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Welp, it’s time for route-learning again

The last few weeks have been a blur. I’ve had a birthday, I’ve sat my final rules exams, and I’ve been traction trained on three different stocks. I’m signed off as competent to once again work Desiros (444 and 450s), 455s and 458s as a Guard! Hooray! So, with the final rules assessments and traction assessments complete, this means I am certified to be a Guard. But… there’s one more step.

And I gotta be honest, this is the step that nearly took me out the first time I was going through this process, and I’m dreading it again this time. Route learning. Any member of Railway staff will tell you there’s so much we need to have in our heads on a daily basis, and there’s so much information to retain. For drivers, it’s speed limits, calling patterns, braking points, etc., and I hear you wondering what could Guards possibly have to know? Well, we need to know how we’re dispatching our train; is there a signal to check prior to closing the doors? Can I see the whole train from where I will be on the platform? Is the station step-free in case I have a customer who has a wheelchair? Is the station classed as step-free, but it’s up a steep path, or is it a lift? Am I expecting dispatch assistance from platform staff?

There’s surprisingly a lot that Guards need in their head at any one time, and that’s what the next two months sees me and my fellow new-starter colleagues undertaking. The process of having all that information crammed into our heads before we’re allowed to work trains again!

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