Is the 'Railway Family' a thing of the past?

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Haig paxton

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So I have travelled far and wide on trains for decades and I know quite a few railway staff from different TOCs. Speaking to those that were there in the days of BR and shortly afterwards you get the sense that no matter where you worked, in Aberdeen or Plymouth, they were all part of one big railway family.

It is my opinion that this has all but more or less been swept away in recent years with staff working in the same location not only being strangers to each other but often ignoring those who work for another TOC. I even see Scotrail ticket examiners selling tickets to Virgin staff in full uniform whilst they are on SR trains.

To me the railway family is dead, aided by a new breed of railway employee who are probably brainwashed by management and who themselves only view the railway to be where their own TOC serves. No camaraderie, no loyalty and no pride.
 
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Sprinter153

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I work at a location where there are guard depots for my TOC and another that operates just intercity services. Their TMs and customer hosts (or whatever they call them) will not talk to us at all, not matter how much you smile, wave or say hello. It seems to be a superiority complex conditioned into them, even though a lot of our work is probably more desirable than theirs.

The new breed of managers that have been hired on the assumption that they were passable in retail so can manage a railway are something to do with it I suspect. Co-operation and looking after each other are strongly discouraged.

I find travelling with my Priv these days that many staff are as likely to look down on you as treat you as a colleague, particularly on TOCs with a strong brand culture.

The recruitment process these days doesn't lend itself to promoting a railway environment either. They look for people who can make balloon models with their feet or decide which items to take to a desert island rather than people with a demonstrable aptitude for the key skills we use on the railway.
 

Trog

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The recruitment process these days doesn't lend itself to promoting a railway environment either. They look for people who can make balloon models with their feet or decide which items to take to a desert island rather than people with a demonstrable aptitude for the key skills we use on the railway.


HR probably think that it is not PC to ask potential female recruits to demonstrate that they can make tea, or to ask recruits of an ethnic background to explain how they would go about discreetly relocating a set of Cv switches from the next section without crippling them. :D

An alternative would be a version of Kim's game where you have to remember what was worth stealing from the pile of components you passed on your way into the interview.
 

Carlisle

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The recruitment process these days doesn't lend itself to promoting a railway environment either. They look for people who can make balloon models with their feet or decide which items to take to a desert island rather than people with a demonstrable aptitude for the key skills we use on the railway.

I'd say that culture change began in latter BR years with things like the comprehensive testing regime introduced for potential trainee drivers replacing the old second man style system meaning in reality existing railway staff had very little advantage over outside applicants
 
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sprinterguy

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No, it's still there, in my experience. Despite the best efforts of privatisation to divide and fragment the railway, I still find that there's a sense of belonging and common cause that's shared amongst many individuals employed on the railway.

Certainly, there are places where a "them and us" attitude exists, but, then again, there always was even in the days of a unified British Rail, too. The TOC that I used to work for still drew their battle lines based on old divisions between Network Southeast and Regional Railways in some respects (although derived from far more relevant concerns surrounding prevalent T&Cs), 15 - 20 years after those two organisations ceased to exist! ;)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I find travelling with my Priv these days that many staff are as likely to look down on you as treat you as a colleague, particularly on TOCs with a strong brand culture.
I haven't encountered this in my extensive travels with a range of TOCs around the UK. With only two exceptions that I can think of, train crew have been unerringly welcoming to their fellow railwayman, regardless of their employer, and that includes as brand focused an operation as Virgin.
 
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6Gman

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I find travelling with my Priv these days that many staff are as likely to look down on you as treat you as a colleague, particularly on TOCs with a strong brand culture.

Have to say that staff are always very kind when they see my (Retired Staff) Priv Card - to the point that, on two occasions, they have declined to sell me a (required) ticket.



On both occasions I insisted, to protect both them and myself.
 

