Uniforms - formal vs. informal?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Bletchleyite, 3 Jul 2019.

  1. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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  3. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I agree the Northern uniform looks horrific. But then so does their new train interior colour scheme in my opinion, although their external livery isn’t bad at all.

    Another operator with a dire uniform at the moment is London Underground. Like Northern they have rather daftly changed from something which looked reasonably good to something which is awful.

    Blue never works on uniforms unless it’s a very dark shade, whence it works very well.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jul 2019
  4. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I don't want people dressed up like Edwardian railway employees. Uniforms need to be modern, practical, professional looking and easy to keep smart.
     
  5. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    Not a fan of uniform shorts, personally. A uniform should exude professionalism and shorts simply don’t cut the mustard, in that respect.

    Polo shirts and trousers are the way to go, certainly in terms of drivers’ uniforms. They are far more practical and suitable for the job than a jacket and tie type outfit.*

    Unfortunately “cheap and unprofessional” is a good description of most TOC uniforms! I’m not sure the Northern uniform - bad as it is - is any worse than others in that respect.

    *there’s a good argument for non DOO drivers not to have to wear uniform at all, in my view, a la freight drivers.
     
  6. Sprinter153

    Sprinter153 Member

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    One of the odd things about the Northern uniform is the juxtaposition of some very bold blues with the traditional ‘Arriva bus’ aquamarine on some of the garments.
     
  7. td97

    td97 Member

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    Brand image is of utmost importance to me, including the staff appearance.
    There's a reason airlines have a highly stringent policy (much more so than the railways) regarding cabin crew appearance.
    I'm quite fond of the TPE staff uniform, especially even the catering host who wears a shirt and waistcoat.
    Was not impressed with my LNER guard the other week who was wearing a hi-vis vest, although operational reasons could have dictated this.
    I highly regarded the new Class 195 from Northern, and one aspect I commented on was
    2 comments from this:
    I hope Northern insist on their staff working the new Civity services wear these smarter uniforms, to help improve the brand image. At the end of the day, these services are competing with TPE and VT on some routes.
    I can see how it would be uncomfortable working non aircon stock in a full suit in summer. But I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest short-sleeved shirt and trousers as a minimum.
     
  8. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    a decent pair of well made knee length shorts should be ok with a polo. The uniform needs to be practical and if the weather is hot shorts should be ok in my mind. Personally I think all drivers should be wearing full PPE at all times ;)
     
  9. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    Agreed, especially in very hot weather, when a jacket and tie is just horrifically uncomfortable, wherever you're working. I think polo shirts should be dark colours, though, which look much smarter than white or bright ones.
     
  10. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    A waistcoat should never be seen without a jacket.
     
  11. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    A waistcoat should never be seen full stop.
     
  12. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Quite honestly I don't give a fig about the uniforms, but I have spoken to some crews who have mixed views on them. However one observation I have is that there seems to be a more relaxed interaction between crews & passengers, at least on the services I use. I don't know if this is as a result of relaxing the uniform code, the use of polo shirts or something else altogether. I know railway enthusiasts often prefer everything to be formalised, but having some relaxation of codes can in some circumstances improve the experience for all. I know where I work we went from a causal smart, to shirt & tie, and are now creeping back to causal smart over a couple of decades, and the middle period was the least comfortable for staff & public alike.
     
  13. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    I recently stabled a train in a depot late one night and was surprised to see two WW2 era German soldiers walking towards me. Then I realised it was a pair of shunters wearing their (now mandatory) hard hats. :rolleyes:

    And what is it with these drivers who insist on wearing their hivi in the cab? Arriva Rail London are particularly bad in this regard...
     
  14. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    *Personally* I’m very anti polo shirts. They look okay on some people, but on some staff they look dire in my view - especially for example those who are older, larger and putting it diplomatically don’t keep their uniform clean (think food or sweat stains). I can just about reconcile the argument that they’re a decent compromise for drivers who spend most of their time in the cab, but beyond that it’s a definite no-no in my view. As a society we’re used to seeing people in positions of respect dressed smartly, and to me this should extend to the railway.

    If someone can manually secure nine sets of points in a complex area during torrential rain with traction current live whilst happily wearing a shirt and tie then there’s really no excuse on a practical level why passenger-facing staff can’t wear same.

    Another element to this is that a decent uniform should give some at-a-glance idea as to who is who. This saves a hell of a lot of time and hassle during incidents. Nowadays there’s a silly trend towards “democratisation”, for political rather than practical reasons. Interestingly, such democratisation doesn’t seem to extend towards head-office-type staff...
     
  15. Mintona

    Mintona Established Member

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    Can’t imagine not wearing a shirt, tie and blazer. But I do get confused for other crew members all the time as most drivers wear polo shirts and light jackets. Look professional, be professional. That’s my motto :lol:
     
  16. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    At my place the polo shirts are basically square. If you are relatively slim and tall, the mediums are invariably too short. If you order large or XL they come up ridiculously baggy, but still far too short!

