Mistakes you made as a trainee

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16.19

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As a Driver Mentor I am seeing my current trainee taking up space in her head worrying about rules. When, at the moment, she needs to concentrate on the routes she’s learning and direct train handling- once we have that established we can then work on her rules knowledge.

Try not to over think and over complicate your approach to learning with your minders. Small steps will get you to your goal.
 

DriverEight

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18 Feb 2021
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As a Driver Mentor I am seeing my current trainee taking up space in her head worrying about rules. When, at the moment, she needs to concentrate on the routes she’s learning and direct train handling- once we have that established we can then work on her rules knowledge.

Try not to over think and over complicate your approach to learning with your minders. Small steps will get you to your goal.
This is brilliant advice. One step at a time, you've got a lot to learn but you also have plenty of time to learn it
 

pompeyfan

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24 Jan 2012
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yes of course, it's the first time I've ever actually openly talked about the whole thing to anyone..

I'm glad that you've heard of other people., the attitude among the company was that this was unheard of and that I had performed very poorly and that they were glad to be rid of someone that was "a danger to the lives of others"

long story short., I got the job 1st time and took a 10K pay cut to start driving., so I struggled to maintain repayments for 24K debt etc and ultimately had to work elsewhere alongside driving (not ideal and if you're not careful breaches Hidden)., this led to the belief that I wasn't committed to driving and that's the impression I instantly got from the depot manager., so my 3rd/4th DI was told to keep an eye on me and "watch out for the attitude", which I'm happy to say he had no problem with me and we successfully completed about 30 hours of driving before he went on holiday.. which got me to.. wait for it.. 42 hours, impossible to get a DI at the time.

I joined at a time when uniform was scarce if not non-existent.. I was spoken to about 7x, including by drivers who I went route learning with.. which is just embarrassing, but ultimately I had none, and this was a huge sticking point for all involved.

we were joined on 455 traction by a rather unpleasant railway old timer who was there for a refresher due to performance, she bollocked me for climbing into the cab wearing my bag (obviously a big no no.. and something I have never done again), but that ultimately was the beginning of the end as I broke down in another coach and struggled going forwards that week. I felt that I took onboard all the info well and fault finding went fine in practice., but when the assessment came, it was delivered in a Q&A style sat on seats, which was quite difficult as we had learnt moving around the train, through observation and doing stuff practically.. ultimately I bombed this section.

my second opportunity went very well albeit the group knowing "he's the guy that failed"., fantastic trainer, but knowing this was 'last chance saloon', I was incredibly nervous.. this time around questions were asked alongside the identification questions as we moved around the train (much more of what I was expecting from the 1st go)., we get to fault finding, and I do the first 2 fine, make a small mistake on the 3rd.. so already I'm thinking, "crap, ballsed it haven't I"., and on the 4th I forget to put the brake handle into emergency (I don't think that's written as a step in the long list of instructions which you had to follow implicitly).. leave the cab.. "f*ck.. what have I done.." so even if I was lucky enough to pass the assessment otherwise, that was it.

I have 3-ish years left before I'm allowed to drive again for the company., and I've struggled to even get invites to assessments since.. I wonder if this information is stored centrally and shared with all TOCs?

when I interviewed as a guard, I got the impression they were shocked at the story and they actually apologised on behalf of the company and all but offered me the position in that room. I'm now debt free and it was an amazing feeling being able to solely focus on training, but there was the expectation that I knew it all.. which I didn't, 2 years is a long time for skill fade.

out of interest, was your guards course in 2016? When I was on my course there was a chap who told a very similar story. If I was to say 3ft Danny would you know what I meant?
 

Dieseldriver

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9 Apr 2012
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It would be an interesting call to the signaller. I think I’d sooner go in my kitbag and order a new one
Why would you be embarrassed to ring the Signaller to tell them you’re on the verge of s******g yourself though? We’re human, humans poo and wee, the sooner the industry matures a bit about this subject the better for all of us.
 

Stigy

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This thread (less the bits about crapping yourself :) ) has blown my mind. It must take a particular type of mental ability to be a driver.