Harbornite

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Would there have been rivalries between staff of different regions during the 1950s and 60s. Some people feel this is why certain lines were closed after they changed regions, but such claims are unfounded.
 

route:oxford

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So I have travelled far and wide on trains for decades and I know quite a few railway staff from different TOCs. Speaking to those that were there in the days of BR and shortly afterwards you get the sense that no matter where you worked, in Aberdeen or Plymouth, they were all part of one big railway family.

It is my opinion that this has all but more or less been swept away in recent years with staff working in the same location not only being strangers to each other but often ignoring those who work for another TOC. I even see Scotrail ticket examiners selling tickets to Virgin staff in full uniform whilst they are on SR trains.

To me the railway family is dead, aided by a new breed of railway employee who are probably brainwashed by management and who themselves only view the railway to be where their own TOC serves. No camaraderie, no loyalty and no pride.

For a person who claimed (on another thread) to be
Travelling happily with Stagecoach these days.
you seem spend a lot of time monitoring Scotrail Staff.

Your employer is your employer. Anyone who describes themselves as "loyal" whether that is to their employer, gym, bank, or energy supplier is a fool.

People are at work to work and engage with the passenger, not to flirt and fraternise with other rail staff no matter what brand of uniform they are wearing.

The world portrayed in the workplace of "On The Buses" is long gone. We have friendships at work and out of work - and are connected 24/7 with social media.
 

Mutant Lemming

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I have found virtually all railway staff to be friendly and amenable while travelling on 'boxes' - I just wish that all railway staff were still entitled to them.
 

Haig paxton

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For a person who claimed (on another thread) to be you seem spend a lot of time monitoring Scotrail Staff.

Yes well when you live on a line where SR is the sole operator you do get to observe a lot, in fact how do you know i'm not observing you when you're working?
If you can stick to the point though instead of ploughing through my previous posts.
 

G136GREYHOUND

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It's my experience in the UK that by and large and in 98% of cases, railway staff are still part of a "bigger" railway than within their depot and TOC

This has also been my experience abroad when travelling on FIP.

Mind you, I always make and effort to acknowledge fellow railwaymen, as I think we all should
 

route:oxford

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For a person who claimed (on another thread) to be you seem spend a lot of time monitoring Scotrail Staff.

Yes well when you live on a line where SR is the sole operator you do get to observe a lot, in fact how do you know i'm not observing you when you're working?

Living near a line, and actually using a service isn't the same thing - particularly when you claim not to use the service and make use of the local Stagecoach services instead

Indeed, in your opening post you claim to be monitoring engagement between Scotrail Staff and employees of Virgin Group (Money/Rail/Atlantic? The uniforms are pretty similar) then you claim that Scotrail is sole operator on your route.

It would certainly re-inforce my interpretation of your posts if you were monitoring me at work today.

If you can stick to the point though instead of ploughing through my previous posts.

I've no need to "plough" through your previous posts - you only posted the Stagecoach claim a few days ago within your outrage at Scotrail digital ticketing thread.

I'm sure you'll have another dig at Scotrail within a few days.
 

Harbornite

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I wonder if there was a sense of "family" before 1948, when all the railway employees of this country did not work for a single company. Food for thought.
 
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I would say yes, although it will naturally be stronger within individual companies and depots. Overall there is a good sense of unity I would say, with the natural number of exceptions to the rule, whose names actually get around fairly quickly.
 

LowLevel

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There was physical conflict at times in the early days.

But either way to me railway is railway is railway. I have no interest in our parent company, rail franchises are a transient thing and they change pretty frequently. The only people I'm really out for is the passengers and my colleagues - the company is there in a way, but given it's an entirely artificial construct that might cease to exist from one year to the next I don't see much point in nailing colours to a mast. If they treat me well, pay me correctly and don't cause me problems they'll get 100% effort, but I still don't really care what happens to them.

I'm friendly to everyone though, whether they be passengers or colleagues.

