"Too many railway workers are paid to do nothing"

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50047

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I've just been watching Dvorak's New World Syphony on BBC2.

The bassoon players dont seem to be doing very much.

Perhaps we should get rid of them.

Quite right. And I've noticed that our local Police just seem to stroll around our town centre now and then. Off with them also
 
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I work for a TOC and I was surprised when I joined the majority of workmates read such right wing papers such as The Sun and the Daily Mail? I am thinking of the news content rather than page 3!
 

Xavi

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A hopeless piece of journalism by someone who clearly lives on another planet. Exeter Central is used by 1000s of passengers every day and is a key to the economic success that Exeter is - barely touched by the economic downturn in comparison to most other places of similar size. We're moving into an age where the young generation cannot contemplate car ownership and a central station served by several regular routes, like Exeter Central is, has boomed for a number of years now and helped to make the city thrive. Other towns or cities are not so fortunate with their surviving rail links.
 

Flamingo

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Well, look at all the public sector workers who do nothing but stand around. I saw three policemen just standing in Paddington today, surely they should be doing something? And every time 10 Downing Street comes on, there is a lazy bugger just standing outside it. The Army is no better, I mean, there are a few dozen blokes just standing outside Buckingham Palace. We could save money by getting rid of them.
 

NSEFAN

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Oswyntail said:
Perhaps the hypocrites also include those who are willing to slag off anyone else doing a job they have no clue about while moaning that no one understands the job they themselves do.

My comment was made largely as a joke, so chill. :p

That said, I hope you can forgive my negative feelings towards a group of people who, whilst claiming that British workers are lazy, continue to make themselves comfortable at the expense of the taxpayer.
 

Ferret

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I work for a TOC and I was surprised when I joined the majority of workmates read such right wing papers such as The Sun and the Daily Mail? I am thinking of the news content rather than page 3!

Why? People often read all sorts of newspapers to gain perspective on current affairs! And yes, that does mean reading the Daily Mail at times!
 

Flamingo

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Osyntail, at the risk of getting personal, in the past you have been very quick and eager to tell me how do my job. Do your posts on this thread mean you have decided maybe you don't know everything about working trains? (what is your trade, by the way).
 

RPI

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Exeter St Davids needs to be staffed, for the number of passengers that use it
If there were no staff then it would probably be chaos

However, I do agree there are some stations currently manned which don't need to be (that was the whole point of the open station system)
Does Exeter Central really need to be staffed, given the number of services and passenger numbers?
what planet are you communicating from? you seriously suggest that Exeter Central should be unstaffed? it had a footfall of 1.66M in 2010/11! There are 2 gateline staff at Central at a time and 2 at st David's at a time and quite often RPI's also go there. The journalist is obviously one of the Topsham toff's who have been PF'd, their usual excuse for not using the TVM is "dear, I don't use ticket machines", a suitable reply from an RPI with a PF book in hand could be "nor do I, I just need to take some details......"
 

12CSVT

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No, the problem with today's railway is that there are too many managers who are paid £70k+ a year! Why have 2 managers doing 1 task when you can have 1 manager doing that task.

The real problem is managers who haven't worked their way up the grades, and as a consequence they haven't a clue how the railway works, so therefore they are nothing but a hinderance.
 

50047

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The real problem is managers who haven't worked their way up the grades, and as a consequence they haven't a clue how the railway works, so therefore they are nothing but a hinderance.

Spot on!.......................and shareholders
 

John55

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The real problem is managers who haven't worked their way up the grades, and as a consequence they haven't a clue how the railway works, so therefore they are nothing but a hinderance.

What is so special about the railway? Many people change jobs and industries during a career and both parties often benefit greatly from the exchange of ideas and techniques.

If I recall correctly it was only when BR started recruiting technical expertise from outside that the RTC developed bogies that were capable of giving a comfortable ride on CWR just for one example.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Spot on!.......................and shareholders

You do realise that the construction of almost all railways which exist in Britain today were paid for by shareholders?
 
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50047

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What is so special about the railway? Many people change jobs and industries during a career and both parties often benefit greatly from the exchange of ideas and techniques.

If I recall correctly it was only when BR started recruiting technical expertise from outside that the RTC developed bogies that were capable of giving a comfortable ride on CWR just for one example.

So BR employed engineers to look at engineering problems? Now they employ art graduates
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What is so special about the railway? Many people change jobs and industries during a career and both parties often benefit greatly from the exchange of ideas and techniques.

If I recall correctly it was only when BR started recruiting technical expertise from outside that the RTC developed bogies that were capable of giving a comfortable ride on CWR just for one example.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


You do realise that the construction of almost all railways which exist in Britain today were paid for by shareholders?