I work in a non railway safety critical role. One mistake and I could potentially kill or injure someone. However those moments come and go, there are times of extreme concentration, and times to relax. But reading this I could never be a driver. I'd never be able to memorise the rulebook. I'd never be able to concentrate for such a long period of time. The DC also frightens the bejezzus out of me. I have much respect for you guys.
The driving aspect of train driving is a doddle, it’s everything else that you need to learn that can be a nightmare. Of course, some people just aren’t cut out for it, but by the time you reach the handling stage, you’ve kind of demonstrated the aptitude for the job.

Trainees don’t have to memorise the rulebook, just be able to pick out and know about rules relating to any given situation. There’s A LOT of the Rulebook which doesn’t apply for example, to all grades.

Also, there’s times as a driver whereby you won’t be concentrating, and you will go in to autopilot. Nobody is a robot, and we’re all human. I’m rubbish with memorising rules and the like, but I’ve surprised myself. Anyone can do it with the right aptitude and attitude. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, it’s well worth it.

Why would you be embarrassed to ring the Signaller to tell them you’re on the verge of s******g yourself though? We’re human, humans poo and wee, the sooner the industry matures a bit about this subject the better for all of us.
Because as a human, I’d get embarrassed I guess. I suffer from colitis, so know exactly what it can be like, but I’ve never been in a position where I’ve thought I was actually going to defecate myself (there’s been close moments however...).
 

Dieseldriver

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The driving aspect of train driving is a doddle, it’s everything else that you need to learn that can be a nightmare,

Trainees don’t have to memorise the rulebook, just be able to pick out and know about rules relating to any given situation. There’s A LOT of the Rulebook which doesn’t apply for example, to all grades.

Also, there’s times as a driver whereby you won’t be concentrating, and you will go in to autopilot. Nobody is a robot, and we’re all human. I’m rubbish with memorising rules and the like, but I’ve surprised myself. Anyone can do it with the right aptitude and attitude. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, it’s well worth it.


Because as a human, I’d get embarrassed I guess. I suffer from colitis, so know exactly what it can be like, but I’ve never been in a position where I’ve thought I was actually going to defecate myself (there’s been close moments however...).
I’ve had to do it and to be honest with you, I don’t see why it should be embarrassing. I’ve done the whole weeing into an empty coffee cup while driving, I’ve held on to a poo so long that I’m basically touching cloth. Now, if I become that desperate, I just go back and do what I’ve got to do even if it means a few minutes delay. There are plenty of incidents that have occurred where a contributing factor was the Driver needing the toilet. Timekeeping is massively important in this job, we all know it but safety (and your own health) must take priority.

Just want to add that whenever I’ve had to speak with a Signaller under those circumstances they’ve been excellent about it, admittedly we’ve had a bit of a joke about it sometimes but don’t feel like they’re judging you because in my experience they aren’t.
 

Stigy

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I’ve had to do it and to be honest with you, I don’t see why it should be embarrassing. I’ve done the whole weeing into an empty coffee cup while driving, I’ve held on to a poo so long that I’m basically touching cloth. Now, if I become that desperate, I just go back and do what I’ve got to do even if it means a few minutes delay. There are plenty of incidents that have occurred where a contributing factor was the Driver needing the toilet. Timekeeping is massively important in this job, we all know it but safety (and your own health) must take priority.

Just want to add that whenever I’ve had to speak with a Signaller under those circumstances they’ve been excellent about it, admittedly we’ve had a bit of a joke about it sometimes but don’t feel like they’re judging you because in my experience they aren’t.
I guess it depends on the nature of the work too and how long without a toilet you’re potentially going. I understand it shouldn’t be embarrassing, but naturally some find it embarrassing.

Closest I came whilst training was needing a p*ss as the D&A people turned up and expected me to be able to pee on demand just before a shift even though I went before leaving home. They effectively told me to drink loads of water as they didn’t understand we had a train service to run. In the end I drank loads of water but still ran out of time and my DSM just told me to go and get my train as we had a railway to run.

Anyway, I made it 42 minutes before having to hand over to my DI whilst I went and relieved myself. Luckily we had toilets on the train.
 

