave. 18 years later I'm a driver and loving every minute.
 

Llanigraham

On Moderation
Joined
23 Mar 2013
Messages
5,138
Location
Powys
Was running a shop with my wife which was not doing well. Chatting to a friend in the cafe one day and he told me there was a signaller's post going and suggested I apply. Thought I was too old 53, but filled the forms in, went for all the tests in London 2 weeks later, had my interview with the LOM the next day, started work 2 weeks later and was at Leeds signalling school the week after that.
All done and dusted in just 5 weeks!
Unfortunately medically dismissed at the New Year due to a wrist injury.
 

Gareth Marston

Established Member
Joined
26 Jun 2010
Messages
6,231
Location
Newtown Montgomeryshire
different story in many ways, I did my 2 weeks work experience from school in Caersws box in June 86, as well as controlling a little used crossing loop,it had single line token sections either side, a level crossing and the signalman doubled as the booking clerk.
In early 88 I got a leter from the Area Manager inviting me to apply for a post in the new RETB signalling centre in Machynlleth. Only trouble was I was doing A levels and planning to go to university! I went to a Caeers Fair At Uni and went to the BR stand and inquired about their Graduate Magement Trainee scheme and registered my interest prior to my finals. Then some buggar privatised it and the scheme was no more after the 1993 Railways Act.
I got involved with my local RUG one weekend home from uni, then in autumn 2001 I spotted a advert for public members of the Rail Passengers Council Wales I applied and was interviewed and got a public appointment post which I started in Jan 2002 this lasted till Sumer 2005 when some buggar abolished it by the 2005 Transport Act.
I Am now getting back into it and am purchasing Newtown Ststion Travel on the current owners retirement at the end of March. It has Retail Agents Licesnse from ATW. This started off when Peter said to be last November I'm retiring next year do you want to buy the business?
 

swj99

Member
Joined
7 Nov 2011
Messages
759
I forgot to put the handbrake on and my car crashed through a fence. Luckily the trains had stopped running for the night.

Well you did ask.
 
Last edited:

Tackleberry

Member
Joined
20 Feb 2016
Messages
37
Location
Abingdon
My first time back in 2001 I just phoned the station manager and asked, I applied and had a medical and that was that...
I'm still waiting to get back on, fail to get past the telephone interview...:roll:
 

NI 271

Member
Joined
10 Sep 2012
Messages
277
Location
The Doghouse
In the mid-1990s (I'd been working as a bus driver since 1992) whichever company was running the trains round here at the time came into our canteen and started recruiting. Offered me a job as a trainee driver there and then (about a dozen left en-bloc to be drivers or guards), so I asked the building society if I could have a year off mortgage payments to cope with the trainee salary. Being 25, I couldn't see any problem, I'd still another 40 years to pay it off, but no. Tried a couple more, they wanted thousands to move my mortgage (which, if I'd had, I wouldn't have needed the break from the mortgage). In the end, because I had a six month old son and was trying for another child, I chickened out and turned it down. I regretted that within a few months, and always did.

About 3½ years ago I saw an advert for Northern, and with the kids being old enough to cope if things went wrong, told the wife I was going for it. Found this place, took advice from it, some good, some bad, leading to me getting a borderline pass on the reactions test and being binned, and being sifted by other TOCs as a result, which was fair enough. Without going into too much detail, a couple of FOCs accepted the pass during the summer of 2013 and despite being utterly convinced I'd got the job with one, having comfortably the best interview of my life, I ended up missing out (although they did say they'd keep my details on file and contact me when they wanted more trainees). Having been unable to make assessments and an interview with the other FOC due to work commitments I'd given up on it, when out of the blue they called me up one day and asked if I was still interested. They sent me to Watford for the structured interview (as it was then, I hadn't been allowed to take it with Northern following the borderline), I passed, went for DM interview a few weeks later and despite being told I'd hear in a fortnight, got a call three days later offering me the job. It felt like I'd righted the wrong of 1996.

Training took a while, but they upped the pay significantly halfway through it to make up for the delays (and despite taking the job knowing I'd have to relocate 230 miles away, a few months into my training I was asked by a DM if I'd mind staying where I was instead as the business needs had changed and they needed more up north - JACKPOT!), and I've been happily chugging about on my own for 12 months. Never been happier in my work, and I was lucky enough to enjoy most of my previous roles.
 

ItchyRsole

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2011
Messages
304
Dad was a manager and got me an interview. Was down to me then but obviously might of been given some slack. 1994 that was.
 

Llanigraham

On Moderation
Joined
23 Mar 2013
Messages
5,138
Location
Powys
I Am now getting back into it and am purchasing Newtown Ststion Travel on the current owners retirement at the end of March. It has Retail Agents Licesnse from ATW. This started off when Peter said to be last November I'm retiring next year do you want to buy the business?