Yes, but well over 150 years ago, and I believe all had a significant input into its construction. Now they just cream off the profits and have no interest at all beyond that. The subsidy since BR has gone up to service that greed, nothing else, and if the going gets tough, just bail out
 
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John55

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So BR employed engineers to look at engineering problems? Now they employ art graduates
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Yes, but well over 150 years ago, and I believe all had a significant input into its construction. Now they just cream off the profits and have no interest at all beyond that. The subsidy since BR has gone up to service that greed, nothing else, and if the going gets tough, just bail out

Well I seem to remember that the railways were run by private companies until 1947 which is rather less than 150 years ago. When you say the shareholders had a significant input into the railways construction I assume you realise they paid for it?

Can you tell me how much currently goes out in dividends to shareholders? I have never tried to work it out and would be interested to know the figure.
 

Tiny Tim

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For a shoddy piece of 'opinion' journalism it certainly seems to have provoked a response. I'd have expected most members of this forum to treat the article with well-deserved contempt.
 

RPI

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For a shoddy piece of 'opinion' journalism it certainly seems to have provoked a response. I'd have expected most members of this forum to treat the article with well-deserved contempt.

Lol well said, I did have my rant but looking back your right!
 

Milky Bar Kid

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What a load of garbage! Exc has adequate staffing as its a cat C1 station, from what a friend has told me they were 'over' staffed but are now down to the regular 4 which work over 7 days same as EXD so no excess staff there!!

Also worth noting that HON, AXM etc STAR machines are defaulted EXD so true footfall figure for EXC might not be correct.

I would also imagine FGW have stringent cash regs for their ticket machines?

How about Digby & Sowton being p/t manned in the new franchise! im sure Mr Independent would love that, not just 2 in a TOWN but 3 STAFFED stations.
 

34Short

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The whole railway system costs a bomb, and it boils down to **** poor management. This was evident under BR, as it is today.
 

50047

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Well I seem to remember that the railways were run by private companies until 1947 which is rather less than 150 years ago. When you say the shareholders had a significant input into the railways construction I assume you realise they paid for it?

Can you tell me how much currently goes out in dividends to shareholders? I have never tried to work it out and would be interested to know the figure.

The statement was made with reference to its construction. You just have to read back in the thread to see that. And after that it was nationalised yes? And although that was perfect either, the idea was to run a 'public service'? An old fashioned concept I know :roll:

No idea and care even less. The point is the need to pay shareholders, the rail industry could likely have reduced its subsidy to near zero, and this mainly through that hard work of employees, including managers. And that would have achieved the efficiencies being sought, not sacking 1/3 of staff because your a bored toff lookign for something to drivel about in a newspaper.
 

starrymarkb

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The Profit margin for TOCs is very low. About 3% on average, assuming half of this is reinvested in the business that means for every £1 in fare income 1.5p goes to the TOC's shareholder which would be the owning group(s). Again some of that will be reinvested in the business so possibly 0.5p per £ will end up in the dividend.

Consider that most shops have a margin of about 20-30% and you'll see that railways are not the shareholder goldmine everyone thinks they are.

Most of the subsidy goes to Network Rail (state owned) for Infrastructure. A lot of the problems is that the privatisation was driven by the Tresurary who wanted the maximum income. Major wanted fewer larger franchises. Personally I think Gross Tendering would have been the way to go (and the continent agrees with me)
 

Wyvern

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There was an item on BBC News this morning, with a someone from a passenger group and a railway journalist.

Neither of them said anything about over staffing.

They both pointed to the much higher public transport subsidies on the continent and the fact that the British government does not take seriously the idea that moving workers around efficiently is an important part of the economy.
 

Oswyntail

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Osyntail, at the risk of getting personal, in the past you have been very quick and eager to tell me how do my job. Do your posts on this thread mean you have decided maybe you don't know everything about working trains? (what is your trade, by the way).
I have never maintained that I know everything about working trains. However, IIRC, my criticisms in the past have been about an apparent approach to dealing with people, which is something I do know about. I realise that there are many, many other aspects to your job, and I could not possibly advise you on those. My contributions to this thread are comments on those who seem to suggest that workers in the various professions should lose their jobs, without having more than the sketchiest experience of what those jobs entail.
As for my trade - well I have followed many paths over the years, from IT through being a civil servant to relationship counselling (bizarre, but it all seemed a logical progression at the time). The last job I was paid for was as a peripatetic PE Teacher - and if that isn't the most bizarre outcome of a mis-spent life, I don't know what is.
 

BestWestern

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Shows exactly what happens when a company refuses to recruit staff and try to run things with over reliance on voluntary overtime. ASLEF have been trying to get Sunday in the working week for a while but the TOCs don't want to hear it.

Is that right? Usually it's the company who are begging to have mandatory sundays and then Unions who won't go for it! ASLEF did allow it at FGW though to be fair. Optional sundays is the first thing that most TOCs who still have it would abolish!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The whole railway system costs a bomb, and it boils down to **** poor management. This was evident under BR, as it is today.

