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Working Life After Flying

Terms and Endearment The forum the bean counters hoped would never happen. Your news on pay, rostering, allowances, extras and negotiations where you work - scheduled, charter or contract.

Working Life After Flying

Old 30th Apr 2020, 21:26
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: South east
Posts: 3
Anyone seriously interested in driving trains be prepared to train for a year or so (varies a lot) on a trainee rate which us variable but mainly around the 30k mark . Free travel five day weekends every three weeks final salary pension and a stress free secure job with a fantastic union behind you.

Head to railforums where there's a wealth of info. Trainee roles are common around London so book mark the companies career listings
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 21:26
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Surrey
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Yes, I'm afraid so. I'm trying to keep it empty for as long as possible so keep trying and I'll get back to you!

I hear driver training is being paused for now while the regulatory bodies decide on how classroom and practical training can be done with the minimum of risk. I'd say for anyone interested, start polishing the CVs and hone your interview skills and prepare some answers that will have the recruitment/management team smiling. You've all, without a doubt, had some invaluable experience when it comes to the ABCs like teamwork, safety management, following rules and procedures etc.

So think back and try and recall as much detail about any event you can as they WILL pick apart everything you say and ask things like 'How did that make you feel?

Why did you do it? Was it the right thing to do? Basically STAR method 'Situation, Task, Action, Response' and they'll probe further and do things like ask you the same questions twice to see if you've picked up on it and whether you stick to your guns and give the same response. Hope this is helpful.
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 22:52
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Reigate
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For an insight into pay and conditions etc. for the various Train Operating Companies (TOC) and Freight Operating Companies (FOC) google;

Aslef Company Informtion

Aslef is our Union, as I am sure some of you are aware and are probably one of the strongest unions going.
Trainee rate at our TOC is just shy of 30k, once qualified for year 1 you are on 80% of full pay, year 2 90% of full pay and itís not until year 3 you are on 100%.
Also as mentioned in a previous post, head to Rail UK Forums.... similar set up to PPRuNe but all railway related.
Trying to keep my inbox free also.
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Old 1st May 2020, 00:59
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 243
There are a lot of us train drivers who initially wanted a flying career but saw the cost and moved our ambitions to the railways. I did mention train driving in another virus-related flying careers thread, though since this is focused non-flying careers, it's probably better that I continue here and leave the other one to aviation.

As realECMLdriver has said, there are difficulties in training new drivers at the moment. Most parts of the training process require, at some stage, delivery in a practical environment and the various parties will need time to work out how to deliver the training whilst minimising risk. Some companies are still advertising (Avanti did very recently) for trainee drivers because the recruitment process is long, it can take many months, even a good year or so. The railway is slow when it comes to recruitment.

The recruitment process usually starts with an online application/sift that may involve some fairly basic aptitude/personality tests. Take a look at the 7 Non-Technical Skills published by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), these are highly relevant. In particular, they are looking people who value safety, stick to the rules rules and who are honest.

Next up are the main aptitude tests. To obtain a train driving licence which permits you to drive trains on Network Rail infrastructure, you must pass all of these tests. The interview referred to above where they ask you how things make you feel etc. is technically one of these tests, it's known as a Multi-Modal Interview (MMI). It's competency-based but they will put you under a lot of pressure and interrupt a lot, It's done by a psychologist so they aren't to be fooled. You must pass all of the tests (about ten I think these days) to the national standard to make it through to the next stage. One fail results in a failed sitting and if you fail two sittings you cannot re-apply as a trainee driver for any train company which uses Network Rail infrastructure. The pass rate historically was something like 10%, preparation is absolutely vital and many who pass prepare thoroughly. Many train companies set standards higher than the national minimum, however failing to meet these doesn't count towards the "two strikes and you're out" rule. Your test passes are valid for up to five years so you can take them from one company to another, few companies will recognise them for more than three years. You are not directly competing against others during these aptitude tests

Next up is usually the management interview (though some places leave the MMI till last). There's no limit as to how many you can sit though of course individual companies may prevent you from reapplying to them for say six months or a year. It's basically an exercise to see if your face fits and you are competing with others. Some places have tried to impose demographic quotas but these seem to be unpopular with drivers and local management.

The last thing is the medical, this will be arranged by your prospective employer and will be done by their provider. I'd say it's similar to a Class 2 but stricter in some areas and less so in others.