    They also look more like crop-tops on some of the more rotund members of staff. Not a pretty sight!

    However bad the fit, there’s absolutely no excuse for dirty or stained uniform being worn. That reflects poorly on the individual concerned, in my view.
     
  17. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    I understand your views, however society is changing and people in uniforms / suits do not necessarily fit with the kind of image that people want to interact with any more. At the end of the day it is how you are treated that is important, not that the crew member has a shirt and tie on, that I'm afraid is very much a generational facet that is slowly being replaced.
     
  18. bionic

    bionic Member

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    If I had the choice I'd be turning up to work in tshirt, jeans and trainers. Failing that I'll take anything plain and comfortable. Sadly the railway aren't very good at providing that... hence lots of drivers wearing their own jackets and jumpers. Train drivers on the continent seem to be fine with jeans so I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it here. The very worst thing though is the tie. Uncomfortable and unnecessary appendages that serve no purpose whatsoever.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Interestingly I've observed in recent years that because shirt-and-tie need not be worn for school any more, young people often dress more formally for a night out than they used to.

    That said, academies seem to be tending towards very formal school uniforms again, so this may once again reverse itself.
     
  20. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    The difficulty is that when the brown stuff has hit the fan, people much more readily take notice of someone who looks the part. I’ve seen this first-hand *many* times.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I fail to see any conceivable benefit of the tie myself. Unless you're an expert tier of a full Windsor knot and get the length absolutely spot on (and aren't fat - nothing looks worse than a tie draped over a beer gut) it just looks awful and is inevitably uncomfortable.
     
  22. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Not up here in t'grim North.... ;)

    Seriously though younger people do seem to prefer shirts these days as opposed to more causal stuff, though nothing like as smart as folk used to dress up for the "posh" nightclubs in the 80s!!

    I tend to disagree, for some a uniform may still infer more authority, but many people these days will tend to take more notice of someone who sounds & acts as if they know what they are doing as opposed to what they are wearing.
     
  23. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Many railway staff wear clip-on ties which avoids that issue, but how long does it really take to do a tie up properly?

    Personally I think there’s value in them. Done properly it’s an item of uniform which is very company specific, and personally I’d prefer this than a name badge. Likewise a decent design should be readily identifiable from a distance.

    I’d add that some of the most problematic punters to deal with can be some of the suited commuter types, some of whom play on the fact that they think they’re superior. Wearing a shirt and tie, in my experience, puts a stop to that.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It depends what you mean by "properly". A full Windsor knot, which to me is the only way to make a tie look good, is quite a skill - many people won't ever manage to learn it.
     
  25. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    Name badges are a complete no no. My place introduced them, but the union agreed we could specify what was written on them. My name turned out to be spelt D. River, along with many others.

    Surprise surprise, nothing has been said about them since.:D
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I can see an issue with names (e.g. someone identifying a member of staff outside work and attacking or otherwise abusing them), but I would certainly support the idea of "PCV badges", i.e. a badge with a unique identification number such that a member of staff can be identified in the event of a complaint being necessary.

    Or if you like things formal, numbered epaulettes? :)
     
  27. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    No particular objection to that, certainly for platform staff. I suppose the counter argument for train crew is that they are immediately identifiable by which trains they are working.

    Let’s go the whole hog and deck drivers out in a uniform befitting of the exalted status of the grade: a full, quasi military “South American dictator general” outfit, complete with peaked cap, medals and lashings of gold braid. :D
     
  28. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Established Member

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    Surely any good uniform should come with a variety of different options, so a polo shirt, a normal shirt, different coats, and the staff member can based on the age, size and what they are used to, can pick and choose accordingly.

    TOCs try and portray a modern image these days which is at odds with many enthusiasts who prefer a very traditional uniform.
     
  29. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    The only place a name badge is useful is on workplace training courses, IME!

    Where I am uniform has turned into such a complete total farce that it’s become almost open-season. For the last five or more years I don’t think I’ve worn one single piece of (current) company-issued uniform. Our immediate unit had their own ties made up (and very nice they are too), quickly followed by everyone procuring their own shirts and trousers - ironically largely replicating a uniform from 20 years ago! I have a couple of “heritage” ties which come out to play from time to time too, and I normally carry around a vintage hat which only goes on when things are *really* bad. Indeed the last time it was worn in anger I ended up having to pose in front of camera phones for a number of emergency services staff afterwards!

    Again, surprise surprise nothing has ever been said about all this. Indeed, guess whose phone rings when there’s some kind of VIP who needs a chaperone! ;)
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not all of them - the whole image of GWR (and EMR coming soon) are somewhat olde-worlde.
     
  31. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Hi vis jackets worn when not required are a pain - people will be a lot more desensitized to them as a result.

    I haven't seen a bus driver wearing their badge in many years!
     

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