How were new motormen trained - i.e. length of time spent with instructor, time spent on theory, time spent in depots or sidings examining stuff, etc... I have always been curious as to how things were done in the days of crew operation versus OPO.
Also, what was the usual mickey-take for new drivers? (i.e. solidbond grinning amongst the MCBs, detonators under a green motorman)
Post by piccadillypilot on Jul 4, 2005 22:24:45 GMT
Guards were trained as emergency motormen so when one "went up for motors" a lot of the theory was revision with a bit more detail on the motor equipment. IIRC it was about four weeks, 2 on Rules and Regs and 2 on Train Eqipment.
There was then an oral exam. IIRC this lasted an hour or more, usually with two people being tested together.
Stock training was with a Trainman's Inspector. Appointment to that grade was on seniority, i.e. the senior suitable applicant got the job. A large part of that training was on a train in the yard where the TI would put on faults and the trainee/s (there was usually more than one) would have to identify the problem and use the appropriate procedure to get the train moving again. All those I encountered were thoroughly professional unlike some people we could mention, no names, no pack drill.
IIRC stock training was usually a week per stock.
Road training was another couple of weeks after which you were examined by an Area Manager (previously a District Inspector) and if you passed that you were a fully qualified Motorman (I doubt there's many left now. ) but only graded as a Guard/Motorman. This was a higher rate of pay than a Guard but lower than Motorman.
After that was your "Sweat Day".
Your first day on the front on your own. Mine was OK, no problems and I had a good bloke on the back with me.
You then carriied on working as a Guard except that you had a "driving day" once a month and got "stepped up" if a Motorman was sick or absent for some other reason. The senior Guard/Motormen could well be on the front permanantly.
Every April there was a Staff Office/Union conflab when all the Motorman's vacancies were filled by sending those who were prepared to move to other depots to get their Motorman's rate. This was known as "travelling for your job". Those who chose not to travel had to wait longer to get the promotion.
At those depots that were short of Motormen the G/Ms who had been on the front for several months (and being paid MMs rate) were displaced by the travellers and one or two weren't too happy.
My home depot was Northfields and I travelled to High Barnet. Some people were lucky and a vacancy came up in the home section (usually the depots at the end on a line) and so they only spent a few weeks away. I was at HB for four months until a vacancy came up at Acton Town. I had a bit of luck not long after 'cause someone at Northfields wanted to move to Acton so we did a mutual.
I've only ever heard of one trick being played on a bloke on his sweat day (and I expect most of similar or older vintage will have heard it as well).
The driver of an eastbound train is due to get off at Wood Green eastbound and knows that the guy relieving him is on his sweat day. As he gets out of the train he hands his relief a bag of fuses.
Were they the fuses that needed to be in place for the train to work or were they a load of spares acquired from the depot or elsewhere? I never heard the answer to that question, but it's not important. I'd have loved to have seen the look on the blokes face when he discovered what was in the bag. ;D
Last Edit: Jul 4, 2005 22:32:28 GMT by piccadillypilot
]So when you changed lines how many days did you get to learn the road? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Usually between 7 & 14 days. On the ELL 5 days. Met men (in my day) definetly got the whole fortnight spread over 3 weeks (not as Irish as it sounds) Met depots then were; Barking, Baker Street, Hammersmith, Neasden, Uxbridge and Rickmansworth
The DR Got 11. The Northern got 10. The Bakerloo 8. Not sure about the others.
My sweat day was a sweat night! I did the last runner which booked on at 17:00. It was winter and dark. Some of the other geezers knew it was my SD so I had some banter and one trick played on me. This was as follows.
Now about that time of evening trains were beginning to stable in Barking sidings after the evening peak and although we were booked on at 17:00 we did not go west until 17:30. All went well and I was just settling down as we left Upney. When we reached about halfway along the length of the sidings near the cable arch there was the most almighty bang and flash. Talk about sh*t yourself? I nearly did.
What had happened was that a crew who had just stabled in Barking yard knew what train I was on and waited accordingly. After train preceding me had passed they quickly put TWENTY detonators on the rails all right next to each other. Ten on each side.
So along comes me at top notch and runs over the explosives which being so close together sounded like one big bang and flash. People living adjacent to the line reported to the police that a bomb had gone off!! This being the time when the IRA were active.
This caused a fuss and I was hoiked off the train at Earls Court westbound to give a report of the occurence to the D.I. HE knew as well as I what had occured and laughed with me over it but said the he was going to try and find the crew responsible and haul them over the coals. Not because they had done it but because they had created all the kerfuffle with the police and army
However although everybody knew who it was we all closed ranks and they never found out the culprits. Oh life was different then.!!
Last Edit: Jul 6, 2005 6:59:10 GMT by piccadillypilot