The ones I miss the most when they're gone are the signal boxes though. Most of ours are quite sociable and we exchange waves and a hello, often from the platform while they get their gates sorted. It all seems very cold when they go. I'm dreading the Lincoln line being done imminently.
 
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DarloRich

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So I have travelled far and wide on trains for decades and I know quite a few railway staff from different TOCs. Speaking to those that were there in the days of BR and shortly afterwards you get the sense that no matter where you worked, in Aberdeen or Plymouth, they were all part of one big railway family.

It is my opinion that this has all but more or less been swept away in recent years with staff working in the same location not only being strangers to each other but often ignoring those who work for another TOC. I even see Scotrail ticket examiners selling tickets to Virgin staff in full uniform whilst they are on SR trains.

To me the railway family is dead, aided by a new breed of railway employee who are probably brainwashed by management and who themselves only view the railway to be where their own TOC serves. No camaraderie, no loyalty and no pride.

I would say we are still a family, perhaps extended, perhaps dysfunctional but all still related.

Separate companies don't help of course (along with things like most NR staff not getting travel and separate mess rooms etc) but we all have to work together to deliver a service to the passenger. If we didn't the whole thing would quickly fall apart.

That is certainly true when the there is a brown stuff - air circulation device interaction.



The new breed of managers that have been hired on the assumption that they were passable in retail so can manage a railway are something to do with it I suspect. Co-operation and looking after each other are strongly discouraged.

The key word for the industry is "collaboration" (or co operation if you like) in order to run a service to the passengers

The recruitment process these days doesn't lend itself to promoting a railway environment either. They look for people who can make balloon models with their feet or decide which items to take to a desert island rather than people with a demonstrable aptitude for the key skills we use on the railway.

That is a silly statement and doesnt reflect any recruitment process I have ever been invovled in
 
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co-tr-paul

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Sorry to get political but our recruitment process is overly complicated and not relevent. Over the past 10 yrats at our depot, its become everyone for themselves and all about egos. Yes the trains go out. Yes the work gets done. Yes the public get their service. Family.... No .. I would rather be back in the 80s thanks.
 

Llanigraham

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As someone who doesn't work for an operating company (or even NR now!!) I can safely say that the Railway family is very much alive and well, especially in this part of the world. I can have difficulty paying for a ticket on my local line, although I always do, and have been "up-graded" numerous times by what I still consider colleagues on VWC and GWR.

I would suggest that since the OP quite obviously doesn't work for the railway he only sees what he wants to see, and in a very small area of the country.
 

theironroad

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On the whole, I think there is still a sense of belonging to the railway and plenty of staff with exchange a nod to those in uniform. I do agree however, that there are a couple of TOCs that seem to have selected people who like to think they are better than their fellow driving or guard/conductor/tm and do look down their nose at others.

If anything, it makes me giggle how one driver can really think they're better than an other and there are more than a few out there.
 

Michael.Y

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Is the railway family a thing of the past? No.

Does everyone on the railway have the same attitude towards other TOC staff (or indeed to other grades within their own TOC)? No.

Do modern TOC training techniques, retail targets and staff being threatened with constant job cuts and role undermining have a result on morale which means friendly considerations get overlooked on occasion? Yes.

If you're wearing a rail uniform of any kind and you get on my train, will I offer you a cup of tea? Yes.
 

Mag_seven

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Drivers have always has a separate union, Aslef, which tends to imply a little bit of "we (drivers) are slightly different to the "average" railway employee." Apart from that I've no doubt that the break up of BR has probably been detrimental to the concept of a railway family in particular the separation of infrastructure operation from train operation and in the case of the latter the creation of separate often competing companies - all this in the name of Tory dogma :(
 

Antman

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Sorry to get political but our recruitment process is overly complicated and not relevent. Over the past 10 yrats at our depot, its become everyone for themselves and all about egos. Yes the trains go out. Yes the work gets done. Yes the public get their service. Family.... No .. I would rather be back in the 80s thanks.

