Route learning tips please?

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2011dandd

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Hi
With covid still for the moment causing disruption to normal learning practices and social distancing bla bla bla. Wondered if a anyone has any tips on leaning the route, it’s all there in the maps and the sectional appendix, but I’m talking about methods of getting it to stick, simplifying it all etc.
Cheers
 
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Father Jack

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When I was a young secondman back in the early 1980s, a top link driver told me the best way to learn a route was to remember, off by heart, all the stations on a line of route first, then you can populate it with all the signals, speed restrictions, crossings, tunnels, bridges, etc. It's always worked for me.
 

tiptoptaff

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If you're a trainee, ask your DIs, Managers, training school for tips. But you'll come to know it by driving it.

If you're a qualified driver, just do whatever you did in training to get it to stick
 

Ceat0908

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I’ve always thought this was one of the most impressive parts of train driving. Speed limit changes sometimes without warning boards or warning boards with very little distance without a harsh break application, stations in the middle of no where with repetitive scenery before it. Especially on routes with a lot of speed changes and mileage. Newcastle based drivers with the lodge link, that’s Impressive.
 

wobman

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Trainee drivers should have completed the principles of route learning course and that helps in working out a method that suits your individual learning style.
Drivers have their own methods, some draw pics of routes with what they need to know, others work on lists.

Going over the routes with DIs or experienced drivers is very beneficial, hopefully once covid bubbles calms down in cab learning returns as watching DVDs of routes is not ideal.
 

whoosh

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Do what Father Jack suggests above, and don't panic. It won't really sink in until you are driving with an Instructor/Minder.
 

djack123son

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Agree with stations in order first.. and ultimately I did my guard's route learning by exceptions and patterns.. if a platform curves with you, nearly always a banner repeater, and if it curves against you/island platform, you get an off indicator. No starter signal at Norbiton.. starter signals everywhere else etc etc.
 

Astro_Orbiter

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I think most of us learn by repetition, by the end of your trainee hours you'll have hopefully gone over your core routes to death and can't help but know most of the stuff by then
 

westcoaster

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Back in the day of being a trainee driver, I think it was about 175 hours in that everything clicked into place.

Start with stations, junctions, tunnels/structures then build up from there.

Also your TOC will also have a route learning website or videos to peruse at your own convenience.
 

MichaelAMW

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Trainee drivers should have completed the principles of route learning course and that helps in working out a method that suits your individual learning style.
Drivers have their own methods, some draw pics of routes with what they need to know, others work on lists.

Going over the routes with DIs or experienced drivers is very beneficial, hopefully once covid bubbles calms down in cab learning returns as watching DVDs of routes is not ideal.
I've never been near the railway professionally but I have been near teaching adults - this is the key point. You need to work out your preferred learning style AND your preferred way of stucturing and retaining information in your head. Once you've done that, you in effect have a method that YOU can use to learn best. It sounds to me that the process is likely to be rather "bitty", which I imagine doesn't suit everyone, but you can allow for that in your method. If you're a "top down" or "big picture" type then you'll say: "Right, London to York, that's via Peterborough and Doncaster; Stevenage, Grantham, Newark in between; Finsbury Park Oakleigh Park, Potters Bar but we don't stop there; Langley Junction, Hitchin Junction, Digswell..." etc. If you're a details type you'll start at Kings Cross and crawl to York in your head, picking it all up on the way in order - I suspect that would be hard but you'd know it well at the end.
 

wobman

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I've never been near the railway professionally but I have been near teaching adults - this is the key point. You need to work out your preferred learning style AND your preferred way of stucturing and retaining information in your head. Once you've done that, you in effect have a method that YOU can use to learn best. It sounds to me that the process is likely to be rather "bitty", which I imagine doesn't suit everyone, but you can allow for that in your method. If you're a "top down" or "big picture" type then you'll say: "Right, London to York, that's via Peterborough and Doncaster; Stevenage, Grantham, Newark in between; Finsbury Park Oakleigh Park, Potters Bar but we don't stop there; Langley Junction, Hitchin Junction, Digswell..." etc. If you're a details type you'll start at Kings Cross and crawl to York in your head, picking it all up on the way in order - I suspect that would be hard but you'd know it well at the end.
After 20 years on the railways and plenty of road learning I've developed a system that works for me, I'm a repetition

After 20 years on the railways and plenty of road learning I've developed a system that works for me, I'm a repetition type learner and I draw route maps with brief notes. A route map has all kinds of details such as station stops / stopping points / speed restrictions / land marks etc
 

43066

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It varies for everyone. Some people like to visualise things by annotating maps, writing lists. But for me (and I suspect for everybody in the end);

But you'll come to know it by driving it.

That has been my experience both as a trainee and then as a qualified driver moving TOCs. Staring at maps simply simply doesn’t help in the learning phase, albeit I still carry annotated Track Access maps with me for when I need to check whether the 7 car train I’m driving can fit into the that unusual platform I’ve just been signalled into (that has saved my bacon).

Mnemonics/rhymes help with learning the order of features such as stations and tunnels: “Most Tunnels Will Collapse Badly” is the only one I can recall which is polite enough to be repeated on here!

In terms of route learning during Covid I’d agree with focussing on the station orders, tunnel names etc. But probably best not to overthink it or worry too much about it. Ultimately you’ll be given as long as you need.
 

Joshua_Harman

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Not railway, but when I was training to become a bus driver I would go out on my own day and learn the routes at my own pace, with the ability to, stop, get out, walk around and memorise things at your own pace, then when your company route learning day comes, you can piece together what you already learned on your own day (or days) and piece it all together.

weather this would work for a much longer route like an intercity trainline compared to a small city bus route IDK, but helped me!
 

2011dandd

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Cheers everyone
Thanks for all your replies. Having done nearly 20hours driving I’m still very new to it but actually driving the route is the best learning
 

wobman

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Cheers everyone
Thanks for all your replies. Having done nearly 20hours driving I’m still very new to it but actually driving the route is the best learning
It's all depends if the route your driving over is a core route in your future link of work, some depots have the trainees driving non core routes to get their hours in easier.

Hopefully your driving over a core route and the repition of driving over that route in day and night hours helps, routes look very different at night and braking points and markers need to be visible in both circumstances.

As a train driver learning a route it is very different from learning a route in other industries, we don't get sat navs and braking points can be a long distance from a station etc. Route learning is an essential skill to develop and chatting to other drivers about routes I find is a great help whilst learning the route

Good luck out their
 

richfoz84

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I’d say (from experience) that drawing the routes over & over, each time adding more in then taking a break, going back to it and doing it a couple more times from memory then checking if I was right.

I keep a little exercise book in my bag if I get a spare few hours on shift to draw some maps in.

works for me!
 

Efini92

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Start with the basics stations, junctions, speeds. Then build it up from there. If the route is large or complicated in sections, break the route down into sections.
 

Pilotman

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The way I learn a route is 1st I identify the route risks. This could be read through, read-across, short signal sections, etc. Also stations on a blind approach. If you can identify the risks first then if you do have a moment that you forget then if you drive knowing the route risks, it will keep you safer. Your instructors and colleagues are very useful as some have a huge wealth of experience and most of them would like to share this with you as at the end of the day we are all on the same team and look out for each other. If you can drive it as much as possible, driving a route helps you pick it up better rather than sitting second man.

Sectional Appendix and route maps are only a reference tool, very difficult to learn from. Your driving instructor should see you right, but knowing route risks is half the battle.

Hope this helps
 
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