Making the most of Front End Turns

choochoochoo

Member
Joined
6 Aug 2013
Messages
647
We are just about to start front end turns

I know we get task books, but is there anything else I should be paying attention to ?

Pretty sure drivers I'll be riding with will share useful bits and pieces as we go along, but to those who've done their turns already, do you have any tips to make sure I'm maximising my learning from them ?

Would it help if I look at sectional appendix of the routes I'm going to be riding on ?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

MrPIC

Member
Joined
30 May 2015
Messages
410
Nah, you won't learn that much from front end turns, just soak up the experience, have a chat with the driver and get an understanding of how things work other than driving the train, ie, what your conditions might be including any booking arrangements etc, what the company and management are like. You might pick up bits and pieces to do with the routes but I wouldn't worry, you'll go over everything there is to know when you're out driving yourself with a minder. Get to know names of people etc and just soak it all up like I said.
Enjoy brother!
 

E&W Lucas

Established Member
Joined
21 Jan 2010
Messages
1,358
Your workbooks will tell you what your company particularly want you to get out of the exercise.
As stated, it's an opportunity to get out and about, and meet your new colleagues.
Much will depend on what goes on during your shifts, and what aspects of the job you are exposed to.
If I had a trainee for the bulk of their turns, I would try and introduce them to the basic geography of the route. Nothing too in depth, but ideally you'd know where you were, basic landmarks, etc. It gets the brain moving, before the bulk of the classroom stuff (depending on how your training is structured).
Main thing is to enjoy it, and get used to the shifts.
 

whoosh

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2008
Messages
641
LOADS to learn later on, but at this stage, just be sponge and soak it up. You'll learn quite a lot each day without actively seeking to learn anything.
Enjoy yourself. When you go back to the classroom, your fellow trainees will have experiences you can hear about and learn from too.
 
Last edited:

Economist

Member
Joined
24 Feb 2013
Messages
327
The one thing which may be useful is knowing how many stop markers/monitors there are on each platform in each direction on your core routes. Also, what side the platforms are on, where the off-side door releases are. Apart from that, pretty much what the others have said.

Don't try and learn braking points, leave that to your DI since each driver is different, some prefer Step 1, some prefer Step 3
 

Johncleesefan

Member
Joined
4 Sep 2013
Messages
717
Exactly as above, don't go in too eager, just take it for what it is, your first time up front. It's designed to give you a flavour of the job and to see what it entails. I remember talking to my drivers about pretty much anything other than trains to be honest as they are just happy for a bit of a natter (generally)

Do obviously pay attention and make sure you get your task book complete.
Don't p?ss the driver off either coz likely change is you will be wanting to sit with them in some foreign mess room miles from home for a break too
 

dctraindriver

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2017
Messages
264
Just get used to waking up at 2AM and then sitting in the cab looking bleary eyed. Chill out, watch the world go by and offer to buy the driver a coffee.
 

dctraindriver

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2017
Messages
264
The one thing which may be useful is knowing how many stop markers/monitors there are on each platform in each direction on your core routes. Also, what side the platforms are on, where the off-side door releases are. Apart from that, pretty much what the others have said.

Don't try and learn braking points, leave that to your DI since each driver is different, some prefer Step 1, some prefer Step 3
I wouldn't worry too much about any of that. It's a few days out and about and you won't remember much. That all comes much later.
 

Bromley boy

Established Member
Joined
18 Jun 2015
Messages
4,611
I had three months of front ending. It can get a bit soul destroying but, to make the best of it, I'd recommend getting hold of Quail route guides (or similar) and making a start on learning junctions, line names etc.

I'd echo the above advice, don't try to learn braking points etc. Better to let you DI mould your driving from scratch rather than un-teaching you stuff you've picked up from others, if that makes sense.
 

theironroad

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2014
Messages
2,912
Location
London
The one thing which may be useful is knowing how many stop markers/monitors there are on each platform in each direction on your core routes. Also, what side the platforms are on, where the off-side door releases are. Apart from that, pretty much what the others have said.

