So you want to be a train driver? My first year experiences

 
  Ads Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Hi to all,
Have been looking for an appropriate thread to post my following questions, hope this is the right place.

I have read through PN's/RTBU's EBA and would just like to find out a more 'direct' answer in regards to timeoff/holidays for those working in the rail industry. I guess to be specific - working for PN as part of the train crew.

How much time off/days off would a trainee expect to have during their first year with the company.

How does this differ to an employee who has completed their training and working 'fully qualified'?


I ask as I am looking to enter the industry in the very near future, hopefully as a trainee driver, but I also wish to holiday overseas in that same time frame too.  Is it a case of gain employment and say goodbye to 'holidays' (ie. 10+consecutive days) until your eligable for anual leave?

thanks.

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  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
G'day Ads. You're entitled to your 5 weeks leave a year, but, depending where you are will depend on their interpretation of the EA. Example. I've got about a week's leave left over from last year, plus what I've accrued this year, but Rosters says I can only take what I didn't use last year. They don't recognise the "pro-rata" amount on the payslips.

Also, depending where you start will depend on when everyone else already has their holidays "booked". Smaller depots are likely to be a lot more flexible in that regard whereas the bigger depots aren't.

Realistically, I wouldn't expect any annual leave to be approved in your first year, undortunately.
  craigd Deputy Commissioner

Location: A Thinktank near you
Hi to all,
Have been looking for an appropriate thread to post my following questions, hope this is the right place.

I have read through PN's/RTBU's EBA and would just like to find out a more 'direct' answer in regards to timeoff/holidays for those working in the rail industry. I guess to be specific - working for PN as part of the train crew.

How much time off/days off would a trainee expect to have during their first year with the company.

How does this differ to an employee who has completed their training and working 'fully qualified'?


I ask as I am looking to enter the industry in the very near future, hopefully as a trainee driver, but I also wish to holiday overseas in that same time frame too.  Is it a case of gain employment and say goodbye to 'holidays' (ie. 10+consecutive days) until your eligable for anual leave?
"Ads"


I think that if you are up-front about your plans for an overseas holiday and make it very clear that you are going to do whatever you need to do so that you still fulfil your requirements to the company as per your contract/agreement/whatever, including perhaps taking on additional overtime, whoever is doing the rostering and managing things from a HR perspective should (in theory) work with you to set up an acceptable solution.

Cityrail's crew rostering and HR people are for the most part quite good and helpful, but if you decide one week to go overseas and give very little notice, you won't get a good response from the rostering/HR people, especially if you don't have any or enough accrued leave entitlements.

I don't know (yet) how the crew rostering/HR side of things is handled at PN, so it could depend a lot more on 'interpretation' of the wording for employment conditions. Full-time trainees with any organisations (not just in rail) are entitled to annual leave, etc.  just like regular full time employees. An employer cannot legally prevent or inhibit an employee from taking the specified amount of annual leave in any 12 month period, but the employer can certainly limit the scope for when that annual leave can be taken.

Craig.
  G41 Chief Commissioner

Location: Footplate of any K class
Sometimes with the railways its not what you know its who you know!
  broy Train Controller

Location: I know
Yes; the days of the old Traffic Branch vs The Locomotive Branch;
are well far & gone.
The third detonater must have stopped it! Laughing[/quote]




 But now its Rail Corp Vs every freight operator

broy
  Ads Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
G'day Ads. You're entitled to your 5 weeks leave a year, but, depending where you are will depend on their interpretation of the EA. Example. I've got about a week's leave left over from last year, plus what I've accrued this year, but Rosters says I can only take what I didn't use last year. They don't recognise the "pro-rata" amount on the payslips.

Also, depending where you start will depend on when everyone else already has their holidays "booked". Smaller depots are likely to be a lot more flexible in that regard whereas the bigger depots aren't.

Realistically, I wouldn't expect any annual leave to be approved in your first year, undortunately.
"KRviator"

Thanks for this info and advice craigd and KRviator.
To continue with the holiday/days off theme;
Ignoring the 5 weeks annual leave, roughly speaking how many days off would an employee receive over a 12 month period?

