Train Driver Rosters

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by George123, 20 Nov 2011.

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  1. George123

    George123 Member

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    Hello,

    I'm thinking about becoming a train driver for a company like TPE or Northern Rail and I was wonder whether any of you drivers had any information of what your rosters are like and if you had any examples. Freight, charter and passenger rosters welcome, commuter and intercity.

    Cheers
    George123
     
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  3. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Rostering varies company to company depending on their T&Cs. The rosters are known as links.

    I am a suburban/rural multiple unit driver working 4 days, 35 hours (average). Turns vary between 6-10 hours most are around 9 hours. Certain weeks I work 6 days others 4. 12 hours rest minimum between turns is required. My rest days are on a 3 week repeating cycle ie:

    Week 1 - Mon/Tues
    Week 2 - Wed/Thu
    Week 3 - Fri/Sat

    Sundays are outside my working week. Many depots have multiple sets of links containing different work. Some TOCs still work on progressive links based on seniority so the more service you have the higher link position you take. In BR days this meant working your way through shunting, goods, local work before taking your place working express trains in the 'top' link. My TOC no longer has progressive linking despite having multiple links at my depot, any move is done by application.

    Given the shift working nature of the job some weeks are early turn while some are late turn.
     
  4. George123

    George123 Member

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    Thanks,

    I actually like the idea of shift working - working and seeing the dawn and the world awakening and then watching it go to bed on other days :) Also, 4 days a week seems excellent and also, if you are doing an early and it's 9 hours then you got the afternoon off - excellent. Obviously though you would be tired from an early start though ;)
     
  5. mac

    mac Member

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    Not trying to put you down,but have you applied for any driver jobs yet getting the job is the hard bit not what shifts you work
     
  6. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    Indeed...

    And there's a massive difference between liking the idea of shift work and actually doing shift work...

    You don't though. You'll end up in bed knackered.

    Also, 9 hour shift, that it? Last time I was working unsocials it was anywhere between 7 and 14hr shifts, and I never had any idea what it would be until I saw the dispatch sheets when I got into the depot at 3:30am.

    I've seen many a 'young buck' including far too many students try and come work my night shifts when I was at a popular airport retailer, and they were usually dead the 2nd or 3rd night in because they hadn't slept, thinking they could have a 'free morning, or 'free afternoon'. Thats simply because they didn't listen to me and sleep, I've done shifts of many lengths and fast turnarounds, 24hr shifts, you name it, i've probably done it at some point (Except 9 to 5, I've only done that once, hated it). I've also seen way too many people liking the idea of shifts, and then dieing after the first week because they try and 'get up early' every day, it doesn't work, you need to change your sleep pattern, and know how to change it frequently if you want to sleep properly on rotating shifts.
     
  7. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    The thought of having the afternoon off after an early turn is great but when you've been up since 01:30 it soon turns into wanting to go back to bed! Especially when you're on the 5th 03:30 start in a row.

    Without wanting to get into a job vs job comparison skit, working a 9 hour early turn driving a train is different to working a 12 hour turn in a warehouse (I have done both). I also worked 11-12 hour shift working turns when I was driving buses and coaches - something I'd gladly avoid for the rest of my life. Shift working isn't for everyone and does take some getting used to, personally I love it and once you get into a rythm it does get easier. The TOCs give advice on managing your lifestyle to get the best out of the way of life railways give you.
     
  8. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    driver9000 exactly...

    It is very different doing nights as a driver (I did 3.5tonne overnight and early 3:30am - 4pm) as it is to stocking and warehousing nights and shifts, and different again to data entry shifts, did lates for them.
     
  9. deltic1989

    deltic1989 Established Member

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    I would agree that high concentration jobs (like train/truck/bus driving) can be very taxing more so than working in a popular fast food outlet for example. I have never driven a train so cannot comment on that in particular but i would imagine it was similar if not harder than truck driving which i have been doing on and off for agencies since i left the navy. What im trying to say is that whilst earlys may seem attractive because of the afternoon off, that time is sleep time and trust me you will want to, imagine that you have just spent 10 hours squinting out of a small window into the gloom with only a headlight to light the way looking for some landmark to tell you where you are and having to almost continuously ajust speed and keep an eye on vital things, its going to be very mentally taxing and you will be tired.
     
  10. George123

    George123 Member

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    I'm fully aware of the fact that you'll be tired from a long shift and thats why I put it into my last reply. Also, entering a job just because of the hours you work, or how long you work, would be a very silly thing to do and so I would apply because I wanted to drive. I would hate a 9 - 5 job. :)

    Anyway... rosters is what i'm interested in, not incorrect preconceptions of the job. :D

    Cheers drive9000 :)
     
  11. Urban Gateline

    Urban Gateline Established Member

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    Arrogance is not looked upon well in the Railway industry ;) I suppose you expect the TOC's to lay down the red carpet for you immediately once you graduate? :lol:
     
  12. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    They really don't, they ignore emails and make it hard for you to get in...
     
  13. George123

    George123 Member

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    Come on guys :) this thread is meant to be about rosters - it has since digressed, and saracstic and maybe some rude replies have appeared. I really don't want to argue :)
     
    Last edited: 21 Nov 2011
  14. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Some of other train crew members on the forum may be able to give you an idea into their rostering patterns but to go on the examples given in the first post, Northern and TPE have very different link patterns in respect to rest days. Indeed Northern is still split between FNW and ATN conditions in the driving grade. My earliest book on is around 03:00 with my latest book off being around 01:45 - along with everything inbetween! Some TOCs have over night turns, in particular freight operators who have a lot of engineering possession work along with freight there isn't room for during the day. Some TOCs (East Coast for example) have lodging turns which involve staying overnight in a hotel. Some TOCs have Sundays outside the working week, some inside the working week. It really depends on the company your interested in. The forum has a broad cross section of the industry with crew from a lot of TOCs and freight dropping in.
     
  15. George123

    George123 Member

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    Thanks again! I know it's not TPE or NR but would a Virgin driver do Euston to Glasgow return, or would they change drivers at Preston so the London one can go back down? - I suppose it depends on the time of day and how far through the shift the driver is.
     
    Last edited: 21 Nov 2011
  16. driver9000

    driver9000 Established Member

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    Virgin change crew at Preston, they don't work the whole line one sitting. Preston depot is the only VT one that signs the route end to end - they have a sizeable route card there.
     
  17. Beveridges

    Beveridges Established Member

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    Of cause don't forget TOCs like DRS that have really late overnight jobs (for example 01:00-10:00) then lodging during the day then start work again at about 22:00!
     
  18. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Absolutely not - though FGW drivers get through to Swansea.

    Driving time is carefully monitered for fatigue ,as well as productivity. "Human factors" etc.

    For my own part , I hated night shifts with a passion. Give me a late turn anyday.
     
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