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Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by jim8970, 8 Aug 2015.
What shift pattern do grade 2 signalman or women do?
It depends entirely on the box. Some have weekends off, some work 12 hours, some 8.
What box are you asking about?
Signal box near Dundee
Unless there's someone on the area that frequents the forum, you're best off calling the LOM.
This document might be useful - it won't tell you the shift patterns, but it will at least allow you to see whether your box of choice is open continuously or closes at night (or some nights at least). It's a bit outdated in places, but it's still a good guide.
Great link, thanks very helpful. So would 24 hours be 3 eight hour or 2 twelve hour shifts? The box I applied for is longforgan!
Yes. Most likely.
That said, where i work it is divided up into 7/8/9 for early/late/night respectively.
Like I said, you're best off calling the LOM, arranging a visit and talking to the signalman.
Thanks for advice, will do that if I make progress on application!
I work on the pway in the central belt and our regular visited boxes (Grangemouth junction, fouldubs jn & carmuirs East) all work a similar pattern of days, nights and back shift, so 8 hour shifts on a rotational basis with 2 rest days per week being normal.
Not saying it will be the same in the boxes around dundee as has been stated some boxes work a clock face roster of night/day shift or 12 hour shifts and some boxes are not constantly manned so work differing shift patterns.
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Just asked a lad who covers on call up that way and he thinks most boxes all the way to aberdeen are 24 hours but couldn't confirm exact hours for each box or which ones switch out
I think longforgan is 24 hour manned apart from midnight sat to 8am sun. Thanks!
In common with the rest of the LOM Tayside area, Longforgan box works 2x12 hour shifts which comprise a 00:00 - 12:00 nightshift and 12:00 - 00:00 dayshift. The signalboxes on the Perth to Dundee line close at 23:59 on a Saturday night and reopen at 08:00 on a Sunday morning. Sunday (overtime) shifts are 08:00 - 16:00 early and 16:00 - 00:00 late. All shifts change over 30 minutes before the official booked times.
Longforgan is a very quiet box and you will become very bored, very quickly. For 90% lf the day there is just one train an hour in each direction. Both are scheduled to pass each other virtually outside the box so for 55 minutes of the hour you have nothing to do. The box gets roasting hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. The signaller supervises two Automatic Half Barrier level crossings at Templehall and Inchture, as well as the Manually Controlled Barrier level crossing right next to the box. It also looks after a heavily used User Worked Crossing at Kingston Farm - which is a pain - and a much less frequently used UWC at Pilmore West. Realistically there is very little opportunity for promotion within the local area so don't expect to move on to better things quickly unless you're prepared to move to Edinburgh, Glasgow or further afield.
A word of advice; don't just speculatively turn up at the signalbox looking for a visit without arranging it officially with the LOM first.
Thanks for the info. Do you know the shifts at pitlochry?
The shifts at Pitlochry are the same (12hrs, midnight/midday) but the box doesn't open until 10:40 on a Sunday morning. Pitlochry comes under a different LOM from Longforgan.
Signallers work a basic 35 hour week. The shift pattern at these boxes is 3 on 4 off over a 12 week roster cycle, with 2 Sunday shifts every four weeks. There's an additional Rest Day and a Safety Briefing every 12 weeks. Sundays are outside the working week so are technically overtime but if you can't find someone willing to work for you then you are contractually obliged to work. Long weekend is every four weeks. There's also an unpleasant short turnround from days to nights, where you do 3x 12-00s Thursday Friday Saturday then are out for three 00-12s on the Monday morning (which is really Sunday night), every four weeks.
So you get an unpaid 20 min break every shift! Sorry but what's LOM stand for. Thanks for info, will wait and see how I get on. I take it they keep online assessments on file for a certain length of time as got email saying they received it but I didn't complete one. I failed at this the last time so not too confident it will make it this time. Wait and see I guess!
No, signallers in single manned signaboxes like Longforgan and Pitlochry get NO statutory breaks paid or otherwise. Breaks are supposed to be taken as workload permits which means you could in theory be working for 12 hours continuously, though admittedly this is unusual. Generally you will find some time to yourself to cook, eat or go to the toilet but the phone could ring or an emergency could arise at any time. You get used to being interrupted and eating with one hand. At Longforgan or Pitlochry you'll have plenty of time between trains but this is a big issue in the busier single manned locations and it's a problem that Network Rail is simply not interested in fixing.
LOM stands for Local Operations Manager - they are the line managers for signallers.
I should also add that as signalling is a safety critical task you aren't allowed to use any electronic devices like ipads or TVs while you're on shift. Newspapers and books only (some signalboxes are allowed a radio but there are restrictions associated with them too). Oh and no sleeping either!
added some emphasis... let's just say that some boxes go... unvisited for long periods of time.
Gross misconduct if you are caught; many have been over the years too. Not worth losing your job over something stupid like watching Neighbours, as a colleague of mine did years ago.
In our area Grade 2 to 4 boxes are allowed radios. The ruling was changed about 4 years ago. However they have to be turned off if there is an incident or visitors in the box. TV's and personal computers/laptops/tablets are banned (officially). At one stage we were also told that Kindle's were banned.
You can also get onto the internet in many boxes, although many sites are "locked out" (not this one though!)
If its 12 hour shifts for three days then my calculation is 36, so why is it a 35 hour week?
Because there is no way to do 2 x 12 and 1 x 11, or 3 x 11.33.
What actually happens is that every 12 weeks you get an extra day off/not on roster. And I doubt you will work 3 on 3 off. My basic shift pattern was:
14 days in every 28.
Every 12 weeks the 7 off became 8 off with 3 days on following.
Different areas do things differently but in Scotland the extra hours are 'banked' to give an additional 12 hour Rest Day every 12 weeks (which is why it's a 12 week roster cycle). It did used to be a 36 hour working week but that changed in 2006. The shift pattern I have quoted is the actual shift pattern of the box... I should know.
If they ban electronic devices because signal staff need to maintain concentration(I presume) how do they justify 12 hour shifts. My concentration would be shot by the end of 12 hours.
You get used to it. Although it does take a certain mindset and type of character to be a signaller in a single manned location (and a slightly different attitude in a larger signalbox).
Presumably the way they justified them before said devices became all-pervading.
In which case I'd suggest the job isn't for you. I'd hate to think my life (as a driver) was in the hands of someone who couldn't complete their shift in the box without signalling me into the path of a 125mph Pendolino because they weren't able to find out which one of their mates thought August having five Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only happened once every 823 years...
Sorry, but are you sure a signalman's job is for you?
I didn't say a signalman's job was for me tho. Did I? I guessing it is not for you either
The fact that he describes himself as a Bobby would suggest that it is the job for him...
Read what it says under my forum name! :roll:
My thousandth post!!