Bear in mind that train companies pay for training which in itself takes at least a year and costs the company north of £100k. In the vast majority of cases and they will expect a return of service, so only apply if you don't plan on returning to flying any time soon. Places like LNER, Avanti and Cross Country in particular tend to see very few drivers leave.




Last edited by Chris the Robot; 1st May 2020 at 01:18.
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Old 1st May 2020, 01:19
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: everywhere
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I'm sure all the train drivers on here are well intentioned, but why on earth do you all flock to a pilot forum to tell us how how much fun you have out on the tracks and how great a job it is?

You've found a career that worked, great, now why on earth go to a forum intended to those who chose a different career path?

We are aware of train driving but for many I think it's not a suitable opportunity. The time it all takes in itself from applying to actually getting an interview then even starting could be so long that an awful lot will be getting called back by their former airlines as things pick up late this year and going into next year.

I think it's a bit much to embark on a full career and go through all the retraining effort, is there a bond? if not then how would one feel morally by taking the place, building up the bill for the company and then being gone after the first phone call to get back flying? That is a place that could have gone to someone who would have made a career for life out of it. You took their dream job on the railways when you didn't even want it. If there is a bond then how would one feel having built up such a big bill to have to pay back, all because they had ants in their pants and couldn't sit still for a bit?

I accept the situation is drastic and unprecedented, but I think cautious steps are required going forward, nothing so major and certainly not so soon. The direction of the chat in this thread has taken a somewhat premature path.
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Old 1st May 2020, 01:55
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Wandsworth
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Originally Posted by A320LGW View Post

You've found a career that worked, great, now why on earth go to a forum intended to those who chose a different career path?
Each to their own. The thread title is quite clear and it loosely fits in. I for one in the first 5 years of my professional flying career with little to no training debt appreciate the insight into the railway industry and how much more supported it is and by contrast therefore really how much airlines take pilots for a ride. Train Company goes bust? Not to worry.. government operator takes over. No brexit or climate dramas either, and plenty enough to take home to fly for fun.

Anyway..I won't be applying straight away if made redundant but I can imagine their forums are far more relaxed than ours right now!
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Old 1st May 2020, 05:38
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Brighton, UK
Posts: 19
I agree with A320 here... and whilst train driving does sound all perfect and rosy, it's not as straight forward to get into as some here may suggest.

First off, the competition to even get someone at a TOC to so much as look at your CV is almost impossible... There are very few trainee driver jobs on offer a year and when they do come around, applicants are in the 10's of thousands. And guess what? There's only 4 positions available! So yeah, I'll leave the maths to you on that one...I've often argued that in my opinion getting a train driving job is significantly harder than getting into the RH seat of a 737. I've been applying to TOC's for over a year now and haven't had so much as an assessment invite as of yet. For some perspective, I got accepted onto EZY's CTC course on my first ever attempt at applying. Also, being a pilot unfortunately won't get you any special treatment throughout the application phase, they're incredibly picky and selective and sometimes it feels like pure luck... besides, nobody will even look at your CV until the very last stages of recruitment, so prior to the final interview stages your background is pretty much irrelevant.

Adding to this, most TOC's now implement at 60 minute commute rule... fine, right? Not exactly, you have to live 60 minutes away from your base BEFORE you apply, most TOC's now don't even allow applicants to relocate on the condition of a job offer... I've had many applications rejected because of this. So how many different TOC's operate within 60 minutes of your address? I have two - one last hired new trainee's in 2014 and the other one last hired earlier this year and now probably won't again for another few years, this is exactly the kind of problem i'm talking about.

Of course, I hope none of you have to end up looking for alternative careers anyway! Good luck to you all!
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Old 1st May 2020, 06:01
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Borders
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It's already been mentioned on this thread, and I've previously touched on it: aside from the lack of relevant qualifications offered by the majority of airline pilots, perhaps the biggest issue we're going to face is the perception that we'll be off as soon as a flying job turns up. This will prove to be an insurmountable obstacle for those without the means to demonstrate significant commitment to a new career path.