With the education industry teachers/staff of course receive time off during school holiday periods - which in theory comes to about 10-12 weeks off per year.

As for the railway industry, am I correct in understanding its 4 days off per fortnight, plus select public holidays? Also is it expected that trainees are required to work more days per year than those already qualified in order to keep the training course 'moving on' - or is the course designed in such a way to accommodate for rostered days off?
(if that makes sense).

cheers
  X_Class Junior Train Controller

Location: Hunter Valley
As for the railway industry, am I correct in understanding its 4 days off per fortnight, plus select public holidays? Also is it expected that trainees are required to work more days per year than those already qualified in order to keep the training course 'moving on' - or is the course designed in such a way to accommodate for rostered days off?
(if that makes sense).

cheers
"Ads"


There is no real set amount of days off per fortnight. Some fortnights you may have 3 others may be 5 or 6. Depends on where you are and the way the roster works.

PN are on a 76 hour fortnight. Rosters are therefore laid out to average 76hrs a fortnight in a manner that suits the work at the depot. If the shifts at one depot are generally long, then you would work less days than a depot where the shifts are usually shorter.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Everyone is entitled to a minimum of 104 RDO's spread across the year, with Northern Coal actually rostering at least 1 weekend off in 4.

While doing your initla training, you'll be working Monday to Friday, usually around 0700-0500, give or take a little, and depending on who you are working for and their ability to roster a DT at those times.

In practice, you'll actually get substantially more than these RDO's with DFP's (An unrostered day off, usually due to excessive hours worked or trian cancellation) and having an early finish and a late start or an extra DFP after some RDO's to ensure you can work from midnight the following day, if that makes sense.

Each RDO for us is midnight-0600 the following day, so, if you are rostered for 3 RDO's, you can't actually start before 0600 on day 4, and sometimes they'll want you from midnight, so you'll get 2RDO's & a DFP, which doesn't have the same requirements.

If you are in a grain depot, and thigns are slow, you might only work one shift in two, it al depends on what the depots main freight task is, and how much of it is going round at the moment.
  Ads Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
X_Class, KRviator,
Thanks for your info, terrific help. Much appreciated.
  craigd Deputy Commissioner

Location: A Thinktank near you
G'day Ads. You're entitled to your 5 weeks leave a year, but, depending where you are will depend on their interpretation of the EA. Example. I've got about a week's leave left over from last year, plus what I've accrued this year, but Rosters says I can only take what I didn't use last year. They don't recognise the "pro-rata" amount on the payslips.

Also, depending where you start will depend on when everyone else already has their holidays "booked". Smaller depots are likely to be a lot more flexible in that regard whereas the bigger depots aren't.

Realistically, I wouldn't expect any annual leave to be approved in your first year, undortunately.
"KRviator"

Thanks for this info and advice craigd and KRviator.
To continue with the holiday/days off theme;
Ignoring the 5 weeks annual leave, roughly speaking how many days off would an employee receive over a 12 month period?
"Ads"


Would all depend how much overtime you wanted to do (within working hour limits set down in the Rail Safety Act, assuming NSW-only scope for a moment). Cool

At CityRail, the drivers rosters are structured with 10 days of work per fortnight, and the shift length can be anything up to a maximum of 8 hrs 33 mins (specified in the 'functional agreement' addendum to the RailCorp EA for train drivers). I often had extra days of work posted on the roster. You can only work a maximum of 12 days consecutively before you must have at least one day off. The 'guarantee' is 76 hours per fortnight, so if you work less than 76 base hours (regardless of how many shifts are worked) your base pay is 'built up' (irrespective of other allowances, etc.).

I believe freight operators like PN have a similar idea in terms of how much work is given to each train crew staff member, but it's based directly on a number of hours per fortnight instead of a number of days. The Rail Safety Act specifies that train crews cannot be on duty more than 12 hours and PN, etc. would all have internal policy on how crews are to be provided with rest time between shifts so the Rail Safety Act requirements are met along with the business requirements of the company.

In theory, without any rest, you could work the full 76 hours straight and take the rest of the fortnight off, but not even a 'super human' could do that! The main thing is that there is a minimum allowable rest time between shifts, but I'm not sure if any legislation actually specifies what that is. It might be something worked out within each organisation to suit the operational needs. For CityRail, it's 11 hours minimum or 8 hours when doing training (the RTBU buggered that one up!).

