Moving to passenger services from freight

4F89

Member
Joined
17 Aug 2018
Messages
745
As a driver of trains beginning with 4's and 6's, is it worth considering going somewhere where you use other numbers? I'm not sure I like passengers and lack of variety. Also, I'm already in RPS, so dont gain anything there. Is priv really worth all the extra hassle of folk asking stupid questions every five minutes?

North West, intercity, stoppers etc all close enough of a commute. Thoughts please.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

baz962

Established Member
Joined
8 Jun 2017
Messages
2,187
Maybe some driver's attract odd questions etc. I used to be Overground , purely doo and rarely got questions. Maybe one or two a week. Now I'm intercity with a guard and a catering bod and still get almost no questions. Priv can be worth it. Depends on exactly what travel you require. I used to need a priv season ticket. Now I live on the line and get free travel and free parking , so in my case it's worth it's weight in gold. Also I guess it depends on if you like nights or not and wether you currently do them . Overground had an actual night link and so you didn't need to do any. New place is around one week in eight. Personally I like passenger work b, but would be happy to go freight if it suited. Both toc and foc work will have pros and cons as I'm sure you would know.
 

martin2345uk

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2011
Messages
1,683
Location
Essex
As a driver of trains beginning with 4's and 6's, is it worth considering going somewhere where you use other numbers? I'm not sure I like passengers and lack of variety. Also, I'm already in RPS, so dont gain anything there. Is priv really worth all the extra hassle of folk asking stupid questions every five minutes?

North West, intercity, stoppers etc all close enough of a commute. Thoughts please.
I don't believe what I'm reading! You're a die hard "HH is the best thing ever, I get paid loads of money for doing hardly any work" but you're thinking of abandoning us?! The world has truly gone mad :lol:
 

Eccles1983

On Moderation
Joined
4 Sep 2016
Messages
797
You dont get stupid questions every 5 minutes. You can avoid all questions if you really want to by standing miles away from pax.

The terms and condictions are bombproof, the work is much cleaner, stable and reliable than freight. You don't book on anywhere that you dont work from, and are driven to places rather than drive yourself.

I'm beyond deficating/urinating in bushes, been there done it.

The downside? Possibly a smaller route card, but the freight chaps and chappesses I have trained struggled with pax work as the level of route knowledge is different and in parts more detailed.

I wouldn't go frieght unless I had blackballed myself and needed a quick exit.

The problem you might have is that no TOC wants you. TOC to TOC is far more likely as less training is required
 

UTV

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2019
Messages
12
It’s purely a personal choice, I was a guard then went driving on freight and soon going back to passenger as a driver. It took me ages to decide if it was the right choice, but personally, it’s the right choice for me and my family.
 

tiptoptaff

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2013
Messages
2,559
Had a number of ex-freight blokes come to our depot from various FOCs in recent years. At least 15-20. Only one has gone back.
Only two have left to go freight driving having never done it before. One is waiting to come back (covid has delayed his return date) and one they'd never have back even if he wanted to

Take from that what you will.

All of them said the fixed RDs that never change, years in to the future, the starting and ending in the same place all the time, shorter maximum turns, better pension (although you're in RPS already so doesn't necessarily apply) and more stable roster are all things mention.

They all say they somewhat miss the variety of routes. But quite a few sign more traction here than they used to..

But none would go back

Conversely, I quite like the idea of giving it a go. But, I'm not sure I could walk away from the RPS, or that the unstable nature of the rostering would suit having a young family.
 

Driver2B

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2018
Messages
206
Is priv really worth all the extra hassle of folk asking stupid questions every five minutes?

Hi,

I'm not really answering your question, but might be recalibrating your expectations, perhaps.

I rarely get asked stupid questions, generally sensible questions where the screens are unclear. At most locations, I am able to answer them, but at times have to refer the customer to another source of information (platform staff, ticket office, nationalrail.co.uk, etc.). At one station, I always turn my phone on so I can use the National Rail app to help customers, as platform staff all hide away if there's no train in the platform.

I have quite a few positive interactions with passengers, though. A week or two ago, I was chuffed when a couple thanked me as I left my driving cab and commented on how smooth the ride was! They asked for directions to their destination (which is a large tourist attraction very near the station) so I gave directions. I saw them ten minutes later around the corner and they commented to me about how nice the views were. I commented that I had never actually been to this tourist attraction, but mean to go. The lady told me that I should and joked that she would keep an eye out for me whenever she gets the train and if she sees me, she'll ask if I've been yet! It was a nice, friendly, interaction.