Good to hear, Gareth!!
Can it be broadcast?
 

theironroad

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2014
Messages
3,632
Location
London
Was running a shop with my wife which was not doing well. Chatting to a friend in the cafe one day and he told me there was a signaller's post going and suggested I apply. Thought I was too old 53, but filled the forms in, went for all the tests in London 2 weeks later, had my interview with the LOM the next day, started work 2 weeks later and was at Leeds signalling school the week after that.
All done and dusted in just 5 weeks!
Unfortunately medically dismissed at the New Year due to a wrist injury.

How long were you a qualified signaller for?
 

charley_17/7

Member
Joined
1 Sep 2006
Messages
194
Location
Milton Keynes Central
I could blame 185, who motivated me to make it happen! :D

I spent my childhood years messing around Hyde Road Bus Depot (with dad) and the Regional Railways offices (with mum) at Deansgate station (both in Manchester). One morning, instead of going to school, I spent the morning in the then Railtrack Reception on Platform 1 at Piccadilly. Left school without any GCSEs, but plenty of swimming certificates!

After studying in Huddersfield and gaining a few years admin/office experience, unsuccessfully applying and being interviewed with Arriva Trains Northern and Stagecoach Supertram, I relocated to Derbyshire.

Had an interview with Midland Mainline. Passed the interview, got measured for my uniform, etc., then they (NEG) lost the franchise, and with it, my new job.

Fortunately, still determined, I went along to an open day in Manchester, at the Palace Hotel, with the new Northern franchise, passed all the tests, and got offered a job straight away. Started off doing train dispatch, putting up destination labels and seat reservations, emptying the bins, etc.

From there I went into various roles, including traincrew, stations management, training, control, across many different TOCs (and TfL!).

The next stage in my career starts next month, hopefully!
 
Last edited:

TomBoyd

Member
Joined
2 Sep 2013
Messages
438
I was desperate to not go into teaching, and a friend of mine worked in Delay Attribution. Got through to interview, but missed out on the job, got great feedback and was told I was a good fit for NR, and to keep applying, so I went on their career site and searched for jobs that paid between 20-25k, and signalling came up. Applied for about 12 jobs, got the second one I interviewed for (again thanks to great feedback from the LOM who rejected me from the first job) and then went on from there, always pushed myself on to the next step. Thinking SSM in a few years, then Control.
 

Gareth Marston

Established Member
Joined
26 Jun 2010
Messages
6,231
Location
Newtown Montgomeryshire
Good to hear, Gareth!!
Can it be broadcast?

Certainly its public knowledge important thing is that it's continuing trading on Peters retirement a lot of folk have been worried about it closing down at the end of March. He's 70 would you believe!

Plus Ive given up a "cushy public sector job with a gold plated pension" as some would have it.
 

Llanigraham

On Moderation
Joined
23 Mar 2013
Messages
5,138
Location
Powys
How long were you a qualified signaller for?

Started summer 2007.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Certainly its public knowledge important thing is that it's continuing trading on Peters retirement a lot of folk have been worried about it closing down at the end of March. He's 70 would you believe!

Plus Ive given up a "cushy public sector job with a gold plated pension" as some would have it.

I shall inform those that are asking!
 

tsr

Established Member
Joined
15 Nov 2011
Messages
7,393
Location
Between the parallel lines
Well, aside from the usual sarcastic comment about being fostered by a couple of slam-door diesel units from the tender age of two and a half, and being raised in a nest made of old bogie fittings in the Fuel Road at Norwood...

I didn't particularly like the railways in my mid-teens and even took pride in not being a railway nerd like a couple of my friends, though on the other hand I was the world's biggest nerd in other ways anyway. Then I started commuting to uni, from Surrey to London. By the end of a couple of years, I was far more interested in the commuting than the degree. I never finished the degree but took the technical skills and the experiences I had as a passenger with me, applied for a part-time customer service role at a major (think top 10 busiest) station, got it in a matter of a day or two, loved it, got good references and went from there really. Now I'm on the front line in a safety-critical role at a large London-based TOC. Many of you will guess which one.

In a way it's been a fantastic progression of events. My first choice of uni was one I didn't get into, but had I done that, I wouldn't have commuted and I would probably now be stuck in a robotics lab all day. I love working with people now, helping them and moving them from A to B, so I find the railway front-line much more motivating than meeting deadlines in IT and electronics exercises... but I have remained extremely technically-minded and if needed I won't stop until how I know something in the public transport field works. That's really why I'm still on this forum - I hope established longer-term members will have seen how I've really tried to join in with the good humour but also understand how "stuff" works.

A nerd who likes working with people, being in the public eye and working out what benefits the passenger. Whatever next? :p
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top