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Rail Train Guard Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Rail Train Guard. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Rail Train Guard
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Rail Train Guard Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Railway train guards may also be known as conductors, customer service inspectors or train managers. Their work routines vary between long distance, local/suburban, and metro/light rail trains. It is not now common for guards to be placed on freight trains.

The main task of guards is to walk through the carriages checking, clipping and selling tickets. They also answer passengers' questions and give advice on arrival times, connections and routes. They may also have to carry out safety and customer comfort checks prior to the start of a train journey.

Guards make announcements to passengers and may also be responsible for opening and closing the train doors via remote control. In addition, train guards ensure that passengers get on or off the train safely and will take necessary action if anyone falls ill or there is an accident.

A guard on a freight train would inspect the load for safety and security. Both drivers and guards have to make written reports of any unusual event occurring during each freight train journey.

Hours and Environment:

Train guards normally work a 37-hour week. Working shifts and overtime is common; this could include weekends, evenings and nights. Guards on long distance journeys may be required to stay overnight at the end of a journey.

A guards base on a train may be a small compartment from which they can signal and talk to the driver, make announcements, and apply the emergency brake. However, the main environment will be amongst passenger compartments.

Train guards wear a uniform supplied by the employer.

Skills and Interests:

To be a train guard, you should:

  • have a pleasant personality
  • be of smart appearance
  • have a good memory for learning regulations, safety procedures, fares and schedules
  • have good communication skills for talking to passengers
  • have a clear speaking voice for making passenger announcements
  • be able to accept responsibility and work without supervision
  • be able to handle pressure and react in a calm, reassuring manner
  • be able to deal appropriately with difficult and angry passengers
  • have good numeracy skills for handling cash and change
  • have good eyesight, with or without glasses
  • have normal colour vision.


Entry:

Most companies require guards to be at least 18. There is no upper age limit for entry.

You do not need any specific qualifications to become a train guard, however, a good general education is desirable. You should have good numeracy and literacy skills. Experience in dealing with the public is helpful.

You will be tested for aptitude, personality, concentration, and ability to remember procedures, rules and regulations. New entrants will be required to pass a medical examination to test fitness levels, eyesight, colour vision and hearing. There is a rigid policy on drug and alcohol abuse. Random alcohol and drug tests can be conducted at any time.

Many Train Operating Companies (TOCs) recruit guards from existing station staff or from people with experience in a customer service role. See the Centre for Rail Skills website for TOC details.

Some companies will not employ individuals who have visible tattoos or body-piercings.

Training:

Trainee guards or train managers will attend sessions both in the classroom and on board trains, learning the skills and knowledge necessary to follow and interpret timetables, issue ticket prices, and effectively handle and deal with passengers.

Train guards can work towards NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Rail Transport Operations (Passenger Services).

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).

Opportunities:

There are opportunities for employment with the 23 passenger Train Operating Companies (TOCs), a number of freight companies, and underground/light rail/metro companies. Some TOCs operate routes spanning the country - others operate at regional or local levels.

As a train guard, you may be able to gain more responsibility by moving from light rail and local routes to long distance trains or by changing employers.

There are around 3,000 guards currently in employment. Job opportunities are regularly available on some routes but are reducing elsewhere due to the trend towards driver-only trains, especially on light rail systems. Guards are often considered as potential candidates for trainee driver vacancies. Guards may also move to revenue protection inspector or in to management roles.

There are more opportunities available in complex, busy networks such as London and the south-east of England.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Railway train guards usually start at around £18,000.
With experience guards can earn up to £20,000.

Some TOCs pay more than local networks or smaller companies operating light rail systems. Overtime payments, allowances and benefits may add value to annual incomes.

Further information:

Centre for Rail Skills *
PO Box 39685
London
W2 1XR
Tel: 0845 345 2700
www.ritc.org.uk

Network Rail
40 Melton Street
London
NW1 2EE
Tel: 020 7557 8000
www.networkrail.co.uk

Northern Ireland Railways
Human Resources Department
Central Station
East Bridge Street
Belfast
BT1 3PB
Tel: 028 9089 9400
www.nirailways.co.uk

* PLEASE NOTE
National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website: www.ssda.org.uk

Other Useful Rail Train Guard Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Rail Train Guard job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Rail Train Guard Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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