This morning, I was speaking to a passenger. He checked with me "This is tain is the first one to XXX, isn't it?" pointing at the train opposite mine. I said that I didn't think so and thought it was mine, but he told me the guard told him the train on platform 1. The guards usually know more than me so I told him to board that one, and I'd give him a shout if I was first out. He commented that he hasn't taken the train for years but they were longer and cleaner than he remembered (despite being the same 1980s stock!). As it happened, I was the first out, so I gave him a shout and he hopped over to mine. He asked if I knew roughly when we would arrive so I told him, and he joked about that leaving him with enough drinking time!

Another time while passing, a colleague and I ended up speaking to a long distance business commuter who was working on his laptop. He volunteered to us that he hears other passengers complaining about the service, but he really enjoys it - he said he always sat on this quiet table, the service was reliable and was a good place to work. It was nice to hear.

But most of the time, we don't really talk. If I'm entering a cab, I tend to say hello as I'm walking past, because I've frequently had passengers say hello to me first, which doesn't quite seem right.

I do admit, however, a couple of weeks ago, I had a passenger come to my cab window to ask me how to get to an obscure station on another TOC with no direct service, and I had to leave him on the platform after recommending several times to ask at the ticket office or visit nationalrail.co.uk.

Only once have I ever had an irate passenger - I was getting out of my cab having clearly just arrived at a very busy London terminus and when I explained that I've just arrived and I could check the screens with her, she decided to take her frustrations out on me. But it's the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, it doesn't really answer your question, but I just thought it might be interesting for you and others to hear these experiences.
 
Last edited:

Dieseldriver

Member
Joined
9 Apr 2012
Messages
783
Hi,

I'm not really answering your question, but might be recalibrating your expectations, perhaps.

I rarely get asked stupid questions, generally sensible questions where the screens are unclear. At most locations, I am able to answer them, but at times have to refer the customer to another source of information (platform staff, ticket office, nationalrail.co.uk, etc.). At one station, I always turn my phone on so I can use the National Rail app to help customers, as platform staff all hide away if there's no train in the platform.

I have quite a few positive interactions with passengers, though. A week or two ago, I was chuffed when a couple thanked me as I left my driving cab and commented on how smooth the ride was! They asked for directions to their destination (which is a large tourist attraction very near the station) so I gave directions. I saw them ten minutes later around the corner and they commented to me about how nice the views were. I commented that I had never actually been to this tourist attraction, but mean to go, and the lady said that I should she'd keep an eye out for me whenever she gets the train and if she sees me, she'll ask if I've been yet! It was a nice, friendly, interaction.

This morning, I was speaking to a passenger. He checked with me "This is tain is the first one to XXX, isn't it?". I said that I didn't think so and thought it was mine, but he told me the guard told him the train on platform 1. The guards usually know more than me so I told him to board that one, and I'd give him a shout if I was first out. He commented that he hasn't taken the train for years but they were longer and cleaner than he remembered (despite being the same 1980s stock!). As it happened, I was the first out, so I gave him a shout and he hopped over to mine. He asked if I knew roughly when we would arrive so I told him, and he joked about that leaving him with enough drinking time!

Another time while passing, a colleague and I ended up speaking to a long distance business commuter who was working on his laptop. He volunteered to us that he hears other passengers complaining about the service, but he really enjoys it - he said he always sat on this quiet table, the service was reliable and was a good place to work. It was nice to hear.

But most of the time, we don't really talk. If I'm entering a cab, I tend to say hello as I'm walking past, because I've frequently had passengers say hello to me first, which doesn't quite seem right.

I do admit, however, a couple of weeks ago, I had a passenger come to my cab window to ask me how to get to an obscure station on another TOC with no direct service, and I had to leave him on the platform after recommending several times to ask at the ticket office or visit nationalrail.co.uk.

Only once have I ever had an irate passenger - I was getting out of my cab having clearly just arrived at a very busy London terminus and when I explained that I've just arrived and I could check the screens with her, she decided to take her frustrations out on me. But it's the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, it doesn't really answer your question, but I just thought it might be interesting for you and others to hear these experiences.
A rational and realistic reply. My experiences are very similar to yours, I actually quite enjoy most of the exchanges with passengers/customers (who let’s face it, are the reason we are employed).
If there are freight train drivers genuinely that intimidated at the thought of occasionally having to interact with a fellow human being, perhaps passenger work really isn’t for them.
 