Personally, I'm not bothered about flying per se, but it's the only thing I'm realistically qualified to do without an expensive refresh of my prior qualifications. I was looking for a new career even before the current crisis, and it really isn't as simple to find something else as some on here seem to believe it is, especially if you expect a salary that's even an appreciable fraction of what you currently earn.
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Old 1st May 2020, 07:24
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 17
Originally Posted by A320LGW View Post
I'm sure all the train drivers on here are well intentioned, but why on earth do you all flock to a pilot forum to tell us how how much fun you have out on the tracks and how great a job it is?
To be fair to those posting, at least a couple of us asked with genuine interest and this thread is about life after flying. I for one am grateful for the responses.

I do like your sentiment about airlines calling back pilots that have been let go in a year or so, but whereís the guarantee in that? Any longer than that and the schools churning out cadets will be doing so again and those un-current on the outside wonít get a look in.

Driving Trains could be an interesting career shift and if it takes a while to break into thatís just comparable to ATPL exams, flying courses, MCC/JOC, application, aptitude tests, interview, sim, hold pool. Just this time, admittedly only if you make it amongst fierce competition, thereís a higher chance of keeping your job until retirement.

Thanks to those who posted, food for thought 👍
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Old 1st May 2020, 07:31
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Surrey
Posts: 5
I see where you're coming from as I genuinely ummed and ahhed before posting. Wouldn't wish what's going on now on my worst enemy and I got the impression that there are some who are seriously looking for a change. I guess one reason I chose to speak up because I've lost count of the number of people who initially turned their nose up at me for saying I'm a train driver to then change their opinion when they hear all of the info in the previous posts. Many apply mid career having previously been unaware of things like pay, terms, holiday entitlement and stability. While I understand a lot of you may already know this, there are others that won't. Quite understandable too as you've poured everything into what you've achieved, so there's little to no reason to consider such a move. I thought I'd offer a little more insight into the role and if it ends up helping one out of the many thousands of you on here, then great!

Last edited by realECMLdriver; 1st May 2020 at 09:51. Reason: Grammar
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Old 1st May 2020, 08:01
  #31 (permalink)  
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It’s interesting that trains came up so quickly in the thread - only a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a Trainee driver taking over the Scotrail twitter for the day, it made interesting reading, and I made a mental note to find out more in case the proverbial diverted fanwards.

Thanks to realECMLdriver and all who have replied - whether about trains or otherwise. I wonder if there are others out there with stories they would care to share... thanks in advance.
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Old 1st May 2020, 08:24
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Here and there
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Its amazing 2 transport related industries, both post privatisation, both limited operators. Both obviously desirable careers judging by the numbers that apply for the railways.

One funds all of the new enterent training, 4 day weeks and everyone happy.

The other, £100k plus to train, self funded, work max hours, treated like ..., etc etc.

How did we end up here? Genuinely interested. Some will say the unions, but that cant be it.
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Old 1st May 2020, 09:02
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Reigate
Posts: 6
Again only posting as genuine questions have been asked and would like to help out where possible.
Not on here to gloat or rub salt in anyone wounds, far from it.
Joined PPRuNe as I too had an ambition to fly commercially but never ended up doing so.
Honestly hope everything works out.
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Old 1st May 2020, 09:21
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Munich Circus
Posts: 751
Ignore the criticism. I am sure I am not alone, but posts such as yours are exactly the type of information I was hoping to learn from. Many thanks for your contribution.
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Old 1st May 2020, 09:46
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,641
Whoa fella !

They might be trying to help - in the same way that we would help them if they asked us questions about flying.
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Old 1st May 2020, 09:57
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: UK North
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Originally Posted by 5000psi View Post
Its amazing 2 transport related industries, both post privatisation, both limited operators. Both obviously desirable careers judging by the numbers that apply for the railways.

One funds all of the new enterent training, 4 day weeks and everyone happy.

The other, £100k plus to train, self funded, work max hours, treated like ..., etc etc.

How did we end up here? Genuinely interested. Some will say the unions, but that cant be it.
Strong unions such as ASLEF and RMT have an awful lot to do with it. Also how many train drivers do the job for nothing just to gain experience plus the dreadful Pay 2 Fly schemes that were/are in operation in the aviation world. Train drivers don't trample over each other to get onto the "flight deck" either. My son left aviation under sad circumstances and joined the railway as a Driver. The selection was tough and out of 100 applicants, only 2 got through to the next stage. He loved the job but was lured back to Aviation when an upturn happened. Guess what? He is back to square one again due to C-19 and now wishes he had stayed driving trains. I did warn him!
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Old 1st May 2020, 10:08
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: On the road
Posts: 163
Ignore the detractors. Itís emotional times. Given the question of the thread I think all of us in the industry welcome any chat and thoughts. Train drivers, woodworkers, what ever - itís all welcome chat as far as Iím concerned. Try not to get sensitive and tell these folk to buzz off.