Don't try and learn braking points, leave that to your DI since each driver is different, some prefer Step 1, some prefer Step 3
I'd suggest that you leave all that for route learning after you've passed out (or for route learning experience/principles during the trainee course)

Front end turns are just to get comfortable in a cab at front of train and give you a chance pick up info and speak to current drivers.
 

theironroad

Established Member
Joined
21 Nov 2014
Messages
2,912
Location
London
I had three months of front ending. It can get a bit soul destroying but, to make the best of it, I'd recommend getting hold of Quail route guides (or similar) and making a start on learning junctions, line names etc.

I'd echo the above advice, don't try to learn braking points etc. Better to let you DI mould your driving from scratch rather than un-teaching you stuff you've picked up from others, if that makes sense.
3 months seems extreme, I'd think 1 week is enough.
 

ComUtoR

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2013
Messages
6,646
Location
UK
3 months is normal at my place.

The first lot of GTR have passed rules and traction and are booked out roads/with DI We were told that DI's at their respective depots (Orpy/Gill/Ashford) would be training them but I haven't heard much as yet.

There is a queue of Trainees waiting for DI's and some places are worse than others.

Shambles doesn't begin to describe it.
 

Johncleesefan

Member
Joined
4 Sep 2013
Messages
717
3 months is normal at my place.

The first lot of GTR have passed rules and traction and are booked out roads/with DI We were told that DI's at their respective depots (Orpy/Gill/Ashford) would be training them but I haven't heard much as yet.

There is a queue of Trainees waiting for DI's and some places are worse than others.

Shambles doesn't begin to describe it.
So are they just sticking them on front ends until a Di is availaable for handling?
 

Bromley boy

Established Member
Joined
18 Jun 2015
Messages
4,611
3 months seems extreme, I'd think 1 week is enough.
It was way, way too much. Unfortunately it was a case of being shoved into it while waiting for a DI. People at other depots on my rules course went straight from traction to training with a DI. The two of us at my place had to wait months - a total lottery.

It was shadowing a driver so involved full shift patterns. It was the worst of both worlds, full shifts, no actual driving experience. Thankfully I got on well with the guy I was shadowing and made the best of it by using the Quail guide to learn the routes, getting to know standard stopping patterns. This definitely helped with my "proper" route learning when I finally started with my DI.

I'm not sure how long the OP envisages spending front ending. If it's only a few days I agree with you. He should just spend it getting used to the cab environment and watching a driver at work. If it's for a longer period it may be worth trying to learn the routes so as to get something useful out of it.
 
Last edited:

choochoochoo

Member
Joined
6 Aug 2013
Messages
647
Thanks for all the info everyone.

From what I've seen from classes ahead, we get 3 weeks of front end turns.

But we also get the odd day here and there during classroom weeks. (To fill gaps when trainers are needed elsewhere ??)

What are these Quail guides ? They sound helpful.

Will definitely get my driver lunch at the end of it.
 

john349uk

New Member
Joined
19 Dec 2011
Messages
2
I'd echo what others have said with regards to enjoying it and don't try and learn everything about the routes/rules/traction, there's plenty of time for that later, just being present in a working cab is enough at this stage. You'll pick things up without realizing. I'd also add that's its a good chance to get to know some of your colleagues at the depot if you don't already, scope out the mess rooms etc and also a good chance to look at the roster and see what kind of work you'll be expected to do on a typical shift. Definitely the most important thing you can do is offer the driver a coffee :D
 

tiptoptaff

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2013
Messages
1,937
Thanks for all the info everyone.

From what I've seen from classes ahead, we get 3 weeks of front end turns.

But we also get the odd day here and there during classroom weeks. (To fill gaps when trainers are needed elsewhere ??)

What are these Quail guides ? They sound helpful.

Will definitely get my driver lunch at the end of it.
Quail guides are like an atlas for railways. They have route diagrams and maps in some decent detail. Link here to one website that sells them:
https://www.trackmaps.co.uk/trackmaps/railway-maps/railway-track-diagrams/

No idea if they're good prices. Quite useful, I have one for Western and Southern in my work draw
 

Top