Qualified Drivers Southeastern - All Depots

Stretch1987

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22 May 2020
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I feel the differential in pay has caught up with SE, compounded with covid-19 shutting training schools which in the past 8 weeks has cost them potentially 16-20 trainee drivers and has left them in a precarious position. I believe that Victoria is short of in the region of that number alone irrespective of other depots, which has lead to an advert for qualified drivers for mainline- something that is never usually advertised for ( usually high speed).

They will be in serious trouble when normal running is resumed as I personally agree with the issues pointed out by other members above, morale is low and the T's and C's are at best vague and easily by passable within "grey areas" and the coronavirus outbreak has really highlighted an already contentious issue.
Then there's the issue of salary.....
 
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43066

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Pay and conditions vary across the board and some conditions suit some more than others. That said, SE conditions aren't great. Pay is notoriously low and has not been addressed in years. Annual leave is one of the lowest of all TOCs and the work disparity is significant. Metro is intense and South East passengers are well.... Not great either.

Staff turnover does matter. The affect on the depot can be detrimental as your always covering gaps in the roster. Depot with low staff turnover work really well. There are other things that impact the roster but nothing really specific to SE. However, SE also has a roster without a pattern and it changes often. Some TOCs have moved to or are on fixed rest day patterns and this (at least to me) feel to be a benefit.

SE are also behind the curve in some ways. Some TOCs are pushing forward with technology and working practices but SE are a little stuck in their ways.

The whole SE being a 'starter TOC' is a phrase that I've heard regularly. Any yet SE haven't done anything to address this. As Slim points out. Trainees are literally joining with no intention of staying. Surely that rings various alarm bells.

SE are also a bit of a whipping boy. Due to the franchising issues in recent years they have suffered. No significant investment and a TOC in stagnation. Even the Thameslink Project was SE supporting GTR and everything was setup to help them and not SE. SE ave also got the 707 cast offs. Another example of SE being a bit of a whipping boy.
Just as you say, it’s as if SE is deliberately set up to encourage a high turnover of drivers, particularly in metro land where there are many other options. I can only conclude they receive some kind of government assistance for training up new drivers, so view it as a revenue stream.

The other possibility is that management are about as bright as a 2 watt lightbulb in a power cut. On balance, that’s probably more likely!

I feel the differential in pay has caught up with SE, compounded with covid-19 shutting training schools which in the past 8 weeks has cost them potentially 16-20 trainee drivers and has left them in a precarious position. I believe that Victoria is short of in the region of that number alone irrespective of other depots, which has lead to an advert for qualified drivers for mainline- something that is never usually advertised for ( usually high speed).

They will be in serious trouble when normal running is resumed as I personally agree with the issues pointed out by other members above, morale is low and the T's and C's are at best vague and easily by passable within "grey areas" and the coronavirus outbreak has really highlighted an already contentious issue.
Then there's the issue of salary.....
As has been discussed on these pages before, it’s telling that SE’s high speed “flagship” can’t recruit classic mainline drivers from the same depots, even though the pay is higher. That’s because it’s DOO and, by all accounts, the work content is repetitive and very intense.
 
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387star

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So what is Southeastern's best depot for work? I know no other TOC to be so negatively talked of! Even Southern !
 

JammyJames08

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7 Apr 2009
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Hastings I’d have thought. All they do is Ore to Tonbridge then either via Redhill to London, or via Sevenoaks to Cannon or the cross...not even sure they do the mid Kent on a diversionary route...
 

SlimJim1694

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8 Jan 2020
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Medway
Gillingham. They do pretty much all metros and down to Ramsgate via sole street, The island and Dover priory.
There's a slight problem with Gillingham depot... it's in Gillingham! I'm from there originally but wouldn't want to be back there now. Awful place. Makes Dartford look like Kensington. I think you are right work wise though, it is meant to be a good depot.

In my eyes Tonbridge is probably the best depot on SE for work. Tonbridge don't do all the North Kent line and estuary rubbish (apart from Strood on the MV), the worst metro work Tonbridge get is Orpy-Vics and Soaks-Chx, plus mostly mainline work through scenic areas.