Equally those trying to police others by telling them itís too early - what you asking for - have some emotional empathy. Some cope by facing one step at a time. Other people cope by trying to imagine a future away. Doesnít mean theyíre gonna all immediately shred their licences and apply to be railway signallers

Also, donít see no need for mods to bin this thread off. Thereís hardly much of an industry left at the min so if this isnít a relevant topic for ďtermsĒ donít know what is

Last edited by Cliff Secord; 1st May 2020 at 14:36.
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Old 1st May 2020, 10:10
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 64
Strong unions such as ASLEF and RMT have an awful lot to do with it. Also how many train drivers do the job for nothing just to gain experience plus the dreadful Pay 2 Fly schemes that were/are in operation in the aviation world. Train drivers don't trample over each other to get onto the "flight deck" either.
Totally agree. We as a group do not do ourselves any favours, particularly here in the UK.
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Old 1st May 2020, 10:39
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by 5000psi View Post
Its amazing 2 transport related industries, both post privatisation, both limited operators. Both obviously desirable careers judging by the numbers that apply for the railways.

One funds all of the new enterent training, 4 day weeks and everyone happy.

The other, £100k plus to train, self funded, work max hours, treated like ..., etc etc.

How did we end up here? Genuinely interested. Some will say the unions, but that cant be it.
One of the most important aspects of this is the fact that would be drivers cannot pay for their own training. This means that there is never a surplus of newly qualified people desperate for their first job. Occasionally there are redundancies, recently these have been in the freight sector due to the closure of coal-fired power stations. ASLEF worked with various TOCs I believe to make sure that the drivers who wanted to stay in the industry had opportunities available. With regard to T&Cs, the union acts as a backstop to prevent TOCs from imposing things we don't want in our contracts.

The absence of large driver surpluses mean that companies have to compete for drivers, it's cheaper to take someone who's qualified elsewhere than someone who needs a full training course. If one company has a large retirement bulge coming up, the company next door might make their pay deal a bit better to avoid having their drivers poached. The appearance of Crossrail and the massive expansion of London Overground and Thameslink has done quite a lot for driver salaries at most of the London commuter TOCs because many were at risk of losing drivers. Ultimately, it comes down to supply and demand, if pilots want to restore terms and conditions, the unions have to put an end to the oversupply of 200-hour airline ready people. As I've said before, look at what the 1500 hour rule did for conditions in the US.

Another important thing is the paradigm, airlines are used to being able to get their way with pilots since the degradation of T&Cs has been going on for so long, so they demand a lot more than they otherwise would. On the railway, it's the opposite way round, there have even been a couple of occasions recently where unions have totally brass-necked it and the company has just said "yes" to the union's amazement. That said, union strength varies from company to company.

As for train drivers on a pilot forums, I have seen pilot threads on a railway forum, in fact one was created by the moderators on a rail forum to enable the railway crowd to discuss their various flying ambitions. I do know of at least one newly qualified pilot who came to the railway, he was on a zero-hours contract at a low-cost airline and it didn't pay the training loan.

When it comes to the railway, if a pilot could present a convincing case that the airline industry was not going to recover to it's pre-virus peak then that would no doubt help with recruitment. Also, since age is no-barrier to train driver training, someone who's taken an early retirement in aviation could enjoy a 10 year career on the railway. Trainees in their mid-fifties are a common sight.
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Old 1st May 2020, 10:44
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Surrey
Posts: 5
Completely understand that these are emotional times, as mentioned above. I was almost ready to apply and put myself through training and I certainly feel I've gotten a lot from reading these forums over the years so if there's anything I can do to give a little back to those who are interested then I'd be all too happy to help.

I'll go as far as to say if anyone is travelling into/out of Kings Cross on the East Coast line, whether for leisure or commuting, feel free to let me know and if I'm available then I don't mind having a socially distanced chat about anything you wish to know.
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