Trainee train driver training

MichaelT

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15 Sep 2021
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London
Hello guys, starting my training for trainee train driver with great northern soon so I just wondering if anyone can help me with these questions.

how long does training last?

when should I be expecting joining instructions?

what can I expect on a average day in training? I.E is enjoyable?

What is the average pass out time?

If anyone can assist me with these questions would be great. Feel free to private message me
 
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Sheps7755

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13 Feb 2018
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You'll get joining instructions a few weeks before you start.

You'll be training at Hornsey most likely, Monday to Friday 9-5 initially for rules for 14 weeks. Some weeks will be front end turns.

You'll then do traction which will depend on your depot but likely 717 and 700 which will be around 4 weeks again of Monday to Friday.

You'll also have other courses in with this.

Then you'll be with a di for around 6 months (though this may take a while to start with a di)

Anywhere between a year and 2 years to go from trainee to qualified currently.
 
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lawtoni

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Joined
6 May 2021
Messages
19
Location
herts
Hello guys, starting my training for trainee train driver with great northern soon so I just wondering if anyone can help me with these questions.

how long does training last?

when should I be expecting joining instructions?

what can I expect on a average day in training? I.E is enjoyable?

What is the average pass out time?

If anyone can assist me with these questions would be great. Feel free to private message me
where and when are you starting? I'm Welwyn, starting on the 11/10
 

MichaelT

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Joined
15 Sep 2021
Messages
6
Location
London
You'll get joining instructions a few weeks before you start.

You'll be training at Hornsey most likely, Monday to Friday 9-5 initially for rules for 14 weeks. Some weeks will be front end turns.

You'll then do traction which will depend on your depot but likely 717 and 700 which will be around 4 weeks again of Monday to Friday.

You'll also have other courses in with this.

Then you'll be with a di for around 6 months (though this may take a while to start with a di)

Anywhere between a year and 2 years to go from trainee to qualified currently.
Thank you so much, this was my first time starting a thread I appreciate you responding :D

this answers most of my questions but what is a di? There’s a lot of terms I don’t understand yet but I think I get what your saying lol

may I ask what makes the timing for qualifying differ?

much regards

where and when are you starting? I'm Welwyn, starting on the 11/10
I am also starting next month on the 11th. I believe for Hornsey i havent received much information other than I’ve passed my medical and I’ve also received my contract and uniform order request I have tried to email to get much information but I feel as if I am getting ignored lol
 

S-Car-Go

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Joined
19 Mar 2019
Messages
189
this answers most of my questions but what is a di? There’s a lot of terms I don’t understand yet but I think I get what your saying lol

may I ask what makes the timing for qualifying differ?
DI = Driving Instructor :smile:
All train operators have had this problem with training courses. There has been a shortage of classroom space to socially distance in, and a shortage of instructors willing to take on a new trainee and enter a training bubble (due to their own health conditions or vulnerable family members etc)
 

whoosh

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2008
Messages
915
DI is Driver Instructor. You'll have a person training you in the classroom for rules and traction (the different types of train), and usually one of those Classroom Trainers will take you out for your first drive on an empty train. On the Great Northern this is normally a class 717 on the Hertford North line.

Once you pass all that, it's onto your 250 hours Practical Handling with a Driver Instructor. You follow their shifts for the duration of this time.

There can sometimes be a period of waiting for a Driver Instructor to become available if there is a backlog of Trainees.
This is mostly where the difference in time estimates above goes.
 

MichaelT

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Joined
15 Sep 2021
Messages
6
Location
London
DI = Driving Instructor :smile:
All train operators have had this problem with training courses. There has been a shortage of classroom space to socially distance in, and a shortage of instructors willing to take on a new trainee and enter a training bubble (due to their own health conditions or vulnerable family members etc)
DI is Driver Instructor. You'll have a person training you in the classroom for rules and traction (the different types of train), and usually one of those Classroom Trainers will take you out for your first drive on an empty train. On the Great Northern this is normally a class 717 on the Hertford North line.

