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Questions for a Conductor

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Kim_Badger

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Joined
27 Jun 2016
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38
Hi,

I have applied for a role as a conductor with FGW and passed telephone interview and been invited to assessment.

I was wondering if any conductors are able to give me a bit of insight as to a day to day what you do in your role.

I have been interested in this job for several years as a family member used to do this but retired about 15 years ago so I am aware much may have changed!

Also, as an external applicant I am wondering how this will affect my chances?

Any help gratefully received!
 
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Si_leeds

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18 Apr 2016
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I'm currently in my 7th week of training, really enjoying it. Been out working with a minder doing doors and announcments and it's good fun, deffinately beats sitting in an office all day.
If your the kinda person that enjoys being around people and making things work you'll love it
 

NX

Member
Joined
6 Jan 2014
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320
Which depot have you applied for mate ?

I'm a GWR Guard......
 

Flamingo

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2010
Messages
6,810
Hi,

I have applied for a role as a conductor with FGW and passed telephone interview and been invited to assessment.

I was wondering if any conductors are able to give me a bit of insight as to a day to day what you do in your role.

I have been interested in this job for several years as a family member used to do this but retired about 15 years ago so I am aware much may have changed!

Also, as an external applicant I am wondering how this will affect my chances?

Any help gratefully received!
Well, one suggestion is to call it GWR, not FGW...

Just remember, you shouldn't join if you can't take a joke...
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Messages
771
Sometimes we get verbally and physically assaulted for things completely out of our control. The rest of the time we read the paper and sell the odd ticket.

Not a bad job really.
 
Last edited:

Kim_Badger

Member
Joined
27 Jun 2016
Messages
38
Which depot have you applied for mate ?

I'm a GWR Guard......

Exeter St Davids :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Well, one suggestion is to call it GWR, not FGW...

Just remember, you shouldn't join if you can't take a joke...

Perfect! :/
But yeah, I actually know that and hopefully that will stop me making that silly error if I survive to interview stage!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Although this is mainly about the positives of the role, have a read through this thread:

http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=128291 :)

Thank you
 

NX

Member
Joined
6 Jan 2014
Messages
320
Exeter is the best depot to be at, over their "West side" links they sign Penzance to Cardiff via Bristol and via Westbury.

Their HSS side likewise, Penazncd to London Paddington via Bristol Temple Meads and Parkway, and via Westbury and Newbury.

West side sign Class 143/150/153/158, HSS Side sign Class 43 and LHCS?

West side starts from circa 0400 to a late finish if 0200.
HSS Likewise, they also have a night turn which is the sleeper job.

West Guard Salary basic, without Sunday's (booked or otherwise) just shy of £30,000, realistic salary with minimal RDW and Sunday's circa £35,000 to £40,000.

HSS Basic circa £34,000, bit of RDW and Sunday's £40,00 to £45,000.

Excellent job, but huge competition from outside and inside, be aware that GWR operate a two tire guards grade, Guard - West and Guard - High Speed, if you want to move from West to HSS you need to wait for a vacancy and apply like everyone else, phone interview, group assessment and interview !

Likewise if you move from HSS to West for whatever reason you lost the extra Salary like a flash !
 

Flamingo

Established Member
Joined
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Messages
6,810
A good foot in the door for a guards job, which also gives a useful grounding in working on-board without the same pressure, is the Customer Host job (which is quite a well-paid job in it's own right).

I know a fair few drivers, guards, and other grades/jobs who started as Customer Hosts.
 

Kim_Badger

Member
Joined
27 Jun 2016
Messages
38
A good foot in the door for a guards job, which also gives a useful grounding in working on-board without the same pressure, is the Customer Host job (which is quite a well-paid job in it's own right).

I know a fair few drivers, guards, and other grades/jobs who started as Customer Hosts.

Thanks for that.
My background is in estate agency and retail banking so while I do have transferable skills in customer service and cash handling and pressure that goes with it I am missing the "on board" and safety environment.
I've set up some vacancy alerts and submitted an application for customer ambassador as well as I think being on the platform would be another way in.
 

plastictaffy

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Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
1,104
Location
Unfortunately, Maps has stopped.
No two days are the same - it's never boring, that's for sure. If it's all running smoothly, you can be a counsellor, comedian and amazingly helpful all on the same train. If it's running badly - t*ts-up in railway parlance - you WILL be blamed for everything up to and including the Iraq war, 9/11 and the famine in Africa. In the job, imho, you're paid for what you know, not what you do.