Some companies (such as Genesee and Wyoming) use 'relay working' where two crews operate a train, and every 8 hours they change over and the 'off' crew has a break (eat/sleep/etc.). I don't think any rail operator in NSW currently does that, but GWA does for it's running between Adelaide and Perth/Darwin. Not sure about their trains between between Adelaide and Melbourne.

Craig.
  nutbagg Deputy Commissioner

Location: Back at the chocolate factory.
Most rail operators agreements have the provision for 4 RDO's per fortnight set out usually with a minimum time period (ie 36hrs or 30hrs from midnight).
Normally minimum 12hrs off between shifts at your home depot or 8hrs minimum on away jobs (rest/box/tuckerbox job, depending on local lingo).
Most agreements won't allow more than 85hrs to be rostered in a fortnight, but that doesn't stop those working on their days off if they want.
Relay is a different story as the entire trip is treated as a continous job with minimum 12hrs off in say Perth/ Kalgoorlie/ Port Augusta and then a minimum of 48hrs off (depending on the company) when they get back. The drivers that work the PN trains relay between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie get a 8-10 day break after some of their trips it just depends on the roster.
  boatlover Beginner

Location: Newcastle
Hey BFCYU,
I also worked at Delec as well for the SRA around that time. I was there from 1978 to mid 1980 from memory and remember the process as you described it. The 80 class was brand new then and I remember the first trip to Goulbourn on one thinking ourselves lucky to have air cond and air seats not to mention a fridge. The 85's were new as well then. Many a shunting trip on 48's and 73's were done eg 35 trip, 10 trip 19 trip and many more mainly night jobs involving Darling Harbour, Rozelle, Homebush saleyards  and Clyde and Enfield yards. There was also Rozelle no 1 and 2 shunters and the Enfield and Clyde yard shunters. I was just about to enter the acting drivers school after 2 years as a class 2 but left the job as the shift work was causing relationship issues at the time. I have regretted that decision ever since and am trying to re apply again for PN at 56 years old and it is a hell of a lot harder to get in now as against the late 70's. Anyway they were great memories and I only wish I had taken more photos. 44 and 45 class,421's 42's  mail trains one after another, brake vans. Who would have thought that they would all disappear?
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Hey BFCYU,
I also worked at Delec as well for the SRA around that time. I was there from 1978 to mid 1980 from memory and remember the process as you described it. The 80 class was brand new then and I remember the first trip to Goulbourn on one thinking ourselves lucky to have air cond and air seats not to mention a fridge. The 85's were new as well then. Many a shunting trip on 48's and 73's were done eg 35 trip, 10 trip 19 trip and many more mainly night jobs involving Darling Harbour, Rozelle, Homebush saleyards  and Clyde and Enfield yards. There was also Rozelle no 1 and 2 shunters and the Enfield and Clyde yard shunters. I was just about to enter the acting drivers school after 2 years as a class 2 but left the job as the shift work was causing relationship issues at the time. I have regretted that decision ever since and am trying to re apply again for PN at 56 years old and it is a hell of a lot harder to get in now as against the late 70's. Anyway they were great memories and I only wish I had taken more photos. 44 and 45 class,421's 42's  mail trains one after another, brake vans. Who would have thought that they would all disappear?

Hi boatlover ;

Yes I was there at the DELEC depot with SRA around the same time You was there.

I went from a trainee engineman (trainee driver) right up to the acting drivers exams.

But with also some regret I also "jumped ships and left the job"

Old saying grass looks greener other side of the fence, but we find out it is only brown & dry.

I thought State Rail will go on forever and privatisation of The Freight rail
was not even in my own widest thought or imagination.

But with my "boomerang" about 15 years later
and back on Freight Rail then Pacific National

I was there to see it (and redundancy) as ground crew [not train crew]

I was offered back an offer of as 2nd person or trainee driver at Enfield Main Yard (DELEC was bulldozed) instead of the redundancy (voluntary redundancy) or V/R  
but from what I heard it was like a no go with very low morale at Enfield so I took the V/R.