Once you pass all that, it's onto your 250 hours Practical Handling with a Driver Instructor. You follow their shifts for the duration of this time.

There can sometimes be a period of waiting for a Driver Instructor to become available if there is a backlog of Trainees.
This is mostly where the difference in time estimates above goes.
thank you both for the reply that makes a lot of sense :D. Oh I see so if there are no DIs available what is done if the class room aspect is over? Do you stay in Training?

Sorry for the question time guys just wry curious lol
 

whoosh

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Joined
3 Sep 2008
Messages
915
Well you used to be told to do 'Front End Turns' which means shadowing a Driver (who isn't a DI) for their turns of duty, watching them drive, and learning as much as you can from day to day things and the routes you go over, which would keep you ticking along until a DI became available.
I think there may be an element of "Keep up the knowledge you've gained so far from home," at the moment with COVID.

You would still be getting paid.

In the past when the timetable in May 2018 went into meltdown, the training school closed for about three months whilst the Classroom Trainers were redeployed to keep the timetable holding up as best they could.
Trainees were delayed sometimes quite significantly during this period. Upon qualifying they received full Driver's rate backpay to roughly when they should've passed out. The delays to their training weren't their fault, and had the timetable difficulties been properly forseen, they would've been employed at a later date, rather than their progress being paused.
I think they may have got some of this payment earlier as some had left jobs that paid better than Trainee Driver and were starting to struggle financially as the estimated time that training should take had been and gone, and their banked on jump to Qualified rate was still not in sight.

I would recommend to join the union - ASLEF, as they were the ones negotiating this to help people.

Quite a lot of groups of Trainees create WhatsApp groups etc. to help each other with the learning and keep in touch through the training.


Uniform - if you are going for polo shirts, go at least one size up, possibly two even. They are tight on the arms.
You can always send stuff back if it doesn't fit. My polos went back twice, lol, for the next size up each time.
 
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MichaelT

Member
Joined
15 Sep 2021
Messages
6
Location
London
Well you used to be told to do 'Front End Turns' which means shadowing a Driver (who isn't a DI) for their turns of duty, watching them drive, and learning as much as you can from day to day things and the routes you go over, which would keep you ticking along until a DI became available.
I think there may be an element of "Keep up the knowledge you've gained so far from home," at the moment with COVID.

You would still be getting paid.

In the past when the timetable in May 2018 went into meltdown, the training school closed for about three months whilst the Classroom Trainers were redeployed to keep the timetable holding up as best they could.
Trainees were delayed sometimes quite significantly during this period. Upon qualifying they received full Driver's rate backpay to roughly when they should've passed out. The delays to their training weren't their fault, and had the timetable difficulties been properly forseen, they would've been employed at a later date, rather than their progress being paused.
I think they may have got some of this payment earlier as some had left jobs that paid better than Trainee Driver and were starting to struggle financially as the estimated time that training should take had been and gone, and their banked on jump to Qualified rate was still not in sight.

I would recommend to join the union - ASLEF, as they were the ones negotiating this to help people.

Quite a lot of groups of Trainees create WhatsApp groups etc. to help each other with the learning and keep in touch through the training.


Uniform - if you are going for polo shirts, go at least one size up, possibly two even. They are tight on the arms.
You can always send stuff back if it doesn't fit. My polos went back twice, lol, for the next size up each time.
Thank you for the informative post it’s much appreciated I definitely will take the advice about the union.

I have been reading a few threads and I’ve seen that it’s common to not get a DI straight away, I guess regardless it’s lengthy worthwhile process.

excited to get started
 

43066

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Thank you for the informative post it’s much appreciated I definitely will take the advice about the union.

I have been reading a few threads and I’ve seen that it’s common to not get a DI straight away, I guess regardless it’s lengthy worthwhile process.

excited to get started

Echo the above, definitely the union bit!

The wait for a DI was an issue even before Covid to be fair. The advantage you have is being at a GTR TOC so should go into full money after a certain period has elapsed, irrespective of whether you’ve passed out.
 

