Life on the Bluebell

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by MrGray, 5 Jun 2015.

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  1. MrGray

    MrGray Member

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    So... For those that know me, you'll know that I am looking in to becoming a guard.

    I live quite close to the Bluebell Railway, so have decided that I will try my hand at voluntary guarding there!

    Anyone currently in a guard position, or platform staff etc and can give me an insight in to the training you get (Because apparently it takes 9 months!)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Pepperami

    Pepperami Member

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    No idea on Guards mate, I know that they do PTS course first, and then I would imaging part of the rules, same as the drivers, I know not everything would apply to a guard, but the rulebook does have a large amount of items that do involve the guard.

    Then its ticket sales and Customer service I would imagine... again.... its a guess... having not done it personally..
     
  3. Jonfun

    Jonfun Member

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    Are you asking about heritage railway Guard training or big railway Guard training?
     
  4. Simon11

    Simon11 Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    I volunteer as a guard on another railway and passing out as a Guard could take a few years- it all depends on your personality, suitability for the role, ability to deal with emergency situations, handle the public and how much time you spend volunteering.

    As a Guard, I would expect you to have as much knowledge as a Driver would (except knowledge of how the loco operates). You would need to have an excellent line knowledge, ability to handle any incident on the line (first aid, derailment, loco failure, while having members of the public to deal with), knowledge of signalling system, understanding of the rule book, ability to train others etc etc.
     
  5. steamybrian

    steamybrian Established Member

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    I fully agree...!
    It also depends on the amount of time you are available to volunteer.
    If you available once a month then it could take much longer.
    If you are available once or twice a week then it could be much shorter.

    My experience? Guard and TTI on the Spa Valley Railway.
    Also previously TTI on the Llangollen Railway.
     
  6. Jonfun

    Jonfun Member

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    I'd broadly agree with the above in relation to heritage railway Guards training.

    Generally speaking it's done 'on the job', so as has been said it'll depend on how much time you can commit (and how much trainer and assessor availability there is at any given time) as to how long it would be before you "pass out" as competent in your duties.

    On the job training usually consists of going out on a diagram with a trainer guard who will go through the training requirements with you out in the real world. There might be classroom elements and occasional courses off trains, depending on the railway in question (sorry, can't speak for the Bluebell).

    You'll generally have to learn about safely accessing the tracks, learn the locations of different features on the line (eg Stations, viaducts, tunnels, signals etc), gain a familiarity with the rolling stock (eg what each bit does below the solebar, any internal equipment, things related to coupling vehicles together, components of each type of braking system), understand the emergency procedures and how to use the kit, learn the individual railway's operating procedures, and the procedures for ensuring the safe departure of your train from stations.

    You'll probably also have to learn how to shunt trains (which is where you're coordinating movements from the ground, or the far end of a reversing train), and depending on the railway you might have to do tickets too.

    It's generally interesting to do and whilst often a bit repetitive every so often you'll get that 'something different' happen that will challenge you and make you use your brain a bit.
     
  7. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    Is this just for heritage as on the big railway a guard does not need anywhere near the knowledge that a driver needs.
     
  8. Jonfun

    Jonfun Member

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    I'd say it's probably 50/50 to be honest. Lots of the knowledge will be common between the two, relating to who does what in the event of out of course situations, procedures to follow in the event of degraded working, route knowledge, etc.
    The only time it splits away relates to things to do with operation of the locomotive, which the Guard doesn't need to know about, and the operation of the coaching stock, which the driver doesn't need to know about.
     
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