Bridger

Member
Joined
18 Jul 2018
Messages
70
Hi,

I'm not really answering your question, but might be recalibrating your expectations, perhaps.

I rarely get asked stupid questions, generally sensible questions where the screens are unclear. At most locations, I am able to answer them, but at times have to refer the customer to another source of information (platform staff, ticket office, nationalrail.co.uk, etc.). At one station, I always turn my phone on so I can use the National Rail app to help customers, as platform staff all hide away if there's no train in the platform.

I have quite a few positive interactions with passengers, though. A week or two ago, I was chuffed when a couple thanked me as I left my driving cab and commented on how smooth the ride was! They asked for directions to their destination (which is a large tourist attraction very near the station) so I gave directions. I saw them ten minutes later around the corner and they commented to me about how nice the views were. I commented that I had never actually been to this tourist attraction, but mean to go, and the lady said that I should she'd keep an eye out for me whenever she gets the train and if she sees me, she'll ask if I've been yet! It was a nice, friendly, interaction.

This morning, I was speaking to a passenger. He checked with me "This is tain is the first one to XXX, isn't it?". I said that I didn't think so and thought it was mine, but he told me the guard told him the train on platform 1. The guards usually know more than me so I told him to board that one, and I'd give him a shout if I was first out. He commented that he hasn't taken the train for years but they were longer and cleaner than he remembered (despite being the same 1980s stock!). As it happened, I was the first out, so I gave him a shout and he hopped over to mine. He asked if I knew roughly when we would arrive so I told him, and he joked about that leaving him with enough drinking time!

Another time while passing, a colleague and I ended up speaking to a long distance business commuter who was working on his laptop. He volunteered to us that he hears other passengers complaining about the service, but he really enjoys it - he said he always sat on this quiet table, the service was reliable and was a good place to work. It was nice to hear.

But most of the time, we don't really talk. If I'm entering a cab, I tend to say hello as I'm walking past, because I've frequently had passengers say hello to me first, which doesn't quite seem right.

I do admit, however, a couple of weeks ago, I had a passenger come to my cab window to ask me how to get to an obscure station on another TOC with no direct service, and I had to leave him on the platform after recommending several times to ask at the ticket office or visit nationalrail.co.uk.

Only once have I ever had an irate passenger - I was getting out of my cab having clearly just arrived at a very busy London terminus and when I explained that I've just arrived and I could check the screens with her, she decided to take her frustrations out on me. But it's the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, it doesn't really answer your question, but I just thought it might be interesting for you and others to hear these experiences.
I can only echo this response! If you're nice to people, 99.9% of the time they'll be nice back to you. :D

What may seem like silly questions to us, are genuine questions for passengers, some of which may only travel by train on very rare occasion...
 

lammergeier

Member
Joined
5 Oct 2017
Messages
326
I'm another one who enjoys chatting with passengers. So what if someone asks what you perceive to be a "stupid" question? Vast, vast majority of interactions I have with pax are either neutral or positive.

Go to the right company and right depot and you'll have a huge route card, variety, good pay and as mentioned above, bombproof T's & C's. I think in many years driving at XC I have known one driver go to freight, and countless have joined us from freight. General consensus seems to be why didn't I do this sooner. Just to add as it seems important to freight chaps as well, although I find route card willy waving distasteful, my route card is more extensive than what most of the freight drivers who join us bring with them. Some just did the same one or two routes with boxes day in day out.

If there are freight train drivers genuinely that intimidated at the thought of occasionally having to interact with a fellow human being, perhaps passenger work really isn’t for them.
Well put
 

whoosh

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2008
Messages
943
@Driver2B Good Post!

Most of the so called "stupid questions" are just people wanting reassurance. The screens aren't always correct, or just show the final destination of a train. Just be as helpful as you can - what's the problem?

I've only had one passenger in 17 years or so who I fell out with. He was impatient to board my train at a London terminus and wouldn't accept that I'd let him on as soon as I could (I had to start it up and wait for computers to boot up before I could release the doors). He had a load of luggage and was just anxious to get it all on.
I ended up slamming the cab door on him as things had escalated into him poking his head into the cab mouthing off.
Really, I could, and should, have handled it better.

Touch wood, that's it. People just want to get where they want to get to. Just be helpful.