43066

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may I ask what makes the timing for qualifying differ?

Waiting for a DI is only one factor. Also depends on your depot’s route network, how willing your DI is to swap jobs to maximise your driving hours (where I trained drivers averaged 300ish hours when passing out). You also need 80 hours night driving which is harder to get during the summer when it’s light 0500 - 2200. Even waiting for a manager to be available to assess you can delay things.
 

MichaelT

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Waiting for a DI is only one factor. Also depends on your depot’s route network, how willing your DI is to swap jobs to maximise your driving hours (where I trained drivers averaged 300ish hours when passing out). You also need 80 hours night driving which is harder to get during the summer when it’s light 0500 - 2200. Even waiting for a manager to be available to assess you can delay things.
Wow so what do you reckon there’s still a backlog of trainees needing a DI? I never would have thought this as I was led to believe GTR was doing a massive recruitment pool.

Seems very bizarre to me to recruit so heavily if there isn’t enough available DIs to accommodate the trainees.
 

wobman

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Wow so what do you reckon there’s still a backlog of trainees needing a DI? I never would have thought this as I was led to believe GTR was doing a massive recruitment pool.

Seems very bizarre to me to recruit so heavily if there isn’t enough available DIs to accommodate the trainees.
Lots of tocs seem to lack a joined up plan regarding traincrew recruitment
 

choochoochoo

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Wow so what do you reckon there’s still a backlog of trainees needing a DI? I never would have thought this as I was led to believe GTR was doing a massive recruitment pool.

Seems very bizarre to me to recruit so heavily if there isn’t enough available DIs to accommodate the trainees.
If you're at Hornsey, you could be waiting a while to qualify. I'm sure there's trainees that started in 2018 that have still not qualified (or only recently passed out)
 

MichaelT

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If you're at Hornsey, you could be waiting a while to qualify. I'm sure there's trainees that started in 2018 that have still not qualified (or only recently passed out)
Wow ! Three years o_O I guess it’s worth while in the end but I would have never imagined it taking that long
 

choochoochoo

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Wow ! Three years o_O I guess it’s worth while in the end but I would have never imagined it taking that long
Definitely worth the wait. Just be pro-active during your wait. Keep up to date on rules, get out there and route learn as best you can. Then once you've got your DI hopefully you'll be in a better position to qualify in the minimum hours.
 

Twotwo

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Definitely worth the wait. Just be pro-active during your wait. Keep up to date on rules, get out there and route learn as best you can. Then once you've got your DI hopefully you'll be in a better position to qualify in the minimum hours.


Great advice. I'm currently in week 4 (was supposed to be on week 7 but due to a trainer not being available we was side tracked for 3 weeks). All the trainers are fantastic and it is a lot to learn. Got week 5 exam next week followed by 3 weeks of front ending and seeing everything I've learnt in action.
 

choochoochoo

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Great advice. I'm currently in week 4 (was supposed to be on week 7 but due to a trainer not being available we was side tracked for 3 weeks). All the trainers are fantastic and it is a lot to learn. Got week 5 exam next week followed by 3 weeks of front ending and seeing everything I've learnt in action.
Did they arrange for you to front end during those 3 weeks ? Or left you to revise from home ?
 

Horizon22

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Wow so what do you reckon there’s still a backlog of trainees needing a DI? I never would have thought this as I was led to believe GTR was doing a massive recruitment pool.

Seems very bizarre to me to recruit so heavily if there isn’t enough available DIs to accommodate the trainees.

Available DIs are certainly something of a bottleneck across multiple TOCs.
 

choochoochoo

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Some DIs are leaving the grade due to the relentless demands, a few have had constant trainees for over 3-4 years without a break
Although rewarding as it is to see your trainee pass out, it's not enough given the demands of the role these days for the risk and the workload.
 

43066

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Wow so what do you reckon there’s still a backlog of trainees needing a DI? I never would have thought this as I was led to believe GTR was doing a massive recruitment pool.

