Railway industry cameraderie, past and present

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70014IronDuke

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Is there much cameraderie, solidarity, call it what you will, in the industry today?

With the break up of former BR, and subsequent increase in blame mentality, it is easy to imagine there is less than formerly.

Plus, of course, the human interaction on the railway is far less than it was up to beginning of modernisation. The railway in 1960 was full of humans, who needed to interact every hour, at least regarding operating staff - on the platforms, on the footplate and in signalboxes. these days, I suspect few drivers ever see a signalman on many runs.

At the same time, I don't know how much a dolly in the typing pool at Litchurch Lane carriage works actually had in common with a PW man on the trackside shovelling ballast, so perhaps it's not correct to look back and pretend everyone felt a strong cameraderie.
 
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ilkestonian

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Is there much cameraderie, solidarity, call it what you will, in the industry today?

With the break up of former BR, and subsequent increase in blame mentality, it is easy to imagine there is less than formerly.

Plus, of course, the human interaction on the railway is far less than it was up to beginning of modernisation. The railway in 1960 was full of humans, who needed to interact every hour, at least regarding operating staff - on the platforms, on the footplate and in signalboxes. these days, I suspect few drivers ever see a signalman on many runs.

At the same time, I don't know how much a dolly in the typing pool at Litchurch Lane carriage works actually had in common with a PW man on the trackside shovelling ballast, so perhaps it's not correct to look back and pretend everyone felt a strong cameraderie.
From what I hear, there is less than there used to be for many reasons, some of which relate to privatisation, hence fragmentation. For example, less use of mess rooms, signing on points etc, no spare turns to speak of, so less chance to have a good chinwag, and not least, the fact that most younger staff spend free time looking at their phone, not nattering...
 

Llanigraham

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I think there is a lot of camaraderie. Certainly there are plenty of drivers who still wave, and sometimes even toot, at us lonely signallers in our lonely Boxes. (at least whilst we still exist)

And I have certainly found that some guards still recognise we are all "of one family" and have been up-graded to more comfortable seats ;-}
 

306024

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Is there much cameraderie, solidarity, call it what you will, in the industry today?

With the break up of former BR, and subsequent increase in blame mentality, it is easy to imagine there is less than formerly.
Difficult question. Having worked in BR and TOC world, and worked with NR (who range from excellent to frustrating), it would be easy to say there is less camera dearie (auto correct did that!) these days.

A bit of a generalisation but staff who see themselves as railwaymen first and foremost, regardless of employer, possibly find more cameraderie than those who simply see their own employers point of view.
 

bramling

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Is there much cameraderie, solidarity, call it what you will, in the industry today?

With the break up of former BR, and subsequent increase in blame mentality, it is easy to imagine there is less than formerly.

Plus, of course, the human interaction on the railway is far less than it was up to beginning of modernisation. The railway in 1960 was full of humans, who needed to interact every hour, at least regarding operating staff - on the platforms, on the footplate and in signalboxes. these days, I suspect few drivers ever see a signalman on many runs.

At the same time, I don't know how much a dolly in the typing pool at Litchurch Lane carriage works actually had in common with a PW man on the trackside shovelling ballast, so perhaps it's not correct to look back and pretend everyone felt a strong cameraderie.
It's still there, but it's more optional to subscribe to the way of life nowadays compared to the past. Some newer staff prefer to keep to themselves, and there are marginally more rotten apples compared to the past, but the railway family remains alive and well.
 

gimmea50anyday

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It does. Generally people are still friends and colleagues regardless of the uniform colour, just as in any other employer. There will be some who use the uniform as a divider, others ignore it. Separate messrooms doesnt help, but a lot of places still use and provide communal messrooms aswell.
 

ungreat

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Depends on depot
Some of the new guys don't associate with us older hands,but the ones that do are usually great lads/lasses
But...yes,to a degree,it's still there. Less than it was,but still there
 

Cherry_Picker

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There's a danger of rose tinted spectacles when it comes to this topic. People sat with their head buried in newspapers and books long before smartphones were invented and there have always been mess rooms where blokes from some depots wouldn't let people from other depots/links sit at certain tables.

Camaraderie is there to be found to this very day, I've been bumped into first class when on duty travelling pass on another TOC's trains on multiple occasions and almost to a man every member of train crew is pleasant to me regardless of what colour shirt they are wearing. Maybe is is less of a thing in more retail focussed grades but in ops I've not really noticed a decline since privatisation.
 

Carlisle

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At the same time, I don't know how much a dolly in the typing pool at Litchurch Lane carriage works actually had in common with a PW man on the trackside shovelling ballast, so perhaps it's not correct to look back and pretend everyone felt a strong cameraderie.
Yes I think your right with tha above paragraph, I was told off in 1988 as a S&T worker for dumping rubbish in the neighbouring P Way depots skip, so it wasn't always one big happy family :D
 

cin88

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There's a danger of rose tinted spectacles when it comes to this topic. People sat with their head buried in newspapers and books long before smartphones were invented and there have always been mess rooms where blokes from some depots wouldn't let people from other depots/links sit at certain tables.

