Our Channel 5 Documentary Stars - Episode 4

Thursday 02nd July 2020
Another week means another exciting episode of our documentary The Railway 24/7. The series takes an in-depth look at life at TransPennine Express and how we keep our railways, a lifeline for the North of England and Scotland, operational. Get to know some of the stars of Episode 4 below.   

You can watch the series Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 5, or on catch-up.
  TPE Profile Mark Lloyd Ch5 247 June2020 Blog
Hi Mark, let’s find out more about you. How long have you worked for TPE, and what roles have you done in that time?

I began working for TPE on the 31st August 2004 in the role I’m currently in; Revenue Protection Officer.

What did you do before joining the TPE team?

Before TPE I worked for another train company (I've worked on the railways since 1996).

What does a typical day look like?

My average day is travelling on as many trains as possible to maximise coverage, as well as day-to-day admin of five colleagues.

What sort of things make you excited to go to work?

What excites me about my job is I never know exactly how my day will play out – there are so many variables.

And what frustrates you?

I’m often frustrated by the lack of coordination between Train Operating Companies, and by people who insist on maintaining a lie despite having been caught red-handed.

What’s been your career highlight?

Proudest work moment? Almost winning the Team of the Year Award (we were robbed!).

What are your career aspirations?

No plans to move onwards and upwards. I greatly enjoy my role and have a complex home life which leads me to require simplicity at work where possible. Money isn’t everything!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your role?

There are no wallflowers in the Revenue team.

What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had?

Being the parent of a child with special needs.

What do you like to do to unwind away from work? 

I relax outside of work with nature walks with my family, cycling, reading and by digitally shooting people/creatures/aliens.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

It may surprise many but outside work I’m a quiet kind of a guy.

Quickfire Round
Favourite Nova? All three of them.
Favourite train station? Newcastle of course!
Your favourite city in the North? Newcastle.
Best holiday destination? Centre Parcs. My son loves it.
Podcast or book? I’m 50, the answer should be obvious.
What song can you listen to on repeat? Anything by The English Beat or Beck Hansen.
Favourite artist of all time? Maurits Cornelis Escher.
A film you could watch over and over? Trainspotting!
What’s your guilty pleasure? Car renovation programmes (I can’t drive).
 

TPE Profile Simon Powell Ch5 247 June2020 Blog
Hi Simon, let’s find out more about you. How long have you worked for TPE, and what roles have you done in that time?

I joined in July 2017 as a Qualified Driver and I’m currently a Driver Assessor.

What did you do before joining the TPE team?

I was a Freight Driver for DB Cargo based at Healey Mills, before this I was a Signaller for Network Rail initially at Halifax and then at Doncaster Power Signal Box. I’ve also been a Cabin Crew Line Trainer for KLM and worked as Cabin Crew for British Airways.

Additionally, I’ve been a Horse-Riding Coach and Trainer and a College Lecturer. I still keep up with my equine interests and I’m a voluntary Equine Welfare Officer for the British Horse Society as well as a British Horse Society Accredited Professional Coach and Assessor.

What does a typical day look like?

This varies depending if I’m on shift or on a rest day, but my typical shift would begin by checking the start time the night before, preparing lunch and packing my work bag, ensuring my uniform is cleaned and pressed, and boots polished. Then breakfast, shower, feed my dogs and get them sorted before driving to Manchester.

Once at work I book on duty, check notices and collect diagrams and any other essentials for the day then head to my train. Once on the train, I check stops and routes with my Conductor and prepare my cab (at the moment this takes longer because of the need to sanitise everything). I then set up my seat and enter my pin code and head codes and drive the route. I sometimes take my folding bike with me and if I have a good break somewhere like York or Scarborough I may go for a bike ride to blow away the cobwebs and ensure I’m fresh and ready for the return journey.

Once back in Manchester I complete any paperwork, send any necessary emails for things such as delays or incidents during the day then head back to my car to escape back to the right side of the Pennines! I’m sure my Yorkshire colleagues will agree with me there!

Once home I feed my dogs, then possibly head to the gym or go for an outdoor swim as I enjoy open water swimming all year round without wetsuits. I find the cold water helps take the stresses away. Then home to bed before I repeat all over again.

Days off are taken up with my dogs, walking, hiking and spending time at my partner's farm near Malton where I help take care of the sheep and crops.

What sort of things make you excited to go to work?

I love the challenge of driving a train and being in the cab travelling through the North’s varied and beautiful landscapes. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing I’ve given our customers a comfortable, safe ride and got them to their destination on time.

And what frustrates you?

I get frustrated by delays and poor timetable planning. The amount of trains on our network means the tiniest problem has a huge knock-on effect but, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been less frustrating driving trains because with fewer trains on the track it’s been easier to keep them on time.

What’s been your career highlight?

Well, this is a difficult one as I feel there have been so many. I’m pleased and proud of what I’ve achieved both in my current and previous roles. Perhaps becoming a TV star would be a highlight after this documentary!

What are your career aspirations?

I would like to continue as a Driver Assessor for the foreseeable future and hopefully continue to update and improve on my skills and experience.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your role?

Work hard, stay focused, take as much information from as many people as possible and combine all that knowledge and experience into your own skills. Never be afraid to ask if unsure no matter how stupid the question may be, and always be open and honest even when you make a mistake. We’re all human at the end of the day!

What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had?

That would have to be my entire life; it’s been one huge learning experience, and long may it continue.

What do you like to do to unwind away from work? 

I love to ride horses, walk in the countryside with my dogs, open water swimming, gardening, spending time with my family and friends, and foreign travel.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

I’m incredibly insecure; I overthink things and I’m not the slightest bit confident although life has taught me how to manage that.

Quickfire Round
Favourite Nova? That has to be Nova 3.
Favourite train station?
Oxenholme because it’s close to the Dales and the Lakes – my two favourite places in the UK.
Your favourite city in the North?
Newcastle because I spent many happy times there at university.
Best holiday destination?
Sydney, Australia. An amazing place and home to some of my family.
Podcast or book?
Depends on my mood.
What song can you listen to on repeat?
The Ultimate High by The Time Frequency (TTF), a great Scottish Group.
Favourite artist of all time?
Henry Thomas Alken. I love his amazing old hunting scenes. 
A film you could watch over and over?
Red Dog by Daniel Taplitz. 
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate.


You can watch Mark, Simon and many more in The Railway 24/7 Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 5 or on catch-up.

Fancy joining our railway family? Visit our dedicated careers site for the latest vacancies.


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