OldTimT

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Yes it did...nightmare

Wow! This might be a sheer coincidence, but it’s a remarkable one if it is. My dad, who is no longer with us, used to tell us a story about exactly what you describe happening just outside Hemel Hempstead station. My dad worked at the station and he used to tell about the unfortunate driver explaining what had happened. lol

If it was you, that’s amazing!
 

djack123son

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out of interest, was your guards course in 2016? When I was on my course there was a chap who told a very similar story. If I was to say 3ft Danny would you know what I meant?
nooo., just started again in November 2020 for guard, driving was January 2019.. I'm sure its a very entertaining story tho^^
 

16.19

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This is brilliant advice. One step at a time, you've got a lot to learn but you also have plenty of time to learn it
Absolutely, and one of the main reasons a trainee may fail to pass their Mod 7 week is not being able to safety and calmly drive their train on the routes that they have learnt.

Priority should always be achieving the basic driving techniques; reading, reacting and taking positive actions against restrictive aspects, driving to permissible speeds and so on. These are key points that will be looked for.

There’s a lot to be said about a driver who has amazing underpinning rules and traction knowledge - it all goes in the bin the second you pass that signal at danger or have a TPWS activation/intervention, or worse.
...

It’s the basics that catch drivers out when they’re not being met.
 

Timpg

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Absolutely, and one of the main reasons a trainee may fail to pass their Mod 7 week is not being able to safety and calmly drive their train on the routes that they have learnt.

Priority should always be achieving the basic driving techniques; reading, reacting and taking positive actions against restrictive aspects, driving to permissible speeds and so on. These are key points that will be looked for.

There’s a lot to be said about a driver who has amazing underpinning rules and traction knowledge - it all goes in the bin the second you pass that signal at danger or have a TPWS activation/intervention, or worse.
...

It’s the basics that catch drivers out when they’re not being met.
As someone who very recently passed out as qualified, I found that a lot of the rules side of things begun to make a lot of sense when out learning my routes and doing my hours. To be honest rules kinda took a back step and if there was a situation that I was unsure of such as the ‘with if this happened’ kinda situations, I would simply ask my DI and we would go over it together and make sense of it.
Two weeks into driving solo and I still think of the what if’s, but I have my rule book electronically to hand and my route atlases saved electronically on my tablet also. Just in case I get a blank moment
 

SignallerJohn

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I’d grant a line blockage with a driver on the adjacent line or give them assurance nothing was running if they needed to relieve themselves.
 

JohnChuchu

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This thread (less the bits about crapping yourself :) ) has blown my mind. It must take a particular type of mental ability to be a driver.

I work in a non railway safety critical role. One mistake and I could potentially kill or injure someone. However those moments come and go, there are times of extreme concentration, and times to relax. But reading this I could never be a driver. I'd never be able to memorise the rulebook. I'd never be able to concentrate for such a long period of time. The DC also frightens the bejezzus out of me. I have much respect for you guys.
Of course, being desperate for a toilet is a huge distraction especially at times when you need extreme concentration. It can lead to a major incident/accident. Managing bowel movements is a major Non-Technical Skill for a train driver. Holding back crap take away most of your focus from the safety-critical duties of driving the train safely.

I’d grant a line blockage with a driver on the adjacent line or give them assurance nothing was running if they needed to relieve themselves.
Good to know Signaller
 
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FastTrax

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i know this is the wron gway to look at it but its off putting thinking, misakes and u r out....i tried to google but no data...anyone know how many train drivers lose their licence each year?
 

Stigy

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i know this is the wron gway to look at it but its off putting thinking, misakes and u r out....i tried to google but no data...anyone know how many train drivers lose their licence each year?
I wouldn’t like to research it to be honest. Having said that, generally, drivers don’t lose their licence for one, two or even three incidents. It’s very much dealt with on an individual basis and each case is investigated on its own merits. If you’re a new driver and have an incident but will naturally raise a few eyebrows and will be an absolute nightmare for the driver concerned, but they’re reluctant to simply get rid of you. To lose your licence one would assume it would have to be the ORR who revoke it, and after a serious incident where blame has been apportioned, dismissal wouldn’t necessarily lead to having your licence revoked I would imagine, but you’d be lucky to find another TOC willing to take you.
 

16.19

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i know this is the wron gway to look at it but its off putting thinking, misakes and u r out....i tried to google but no data...anyone know how many train drivers lose their licence each year?