The further you get towards the coast the weirder the people though. The room at Ashford is like something out of that film Deliverance. The room on platform 3 at Tonbridge can be pretty insular and antisocial too... At least at places like Orpington, Grove Park and Dartford people tend to have a smattering of people skills and manners - even if they do have the worst work.
 

SlimJim1694

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And on the opposite what’s the worst?

Any of the metro depots. Grove Park is good in many peoples eyes because it has loads of walking time to the station built in for jobs with platform pick ups. The down side is it has loads of mega early starts and late finishes due to being a big stabling point. Top links ok though with Ashford and Tunbridge Wells. Below that its metro and death by Bromley North poppers. Slade Green is crap too unless you are in the old boys link.

Judging by the turnover I'd hazard a guess that Victoria, Chx and orpington are the worst depots. Those three might as well have a revolving door. Charing cross recently lost about a third of its drivers to other TOCS in the space of a few months.

Orpington used to go to Bedford and Tunbridge Wells but Thameslink took the Bedfords back and the union let the Tun wells go too. They lost Gillingham too. That was the only good work they had.

Vic still has a bit of mainline work but since they stopped the taxi agreement, made the jobs earlier and later and had everyone signing Charing Cross, Cannon St and rubbish like Hayes and Gravesend its turned into a pretty unpopular place. There was a time not so long ago when people happily commuted to vic from deep in Kent. Not no more.
 

43066

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So what is Southeastern's best depot for work? I know no other TOC to be so negatively talked of! Even Southern !
I had to chuckle at the response to this saying Gillingham is SE’s best depot work wise. It isn’t (unless you think stopping every two minutes and staring into DOO monitors is good work). Their work is mostly metro these days (AIUI).

Tonbridge has good mix of work, mostly mainline, but even they have some metro jobs. That depot is popular with metro drivers looking to relocate, but you’ll be waiting for years to get a move. Ramsgate and Dover are about the best work wise - both are dead man’s shoes depots. Exclusively guarded, mainline work. They go to London both ways, via the southeastern mainline and the Chathams. You’ll be waiting years for a move to either, and who wants to live in Thanet?

The worst depot is likely Slade Green. Firstly, because it’s in Slade Green, which is a truly horrific place. I can remember seeing a decomposing rat on the platform and thinking it brightened the place up. Secondly, because their (all metro) work consists mostly of death by Cannon Street rounders. They also have some very early starts and late finishes.

The old mans’ link at Sludge Green sign the Medway valley line. Now, there’s a fate worse than death! More of a punishment than a promotion. But at least it’s guarded work.
 
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Gooner18

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24 Oct 2018
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No, that's way too far north!
London Overground (Arriva Trains London) have though at Watford Junction. Are you thinking of them?
Ahh yes , could be. Wonder why you only ever see London overground advertise for new gate and Willesden never Chingford / Watford
 

ComUtoR

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Surely someone coming into the Railways would still find the wage, T&C’s amazing ?!
Not everyone takes a step up when they join.

I had more breaks in a day and better leave arrangements at every other job I've ever had compared to working on the railway. Railway employment can be quite restrictive at times.
 

SlimJim1694

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Surely someone coming into the Railways would still find the wage, T&C’s amazing ?!
This advert is for qualified drivers. The point being made by most people on here is that any qualified driver with a shred of common sense wouldn't go to SE metro. I can see the attraction of the coastal depots for anyone relocating who doesn't mind the pay cut.

Trainees need to go whoever will give them a key. Southeastern metro, with it's high turnover is a good starting point. The hard part is not (as many people seem to think) getting the job but keeping a clean safety of line record.
 

Horizon22

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8 Sep 2019
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And on the opposite what’s the worst?
A lot of people say Charing Cross and Slade Green. Grove Park if you detest early mornings. Although plenty of RDW going if you'd like it at the terminals depots.

Let's not forget this is a thread about qualified drivers. If we were talking about regular recruitment, I'm sure there'd be takers. But with GTR, ARL, SWR and Crossrail all local and the most likely source of qualifieds with better conditions, I'm not sure why many would apply.
 

43066

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I said Gill as I was going down the variety of work route. Bit of all sorts. But yeah depends on your preference!
Fair point. I had formed the impression that they’ve lost a lot of their decent work and are mostly metro these days - quite possibly depends on link etc.
 

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