Seems very bizarre to me to recruit so heavily if there isn’t enough available DIs to accommodate the trainees.

There is at virtually every TOC, I’d be surprised if GTR are any different. Covid has also created a large backlog of trainees and, as others have said, lots of DIs do the role for a while and throw in the towel for various reasons (usually because it’s lots of extra aggro and paperwork for little reward). Add in the fact that lots of drivers simply don’t wish to instruct, it’s easy to end up with a shortage.
 

wobman

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There is at virtually every TOC, I’d be surprised if GTR are any different. Covid has also created a large backlog of trainees and, as others have said, lots of DIs do the role for a while and throw in the towel for various reasons (usually because it’s lots of extra aggro and paperwork for little reward). Add in the fact that lots of drivers simply don’t wish to instruct, it’s easy to end up with a shortage.
It's an industry issue not just TOC specific like you say, so much hassle and no training for the role for very little reward.
I can see why people jack it in
 

munya

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Gooding everyone,

I do apologise in advance for having to digress. Firstly congratulations to all those that have passed their tests and gotten start dates.
I however on the other hand have been stumbling in the dark. I have applied for the trainee train driver role to several TOC's and can't seem to get past the application form (not invited to progress once I submit application).

Any advice, signposting, reading/study material, websites to practise the various psychometric tests on, would be great.

Thanks
 

387star

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Well you used to be told to do 'Front End Turns' which means shadowing a Driver (who isn't a DI) for their turns of duty, watching them drive, and learning as much as you can from day to day things and the routes you go over, which would keep you ticking along until a DI became available.
I think there may be an element of "Keep up the knowledge you've gained so far from home," at the moment with COVID.

You would still be getting paid.

In the past when the timetable in May 2018 went into meltdown, the training school closed for about three months whilst the Classroom Trainers were redeployed to keep the timetable holding up as best they could.
Trainees were delayed sometimes quite significantly during this period. Upon qualifying they received full Driver's rate backpay to roughly when they should've passed out. The delays to their training weren't their fault, and had the timetable difficulties been properly forseen, they would've been employed at a later date, rather than their progress being paused.
I think they may have got some of this payment earlier as some had left jobs that paid better than Trainee Driver and were starting to struggle financially as the estimated time that training should take had been and gone, and their banked on jump to Qualified rate was still not in sight.

I would recommend to join the union - ASLEF, as they were the ones negotiating this to help people.

Quite a lot of groups of Trainees create WhatsApp groups etc. to help each other with the learning and keep in touch through the training.


Uniform - if you are going for polo shirts, go at least one size up, possibly two even. They are tight on the arms.
You can always send stuff back if it doesn't fit. My polos went back twice, lol, for the next size up each time.
Even back in 2016 training was a farce. Qualified Drivers were prioritised for class 700 training ahead of trainees meaning DIS could drive them but their trainees couldn't and were Sometimes barely amounting any hours a week depending if any 319/377/387s turned up . This after spending two months learning the latter traction.
 

choochoochoo

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903
Even back in 2016 training was a farce. Qualified Drivers were prioritised for class 700 training ahead of trainees meaning DIS could drive them but their trainees couldn't and were Sometimes barely amounting any hours a week depending if any 319/377/387s turned up . This after spending two months learning the latter traction.
As is the current farce of trainees passing out and being qualified on routes and traction their depot doesn't drive !!

Or equally frustrating, only passing out on a fraction of the route they're supposed to be able to drive.
 

Mattyblob

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29 Apr 2017
Messages
31
Gooding everyone,

I do apologise in advance for having to digress. Firstly congratulations to all those that have passed their tests and gotten start dates.
I however on the other hand have been stumbling in the dark. I have applied for the trainee train driver role to several TOC's and can't seem to get past the application form (not invited to progress once I submit application).

Any advice, signposting, reading/study material, websites to practise the various psychometric tests on, would be great.

Thanks
You should search the forum for the 1000's of threads that already address your specific issue :)
 

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