Having an incident is one thing it’s what you do immediately after that counts. There are protocols that must be adhered to and it can be the difference between getting back driving and not.

As said above drivers have incidents but train operating company’s aren’t out to get you, they need you as a productive driver. As long as you follow rule procedures if you have an incident you should be ok (depending what’s happened).
 

dctraindriver

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Having an incident is one thing it’s what you do immediately after that counts. There are protocols that must be adhered to and it can be the difference between getting back driving and not.

As said above drivers have incidents but train operating company’s aren’t out to get you, they need you as a productive driver. As long as you follow rule procedures if you have an incident you should be ok (depending what’s happened).
I agree with this 100%. I think the majority of drivers will have an issue along the way, be it at the start as a PQ or many years into service.

No one goes to work to screw up, if you do hold your hands up to it. Learn from it and most importantly try not to overthink it or criticise yourself too much. You will be your biggest critic. Management by and large are pretty supportive and understanding (where I am anyhow) unless you lie and attempt to cover up then potentially you could walk.
 

Stigy

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Having an incident is one thing it’s what you do immediately after that counts. There are protocols that must be adhered to and it can be the difference between getting back driving and not.

As said above drivers have incidents but train operating company’s aren’t out to get you, they need you as a productive driver. As long as you follow rule procedures if you have an incident you should be ok (depending what’s happened).
Agreed. Many drivers come unstuck with the procedures immediately following an incident (probably panic rather than a blatant disregard for the rules). Sometimes it may be that rules knowledge has faded too?
 

Rylievie

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I agree with this 100%. I think the majority of drivers will have an issue along the way, be it at the start as a PQ or many years into service.

No one goes to work to screw up, if you do hold your hands up to it. Learn from it and most importantly try not to overthink it or criticise yourself too much. You will be your biggest critic. Management by and large are pretty supportive and understanding (where I am anyhow) unless you lie and attempt to cover up then potentially you could walk.
100% this....

We were told when somethings happened its already bad, don't make it worse. This goes in line with the thinking around a "mistake" and a "violation". Holding your hands up to a mistake, albeit still not ideal, will stand you in better fair than if you try and cover it up as that would then be a violation. Same with post incidents, as long as procedures are followed.
 

Dieseldriver

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100% this....

We were told when somethings happened its already bad, don't make it worse. This goes in line with the thinking around a "mistake" and a "violation". Holding your hands up to a mistake, albeit still not ideal, will stand you in better fair than if you try and cover it up as that would then be a violation. Same with post incidents, as long as procedures are followed.
Another important thing to bear in mind is when you’re asked ‘are you fit to continue Driver?’, it isn’t a rhetorical question, you are perfectly within your rights to say no. The last thing you need is to have an incident (not necessarily of your own making, could be a near miss, signal reversion etc) then continue and have another potentially more serious incident down the line because you weren’t fit to continue but felt obliged to keep the service running.
 

D365

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I’d grant a line blockage with a driver on the adjacent line or give them assurance nothing was running if they needed to relieve themselves.
If I ever one day become a driver, that’s something I’ll bear in mind.
 

Tgh75

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Whilst learning to uncouple units prior to passing out! Unbeknown to my instructor I hadn’t pressed uncouple! They failed to uncouple obviously? He suggested I squeeze up for my 2nd attempt!! All units began moving toward stop board! We both checked are our shorts and learned from said incident very quickly.........
 

LCC106

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Not sure why the units moved if you were squeezing? Did you apply a greater notch of power than initial step or did you leave the power on too long? If you squeeze I wouldn’t expect them to move.
 

Coach Carter

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Not sure why the units moved if you were squeezing? Did you apply a greater notch of power than initial step or did you leave the power on too long? If you squeeze I wouldn’t expect them to move.
I’m guessing as they hadn’t pressed the uncouple button it was still electronically coupled so had break release and power through the whole train when they tried to move
 

ComUtoR

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Not sure why the units moved if you were squeezing? Did you apply a greater notch of power than initial step or did you leave the power on too long? If you squeeze I wouldn’t expect them to move.

At my TOC you need to be careful which portion you attach/detach to. It's possible to ease up and push the other portion even if its in full brake :/
 

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