Basically, I'm paid handsomely for opening and closing doors, selling tickets occasionally (I work on a busy commuter route, it's difficult to pass through trains in the peaks either end of the day) and reading my book/paper/random stuff on the internet. The job really is what you make of it. If you want to spend all your time in the carriages talking to people, you can do that. If you want to read your paper with your feet up all day, you can do that, too. If you can cope with the shifts, you'll never do another hard day's work again. Good luck and keep us posted. There is a wealth of information on here to help you to survive to interview stage and beyond. Go forth, young badger!!!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The shifts are much the same at my place - I'm not with GWR mind you. Earliest book-on is 0355, latest finish is 0226. No nights at my depot.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Exeter is the best depot to be at, over their "West side" links they sign Penzance to Cardiff via Bristol and via Westbury.

Their HSS side likewise, Penazncd to London Paddington via Bristol Temple Meads and Parkway, and via Westbury and Newbury.!

That's a nice route card to have. MIne says nowhere near that kind of mileage!!!! Strange that GWR find it neccesary to split their work into two different grades.
 

Kim_Badger

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Joined
27 Jun 2016
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38
Thanks! Assessment is tomorrow and I've prepped as best I can. Hopefully pass that and make it to interview!
 

Kim_Badger

Member
Joined
27 Jun 2016
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38
Thanks for the help so far!
Assessment passed. Now the nervous wait to see if I'm shortlisted for interview. I think there's 2 more days of assessments in prog so hoping to hear soon :)
 

LowLevel

Established Member
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26 Oct 2013
Messages
7,726
A typical day in your life as a guard might include:

Book on. Check your notices, sign for retail equipment, make a drink and have a natter in the mess room and go and find your train - depending on your location and the time of day this might involve going and finding it following overnight stabling, or picking up a train partway through a journey.

The first priority once onboard is safety - make announcements, operate the doors correctly, deal with any minor or less minor faults arising.

You also sell and check tickets, and provide customer service, resolve complaints, solve dilemmas and provide operational support to the driver where required. You're responsible for the safety of your passengers, the safe loading and operation of the train and sometimes making important decision. You'll get a break during the day and work is dependent on location.

At the end of the shift, you might have to kick everyone off the train, lock it up and what not, or you might just walk off depending on the circumstances. Pay in your machine, check your next shift and you're done.

All in all it's pleasant enough day to day, pretty varied and involved and I love it. 90+ out of a hundred shifts will be as above with maybe the odd issue to provide some jnterest/challenge/vexation.

Do bear in mind however that at any point and with no warning whatsoever something serious could go wrong and then you will earn your money. Someone could jump under your train and strand you, not to mention traumatising the driver, for hours. You could hit a car on a level crossing causing a whole world of problems. A passenger might have a heart attack and die on board. Someone for no reason whatsoever might take exception to your asking them for a ticket and swing for you.

In all the above situations, and many more that could arise from the trivial to the direst emergency, you are required to keep your head, be responsible, and act in accordance with the training you are given, take charge as appropriate, and work as part of a team, or if necessary alone.

They are particularly unlikely to happen but I mention them because they will definitely come up in the recruitment process and in training. The way I sum it up is that as a guard, the point you will come into your ultimate action and responsibility is potentially when someone you know and get on with is dead at the front of the train and you still have to function.

If you have the right temperament to pass the tests, recruitment process and training you will be fine, but it's important to know exactly what you're walking into if you take a safety critical role on the railway.

As I said above - I love it and I'd not move on for the world. The vast majority of the time it's a fantastic job, the wages are good, the people are great and it's worth every minute of the hassle you occasionally get (which to be more realistic is more likely nowadays to involve some scummer or other passively refusing to pay than a rail disaster!).

Very best of luck to you all in your applications :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
And no offence to 'plastictaffy' but those who want to 'read the paper all day with their feet up' are a disgrace to the grade and should be in their local Jobcentre via performance management. That's not the job anymore and if you think it is, it's outevolved you.

Back cab heroes are not to be encouraged.
 
Last edited:

Bourlea

Member
Joined
25 Oct 2015
Messages
40
Yes good luck with your application and please don't give up if you aren't lucky this time. I'm over halfway through training and can honestly say that it is the best job ever. Yes it's hard work but worth it, my only regret is that I didn't apply it years ago!
 

Kim_Badger

Member
Joined
27 Jun 2016
Messages
38
Yes good luck with your application and please don't give up if you aren't lucky this time. I'm over halfway through training and can honestly say that it is the best job ever. Yes it's hard work but worth it, my only regret is that I didn't apply it years ago!

