Our Channel 5 Documentary Stars - Episode 2

Thursday 18th June 2020

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.

 

Adam Fairclough

Hi Adam, let’s find out more about you. How long have you worked for TPE, and what roles have you done in that time?

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.

What did you do before joining the TPE team?

Public relations and marketing at different places.

What does a typical day look like?

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.

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

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.

And what frustrates you?

Indecisiveness and over-thinking to the point of suffocating progress... that, and unexpected items in the bagging area.

What’s been your career highlight?

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.

What are your career aspirations?

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Meditation, travelling around, eating pizza, family time and trying to be a good human.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

I’m a farming enthusiast. I’ll leave it at that.

Quickfire Round
Favourite Nova? Nova 1. No, wait… Nova 3. Or maybe Nova 2. Oh, I don’t know.
Favourite train station? On our network – probably Hull, a grand station frequented by friendly, lovable locals.
Your favourite city in the North? Manchester.
Best holiday destination? New York or Cleethorpes.
Podcast or book? Podcast.
What song can you listen to on repeat? Subterranean Homesick Blues.
Favourite artist of all time? Prince and David Bowie, a pair of magnificent humans and choosing just one is against the law.
A film you could watch over and over? The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Salted Caramel Kit-Kat Chunky, my secret shame. I can eat three consecutively without pausing for breath, but don’t tell anybody


Jess Fenton

Hi Jess, let’s find out more about you. How long have you worked for TPE, and what roles have you done in that time?

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.

What did you do before joining the TPE team?

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!

What does a typical day look like?

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.

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

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!

And what frustrates you?

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.

What’s been your career highlight?

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.

What are your career aspirations?

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!

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

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!

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

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.

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

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!

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

I have a scar on my chin from falling over my own feet whilst out in Leeds! I am so clumsy!

Quickfire Round
Favourite Nova? Nova 1.
Favourite train station? York.
Favourite city in the North? Sheffield of course!
Best holiday destination? Florida.
Podcast or book? Book.
What song can you listen to on repeat? TLC – No Scrubs.
Favourite artist of all time? Drake.
A film you could watch over and over? Coyote Ugly.
What’s your guilty pleasure? A bit of Elvis, thanks to my mum!
 

Dave Hurren
 
Hi Dave, let’s find out more about you. How long have you worked for TPE, and what roles have you done in that time?

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.

What did you do before joining the TPE team?

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.

What does a typical day look like?

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.

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

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.

And what frustrates you?

Sometimes, when things go wrong, mainly during disruption, whatever we try to do doesn't improve things and decisions are out of our hands.

What are your career aspirations?

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Tell us something people don’t know about you.

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!

Quickfire Round
Favourite Nova? Supernova.
Favourite train station? Hull Paragon of course!
Your favourite city in the North? Definitely Hull.
Best holiday destination? Canary Islands.
Podcast or book? Book.
What song can you listen to on repeat? Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World.
Favourite artist of all time? Buddy Holly.
A film you could watch over and over? Apollo 13.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.

You can watch Adam, Jess, Dave and many more of our lovely colleagues in The Railway 24/7 Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 5 or on catch-up.

Fancy joining the team? To see our latest vacancies please visit our dedicated careers site.


 

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