My dad often used to tell me that Liverpool Lime Street mess was bad for this. He said that the guards and drivers there refused to associate with each other and pretty much had the room divided down the middle. No idea if it's true nowadays though, dad having long since moved to DRS and me never seeing anything behind the scenes at Lime Street during my 3 years at uni.
 

R4_GRN

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Is this forum not proof that this does exist? judging by the number of employees who post on here. I cannot think of another industry where employees regularly post to each other and others like myself who are just interested in railways
 

sprinterguy

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The camaraderie is still much in evidence. :) As is the tribalism; be it between grades, regions or in divisions that haven't even existed for maybe twenty years. :p
 

70014IronDuke

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I have a question; what exactly is a "dolly"?
THAT is a very good question, RichmondCommuter, but I will try to help, since I suspect typing pools themselves are more or less an extinct institution these days. Even in their time, 'dolly' was a difficult breed to pin down - more a know "one if you met one" (if you see what I mean). From personal experience, one of them - a blonde one, as it happened - turned round on the stairs one morning and said 'hello' to me. My legs more or less turned into jelly at the time :)

(I later - the legs having recovered - half walked said dolly home after work ..... somehow it didn't work out, or I might be living near the Derby Arboretum to this day :) )
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I think there is a lot of camaraderie. Certainly there are plenty of drivers who still wave, and sometimes even toot, at us lonely signallers in our lonely Boxes. (at least whilst we still exist)

And I have certainly found that some guards still recognise we are all "of one family" and have been up-graded to more comfortable seats ;-}
Good to hear it. I suspect that, on the operating side, it is still there. Of course, as others have noted, there are many distractions today (i-phone syndrome etc) and of course, when there were firemen/secondmen, together, with bobbies every few hundred yards or mile or two, it was very obvious everybody relied on each other, not only for our jobs, but in many cases, our lives. (I say 'our' here because, on the engineering side, I was on the footplate quite regularly, albeit not in any direct operational role.)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
From what I hear, there is less than there used to be for many reasons, some of which relate to privatisation, hence fragmentation. For example, less use of mess rooms, signing on points etc, no spare turns to speak of, so less chance to have a good chinwag, and not least, the fact that most younger staff spend free time looking at their phone, not nattering...
hmmm. Yes. makes sense. Thanks for this (even if not what I would prefer to hear) and to other posters for thoughtful comments.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The camaraderie is still much in evidence. :) As is the tribalism; be it between grades, regions or in divisions that haven't even existed for maybe twenty years. :p
You mean the Glasgow and South Western still don't talk to the Caledonian?
 

scotraildriver

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There's a danger of rose tinted spectacles when it comes to this topic. People sat with their head buried in newspapers and books long before smartphones were invented and there have always been mess rooms where blokes from some depots wouldn't let people from other depots/links sit at certain tables.
We used to have 1 single job that required a break at Glasgow Central. The first time I did the job I sat at the "wrong" table. I can't repeat what was said but I've never gone in there again.
 

LowLevel

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It's still about. There's miserable gits and those out only for themselves but by and large one I've never worked anywhere quite like the railway for being like an extended family. We have our differences with the management but by and large on a day to day level I would still include many of ours in that. If you have problems there's always someone there to listen or give advice and I've even seen people with temporary issues caused by illness or bereavement or similar and people can't do enough - whether it's support, a helping hand, or even money flying out of the collective wallets.

I feel very lucky to work where I do. The roster clerks are accommodating, we still have a local TCS and my colleagues are great.

I also do my best to be as friendly as possible with people like the freight guys, Network Rail etc - when the **** hits the fan it makes it a lot easier to sort. Drivers and guards generally get on, we take it in turns to get the tea or coffee on (drivers tend to be even more generous and get the bacon rolls too :D ).
 
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matt_world2004

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I don't think there is any camoradarie in the rail industry. Try asking the swt gateline staff if you can go for a **** in the toilets at clapham junction when you are working within the station for LOROL and you get told you have to pay!
 

lazydragon

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I travel every now and then with my sister and brother in law, who's a driver, and he always seems to be talking to the staff or another driver he meets on the train, exchanging stories and going back through their histories to see who they know.

I wouldn't necessarily say that the camaraderie is greater than in other jobs (always used to get a pint for the price of a splash of coke when I used to work behind the bar, but was off duty at the time), but I think it will still be there for the majority of people in terms of what I've seen traveling.
 

craigybagel

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I don't think it's just us "newer" staff who are to blame for things changing - there still a few old farts around who won't so much as look at you if you've not been on the railway 30 years no matter how friendly you are.

That said, the camaraderie is definitely still there. All you have to do is get two people from the railway together and watch them swap stories. At my depot at least, we're all one big family, drivers and guards alike. We might not be a happy family all the time but we do all look out for each other.
 

LowLevel

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There are, granted, one or two old gits who should just give it up and retire but for reasons best known to them carry on. Most of our older hands are extremely sociable though and it's been a pleasure to work with and learn from them.
 
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