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This week, our behind-the-scenes documentary series The Railway 24/7 continued on Channel 5 revealing what it takes to move millions of passengers across the North every year. Get to know a few of the stars of Episode 2 below.
You can watch the series Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 5, or on catch-up.
About 6 years and I’ve made a nuisance of myself in five different roles in that time, including my current job where I head up the team that looks after a bunch of customer experience stuff like onboard catering, train presentation, customer relations and social media.
Public relations and marketing at different places.
Most mornings involve a (decaf) coffee stop, a skim over emails, texts and calls, and then either a mooch to the office if there are meetings, or a pootle somewhere on the network to see our frontline teams. I’m lucky that I get to work with different people daily, such as Customer Hosts, Train Presentation Operatives, Conductors, Security Officers, Customer Advisors, Control, Stations and Conductors.
This answer stinks of cheese but what makes me excited to go to work are the people, especially the talented team I’m very, very lucky to look after and be a part of. There are some interesting characters in the railway that make me laugh, cheery and sometimes baffled.
Indecisiveness and over-thinking to the point of suffocating progress... that, and unexpected items in the bagging area.
Probably landing this job. At the time, this job was a huge leap for me, but my boss believed I could do it. I also met Prince Charles at an allotment in Burnley once, so that was curious.
To continue making a nuisance in the railway for now, with an eye on the Apple CEO job in the next five years. I’ll see how it goes.
A tenacious attitude and a healthy work ethic are more important than skill. And just accept the railway can be a bonkers industry to work in at times. Don’t fight it.
Other than the experience of life itself, learning that you can never know what you’re capable of until you do it. The railway is desperately in need both of people who challenge themselves and come up with ideas, and people who will grant the time and resource to those people who want to push things forward.
Meditation, travelling around, eating pizza, family time and trying to be a good human.
I’m a farming enthusiast. I’ll leave it at that.
I’ve worked for TransPennine Express for 2 years now as a conductor after transferring from another rail operator and it was the best move I did! I’m also currently completing a Customer Service Diploma provided by TransPennine Express which I’m very grateful to be doing.
Before joining I was a conductor at another rail company for 2 years and before that, I was a conductor on the Supertram network in Sheffield!
My typical working day includes me signing on for work and checking the notices in case there’s anything I need to know before heading out to my train. I usually have a laugh with colleagues when I’m in the messroom or they are usually laughing at me for something stupid I’ve said! Then carrying out my shift and talking to the regulars seeing how they are and having a general chat with others whilst checking and selling tickets. Then it’s back to the cab ready to operate the doors at each stop.
The people I can have a laugh with including colleagues and regular travellers and commuters. I work with a great bunch of people and it always makes the day quicker when you’re laughing! Also, you can’t beat having fish and chips on your break at Cleethorpes!
The thing that sometimes frustrates me is when incidents occur, it’s hard for passengers to understand that I can’t provide a time on how long things will take to resume back to normal. It can be a few minutes, or it can be a couple of hours depending on what the situation is. It depends on a lot of different things out of my control and sometimes I can’t get the information they want any quicker.
My career highlight so far is joining the railway. I have followed in my Mum and Stepdad’s footsteps as they both work on the railway and always encouraged me to join as they knew I’d love it. It was a great move.
My career aspirations are definitely to stay on the railway but hopefully move up the ladder, I don’t have my heart set on any specific role but I’m always looking at what comes up as there are so many opportunities. I love my job as a conductor, but I’d love a new challenge!
To expect the unexpected sometimes when it comes to passengers - I’m never surprised anymore! Try not to take things to heart when passengers are angry and frustrated and always have a book, or something to watch as some services with diversions are long but it’s great!
Learning how to approach and deal with passengers that may be unruly especially if it’s a weekend. You must be firm and strict if things escalate to protect everyone else on your train and yourself.
I like to wind down from my shift by either coming home and doing a workout, or going to the gym – but not before a nap if it’s a 3am start! Then usually after dinner I settle down and watch Netflix with my boyfriend. If it’s my day off then scrap that, I’m having some drinks!
I have a scar on my chin from falling over my own feet whilst out in Leeds! I am so clumsy!
I’ve been working at TPE for 5 years. I initially applied for a position as a Travel Advisor to work in the Booking Office, but they found out that I had no money handling experience which was a problem! I was lucky that the manager at that time decided he wanted me to apply for the Station Team Leader role and the rest is history. Within my current role, I am also the local Dispatch Assessor.
In June 1983 at sweet 16 I left home to join the Royal Navy as a Junior Seaman Radar. 24 years later I left as a Chief Petty Officer Aircraft Controller, controlling aircraft from the tower at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. After leaving, I drove buses for a short while, then went back to work with the Royal Navy in a civilian capacity at 849 Naval Air Squadron as an Operations Assistant and worked in the simulator to train new Naval Observers. I then moved to Hull and worked for 2 years as a Maintenance Co-ordinator at a chartered surveyor before joining the wonderful railway family.
After getting a handover from one of my colleagues (there are 6 of us at Hull) it’s a case of trying to keep the station and trains running as smoothly as possible. Being a terminal station, we frequently get requests for unit swaps to satisfy maintenance, fuelling or logistical requirements. We also liaise with the signaller to allocate platforms to facilitate these swaps and in the evenings we also set the station up for the next day slotting units into the train diagrams as required by the various TOC Controls. Apart from the operational aspect, we keep the station ticking over and run the station in the absence of our Group Station Manager.
I do really enjoy my job and tend to get a real sense of satisfaction when things go right and I'm able to assist a colleague or passenger to make their day or journey better. I'm so lucky to work with a great bunch of people. Traincrew, station colleagues, signallers, security guards and cleaners who all go about their duties in a thoroughly professional, friendly and supportive way. I'm proud to be a part of that.
Sometimes, when things go wrong, mainly during disruption, whatever we try to do doesn't improve things and decisions are out of our hands.
I really enjoy what I currently do so I have no aspirations to change my role. I just aspire to keep learning and to do the best I possibly can.
Listen to your team, there is a lot of experience there. If you don't know the answer or you aren’t sure what to do, chances are they will have a suggestion that’ll help.
I’m pretty lazy so the less physical activity the better, unless it involves chasing my Grandchildren! I love the quiet life; I like going to the cinema with my wife and spending time with my family. I also enjoy going sea fishing and even occasionally catching something.
I once ended up in a nightclub still wearing the muddy, smelly kit that I had played a full game of football in 8 hours earlier. Yuk!