However it is far, far worse in today's confused system, as every company requires it's own squadrons of management, back office staff, and general army of pen-pushers doing the same as their comrades in the next company's offices next door. Then we have the bank-owned ROSCO's, charging eye watering sums of money to lease assets which once belonged to the railway. We have ATOS charging a fortune to lease TOC's it's antiquated, knackered and unfit for purpose revenue equipment, which those TOC's have no choice but to pay for. We have the well reported problem of having to call in the contractors at three figure sums to change light bulbs or fuses, we have Network Rail taking on major work at stations, taking their cut and then handing the contract on to somebody else to do, and so on...

But never mind, what we'll do is sack all the front line staff who actually make the wheels turn, cos they're all greedy b*stards who don't deserve a decent job :roll:
 

ainsworth74

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No idea and care even less. The point is the need to pay shareholders, the rail industry could likely have reduced its subsidy to near zero, and this mainly through that hard work of employees, including managers.

If you have no idea, how can you claim that getting rid of shareholders could reduce subsidies to zero (bearing in mind what starrymarkb has outlined about TOC profits)?

One thing I don't understand is why there is so much antagonism between frontline staff and the management? In what way is it helpful for anyone for the two to be at each other's throats?
 

A-driver

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Best western-the reason aslef want Sundays inside and that TOCs don't is that it would mean recruiting more drivers. To aslef that's good as it's creating more jobs and higher membership rates. To TOCs that's higher recruitment, training, sick pay, holiday pay, national insurance etc.

Not all drivers agree with aslef as some don't want to work Sundays whilst others do as it means higher pensionable pay as opposed to salaries being topped up with guaranteed overtime. If a TOC can run under establishment it will until things get so bad that the dft steps in.
 

ANorthernGuard

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Usually I don't mind working Sundays, however it is the only day of the week we can decide not to work, its not as if we get double time or anything to work them (we get time + 1/4) so to a lot of people it isn't worth it. and they would rather spend time with their families or do a pursuit that they are interested in.
 

John55

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The statement was made with reference to its construction. You just have to read back in the thread to see that. And after that it was nationalised yes? And although that was perfect either, the idea was to run a 'public service'? An old fashioned concept I know :roll:

No idea and care even less. The point is the need to pay shareholders, the rail industry could likely have reduced its subsidy to near zero, and this mainly through that hard work of employees, including managers. And that would have achieved the efficiencies being sought, not sacking 1/3 of staff because your a bored toff lookign for something to drivel about in a newspaper.

All railway companies (or at least those with some hope of making money) raised money throughout their lives by issuing new stock in order to finance various aspects of their business.

When the BTC was created in 1948 to take over the railways etc the debt was not cancelled. In order to finance the purchase of the companies Government Bonds were issued (approx £1.1bn 1948 prices. £35bn today) which the BTC had to pay interest on (at 3%) and when the bonds came up for redemption the BTC had to refinance itself.

The result of this was the cost of capital for the BTC was much greater than for the LMS/SR/GWR etc because the BTC had to pay fixed interest whether the company made money or not. In the bad years in the 20s and 30s the railways did not pay dividends or very small ones.

So in effect nationalisation could be more difficult financially than private ownership.

There was nowhere in the BTCs term of reference as far as I know a duty to run a public service. Its duty was to not loose money (after paying the debt above) and to intergrate transport. In fact it failed dismally to do either.
 

Beveridges

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No, the problem with today's railway is that there are too many managers who are paid £70k+ a year! Why have 2 managers doing 1 task when you can have 1 manager doing that task.


I knew one station manager on £30k a year and his job looked really easy, every time I saw him he was either on his mobile phone having a laugh with his mates, only thing making him look like he was actually doing anything was the odd mithering staff about not wearing namebadges and ties!! No crappy shifts, very easy working hours, no early shifts, no night shifts in fact always home before tea time. He then got promoted to a higher layer of management on £45k. However he had to cover his old job and his new job at the same time for a few weeks until he became permenant in his new job and he still didnt look busy, still working easy hours and still having a laugh with his mates on his mobile!! How easy must these jobs be if one manager can do a £30k job and a £45k job at the same time and still have it very very easy!!!!
Compare that to maintenance depot staff
 
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chuckles1066

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From today's Independent.

Full article here.

Maybe the author is using a bit of artistic licence, but there's little doubt that we need to get the cost of running the UK's rail network down to European levels. I have just travelled half the length of Spain for 20 euros, and bought a four-day pass for Swiss railways for about the cost of a single ticket from London to Manchester.

Well they could second two of the four at Exeter at plonk them at Filton AbbeyWood......they'd recoup their salary costs before 8.30a.m, trust me.
 
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