When I was on the buses it went exactly the same way, just changes in society as much as anything.
 

DarloRich

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Of course the world has changed since privatisation and those changes alter the the nature of the connections between staff but we can't work in isolation and hope to serve the passengers.

Drivers have always has a separate union, Aslef, which tends to imply a little bit of "we (drivers) are slightly different to the "average" railway employee." Apart from that I've no doubt that the break up of BR has probably been detrimental to the concept of a railway family in particular the separation of infrastructure operation from train operation and in the case of the latter the creation of separate often competing companies - all this in the name of Tory dogma :(

You forget that management and clerical grades have also always had a separate union.
 
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rg177

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From what I've witnessed (merely as a passenger) I'd say that there's clearly still a sense of railway family. 99% of the time, rail staff I see will always have some sort of friendly exchange, no matter what uniform they're in. Similarly, if they're travelling in uniform, rather than a "tickets please" it's a "how you doing mate?"

Having also been in Sandhills signalling centre where Merseyrail and Network Rail staff work side by side, everyone appeared to very friendly with each other, the manager commenting that having two companies together in the same room was an asset more than a sense of rivalry and division.
 

DMU180

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So I have travelled far and wide on trains for decades and I know quite a few railway staff from different TOCs. Speaking to those that were there in the days of BR and shortly afterwards you get the sense that no matter where you worked, in Aberdeen or Plymouth, they were all part of one big railway family.

It is my opinion that this has all but more or less been swept away in recent years with staff working in the same location not only being strangers to each other but often ignoring those who work for another TOC. I even see Scotrail ticket examiners selling tickets to Virgin staff in full uniform whilst they are on SR trains.

To me the railway family is dead, aided by a new breed of railway employee who are probably brainwashed by management and who themselves only view the railway to be where their own TOC serves. No camaraderie, no loyalty and no pride.


I'm sure that says more about the Virgin staff rather then Scotrail. I have been told not to buy a ticket by a Scotrail TE and he said to flash my staff pass at Glasgow Central. I don't work for Virgin;)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have traveled far and wide priv in hand and have found certain toc's staff treat you as a colleague and others treat you like a hindrance. I always ask to buy a priv from the conductor before boarding the train and i'm more often then not told "you're fine mate, jump on" sometimes even in 1st. The rest they say "Yeah sure mate, I'll come down and find you." There is still a strong sense of community between toc's staff who know that they stand equal to any other train operator regardless of the services they provide. I have personally found intercity operators going to/from London to love themselves a bit too much and feel as though they are better then the rest because they have faster trains, although this does vary based on depot.
 

Clip

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I'm sure that says more about the Virgin staff rather then Scotrail. I have been told not to buy a ticket by a Scotrail TE and he said to flash my staff pass at Glasgow Central. I don't work for Virgin;)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have traveled far and wide priv in hand and have found certain toc's staff treat you as a colleague and others treat you like a hindrance. I always ask to buy a priv from the conductor before boarding the train and i'm more often then not told "you're fine mate, jump on" sometimes even in 1st. The rest they say "Yeah sure mate, I'll come down and find you." There is still a strong sense of community between toc's staff who know that they stand equal to any other train operator regardless of the services they provide. I have personally found intercity operators going to/from London to love themselves a bit too much and feel as though they are better then the rest because they have faster trains, although this does vary based on depot.

I was going to make a similar point - what the OP experienced is probably the Virgin staff just hopping on and not speaking to the TE - this is always going to end badly as its rude as hell and everyone knows that overall if you ask before you get on or approach them with your priv handy when you get on then you will get a free ride by not doing so you are going to have to pay for your rudeness.
 

neilb62

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Lets just say this, someone I know (a lifelong railwayman) was taken ill and finished up in hospital a couple of hundred miles from home. His wife who doesn't drive was stuck with him without her passes. 3 TOC's pulled together to get her home safely after one phone call.
 
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