Thank you! :D
 

Bellbell

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
245
A typical day in your life as a guard might include:

Book on. Check your notices, sign for retail equipment, make a drink and have a natter in the mess room and go and find your train - depending on your location and the time of day this might involve going and finding it following overnight stabling, or picking up a train partway through a journey.

The first priority once onboard is safety - make announcements, operate the doors correctly, deal with any minor or less minor faults arising.

You also sell and check tickets, and provide customer service, resolve complaints, solve dilemmas and provide operational support to the driver where required. You're responsible for the safety of your passengers, the safe loading and operation of the train and sometimes making important decision. You'll get a break during the day and work is dependent on location.

At the end of the shift, you might have to kick everyone off the train, lock it up and what not, or you might just walk off depending on the circumstances. Pay in your machine, check your next shift and you're done.

All in all it's pleasant enough day to day, pretty varied and involved and I love it. 90+ out of a hundred shifts will be as above with maybe the odd issue to provide some jnterest/challenge/vexation.

Do bear in mind however that at any point and with no warning whatsoever something serious could go wrong and then you will earn your money. Someone could jump under your train and strand you, not to mention traumatising the driver, for hours. You could hit a car on a level crossing causing a whole world of problems. A passenger might have a heart attack and die on board. Someone for no reason whatsoever might take exception to your asking them for a ticket and swing for you.

In all the above situations, and many more that could arise from the trivial to the direst emergency, you are required to keep your head, be responsible, and act in accordance with the training you are given, take charge as appropriate, and work as part of a team, or if necessary alone.

They are particularly unlikely to happen but I mention them because they will definitely come up in the recruitment process and in training. The way I sum it up is that as a guard, the point you will come into your ultimate action and responsibility is potentially when someone you know and get on with is dead at the front of the train and you still have to function.

If you have the right temperament to pass the tests, recruitment process and training you will be fine, but it's important to know exactly what you're walking into if you take a safety critical role on the railway.

As I said above - I love it and I'd not move on for the world. The vast majority of the time it's a fantastic job, the wages are good, the people are great and it's worth every minute of the hassle you occasionally get (which to be more realistic is more likely nowadays to involve some scummer or other passively refusing to pay than a rail disaster!).

It's a great job and I echo all of the above. Ironically I'd say it's no bad thing for something to go wrong (not injury/worse) fairly soon after you start as it stops you from worrying. So a train fault, failure of something in front of you so you get stuck etc. I know of one guard who had to lay protection (assistance, I assume) on their first day. I know when I first started I used to spend ages wondering what I'd do in scenario X but once you've had one thing go wrong you tend to feel happier that you can, in fact, cope when it goes t*ts up.
 

Need2

Member
Joined
15 Jun 2016
Messages
595
Just a quickie, slightly off topic!
Whats the difference (if any) between a guard and a conductor?
 

Flamingo

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2010
Messages
6,810
And no offence to 'plastictaffy' but those who want to 'read the paper all day with their feet up' are a disgrace to the grade and should be in their local Jobcentre via performance management. That's not the job anymore and if you think it is, it's outevolved you.

Back cab heroes are not to be encouraged.

I agree 100% with everything you said, except for this - I agree with this 200%!

There are great opportunities for skiving in the Guards job, as so much of it is away from anybodys eye. It's a shame that some people take advantage, it does reflect on everybody.
 

plastictaffy

Member
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
1,104
Location
Unfortunately, Maps has stopped.
And no offence to 'plastictaffy' but those who want to 'read the paper all day with their feet up' are a disgrace to the grade and should be in their local Jobcentre via performance management. That's not the job anymore and if you think it is, it's outevolved you.

Back cab heroes are not to be encouraged.

Quite so, I wholeheartedly agree with you, but there's plenty out there that do!!! Unfortunately, my TOC allow many to get away with it, and it's been made difficult for them to discipline for lack of customer service, due to their a)inconsistency in dealing with it in the past, and
b) general uselessness within management

We also have guards that wear incorrect uniform on a regular basis, (no tie, company branded polo shirt rather than the supplied dress shirt) and RMT reps that WILL NOT walk trains. At all. Ever. When questioned they use the safety of train as an excuse - ie it wasn't safe to walk the train due to passenger loadings or whatever.
 

Kim_Badger

Member
Joined
27 Jun 2016
Messages
38
Hi again all,

I have now been sent an interview date and the time provided is 8.45 - 13.00 so I am guessing there is some form of group task/assessment before hand. Any one happen to have any insight into what this might entail?

I'm guessing if an interview follows this it will be competency based?

Any help gratefully received and you have all been fab so far!
 
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