Maybe I should have stayed, but well I am jusy as happy now Mon - Fri job and all daylight hours (no backshifts or barracks and long boring late night sitter jobs) Shunting engine or trip trains.

Great to touch down "boatlover"

I fired for Tony Ryan & Vince Jelly and Neil Pickerton. and a few younger drivers;
and heaps of "roustabout work on the pencil roster"
but also as senior fireman/acting driver a couple of AFULE Drivers Jack Patterson and Lee Alsop (as I was also in the AFULE cab committee for the new "80, 85 & 86 class cabs for engineman)

See ya later mate.

Your turn on the vigo button (button).

BFCYU.

boatlover
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
Hi again "boatlover"

Yes great and top memories of the former State Rail (SRA)
  boatlover Beginner

Location: Newcastle
Hi BFCYU,

Yep they were top memories Smile

Do you remember Benny and Reg the head cleaners? I hated the shed work and loved getting my hours up on the road. The roster clerks (Clint?)  would call me up on my RDO's as they could depend on me if others failed to turn up and I would get some good jobs like Lithgow and Broadmeadow book off or home pass. I used to love the Broadmeadow round trip. Sign on delec, walk to nth box and relieve local crew then flat out to Broadmeadow. Have a cuppa then wait for a train off the nth ,jump on then straight back to Enfield. We (my regular mate and I) would run the speedboards all the way back to try to get to Nth Srtathfield in 2 hrs neat. Those were the days with one and a half engines (alcos) or two mainline locos.
My first regular mate was Darcy Mccarron (we are still great mates to this day) but when he transferred to ETR I was regular mates with Charlie Bere-streeter (I think he passed away a few years back) until I left the job in 1980. Charlie was a very senior driver (ex steam driver) who was up on the roster and we used to get some good jobs especially west with 46's. I would do just about all the driving as Charlie felt if I wanted to learn then I had better be behind the contols. Those bloody Lithgow barracks were cold in winter with the starched cotton sheets and little strip heaters.
I used to love listening to all the tales from all the old steam drivers in the meal room (funny buggers some of them) and experienced too. They would seldom use the headlight at night as they knew the "road" like the back of their hand even on the mainline. I can remember travelling at 100kph in a "high wheeler" in fog so thick you couldnt see your hand in front of you and it was a very eerie feeling. I can remember commenting to the driver"I hope you know what you are doing " because if you miss a "stick" and hit a shunting train or whatever in front we will be on the news. The driver just turned to me and smiled confidently.
Yep, great memories just wish I had taken more photos. A great thread to read is "old enfield personalities" as well.

Great chatting to you BFCYU!

Your turn to press the VC now Smile
  boatlover Beginner

Location: Newcastle
PS. I started the same day in 1978 as Mick Kime (I heard he is in Taree now with PN)  Lee McCarthy (I think he became a driver trainer at Petersham?) and Dean Henderson(not sure what happened to him?) We all did the schools (safe working) together in Haymarket I think it was from memory.
Great times!
  BFCYU Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney "Sutherland Shire"
PS. I started the same day in 1978 as Mick Kime (I heard he is in Taree now with PN)  Lee McCarthy (I think he became a driver trainer at Petersham?) and Dean Henderson(not sure what happened to him?) We all did the schools (safe working) together in Haymarket I think it was from memory.
Great times!
boatlover

Yes mate;

great times;

like driving a 48 class blindfolded and the big mainliners of the big 44 class and 45 class
were a dime a dozen.

I is don't mind the 421 GM's but a bit of rock & roll with "high wheelers" with 465 south to Goulburn.

The 442 class were an upbeat of the 44's and the 422's were fine bit of high 2 stoke noise.
(except 4222o after it went through the makeover.

I was there the first 80 class came out then the brand new spanking 81's.

I was not of the electrics fan
esp the class and three heavy jumper coumplings to each 46 class mate.

( iused to hate prep and the 3 x 46 class and then place them for the Lithgow barracks men)

And Yes I rememeber Benny with high funny pitch voice and Fred as the head cleaners.

Yeh great times, bring back the State Rail or NSWGR.

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