Platform staff and anyone who has to check tickets get a much rougher ride than drivers.
All a driver needs to do with a passenger normally is refer them to someone else if you don't know, and tell them the answer if you do.
 

43066

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2019
Messages
3,029
Location
London
As a driver of trains beginning with 4's and 6's, is it worth considering going somewhere where you use other numbers? I'm not sure I like passengers and lack of variety. Also, I'm already in RPS, so dont gain anything there. Is priv really worth all the extra hassle of folk asking stupid questions every five minutes?

North West, intercity, stoppers etc all close enough of a commute. Thoughts please.

Surprised to read this as it sounds like your freight gig is one of the better ones with a pretty stable roster, decent movements off spare etc! Interesting hypothetical question though.

I can only echo the comments above: you can *generally* expect more roster stability, smaller spare movements, fewer nights etc. and will have better ability to plan your life with a TOC (albeit obviously still a fairly anti social lifestyle at times).

As a TOC driver I find interaction with passengers is minimal, especially now that I have a guard. These days I’m thanked as much as I’m asked questions and neither happens often which is fine by me. As a DOO driver I wasn’t asked much either, probably because (so I’ve been told) I have the male equivalent of a resting b*tch face and look angry most of the time, even when I’m not :).

If you’re going to passenger I’d aim for longer distance/intercity guarded work if possible, avoid DOO like the plague. Guarded class 1 work is less knackering and I imagine will feel more similar to freight as you’re driving most of the time rather than having to stop at stations every two minutes and dispatch yourself.
 

Driver2B

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2018
Messages
206
A rational and realistic reply. My experiences are very similar to yours, I actually quite enjoy most of the exchanges with passengers/customers (who let’s face it, are the reason we are employed).
If there are freight train drivers genuinely that intimidated at the thought of occasionally having to interact with a fellow human being, perhaps passenger work really isn’t for them.

Thanks, @Dieseldriver . It's great to hear that you have similar positive experiences with passengers / the public. There are some drivers who seem to think that the public are a huge inconvenience to the running of the railway, and these drivers are the ones who seem to have the most negative experiences to talk about!

Actually, again today, I had a couple who said "thank you" to me when terminating at the end of my journey - probably because I waved at their young son at the station they boarded from.

I can only echo this response! If you're nice to people, 99.9% of the time they'll be nice back to you. :D

What may seem like silly questions to us, are genuine questions for passengers, some of which may only travel by train on very rare occasion...

Thanks, @Bridger . 100% agree.

I'm another one who enjoys chatting with passengers. So what if someone asks what you perceive to be a "stupid" question? Vast, vast majority of interactions I have with pax are either neutral or positive.

Go to the right company and right depot and you'll have a huge route card, variety, good pay and as mentioned above, bombproof T's & C's. I think in many years driving at XC I have known one driver go to freight, and countless have joined us from freight. General consensus seems to be why didn't I do this sooner. Just to add as it seems important to freight chaps as well, although I find route card willy waving distasteful, my route card is more extensive than what most of the freight drivers who join us bring with them. Some just did the same one or two routes with boxes day in day out.


Well put

@lammergeier Agree that many people just want to make sure they don't get the wrong train, and who can blame them! If I can help, I do; if I can't, I signpost them to help (platform staff, ticket office, nationalrail.co.uk). Rarely get problems.

@Driver2B Good Post!

Most of the so called "stupid questions" are just people wanting reassurance. The screens aren't always correct, or just show the final destination of a train. Just be as helpful as you can - what's the problem?

I've only had one passenger in 17 years or so who I fell out with. He was impatient to board my train at a London terminus and wouldn't accept that I'd let him on as soon as I could (I had to start it up and wait for computers to boot up before I could release the doors). He had a load of luggage and was just anxious to get it all on.
I ended up slamming the cab door on him as things had escalated into him poking his head into the cab mouthing off.
Really, I could, and should, have handled it better.

Touch wood, that's it. People just want to get where they want to get to. Just be helpful.

Platform staff and anyone who has to check tickets get a much rougher ride than drivers.
All a driver needs to do with a passenger normally is refer them to someone else if you don't know, and tell them the answer if you do.

@whoosh , thanks for your compliment! :)

You're right, many people just want reassurance. One day, I might even find myself up north and need it, too! :D

In your example, the passenger was clearly in the wrong. However, you did what I would have done, and assessed how you could have handled it better to have prevented his behaviour!

And I totally echo your comment about gateline, platform staff and guards having it harder than drivers!
 
Last edited:

Top