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Becoming a signaller

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Becoming a signaller 17/05/2012 at 10:06 #32382
wain77
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Would I be correct in assuming that there is no way to get into signalling (as a paid occupation) without applying for a job through Network Rail? There don't seem to be many signaller jobs coming up on the NR website, and never any in and around London...

Anyone got any ideas/tips?

Thanks!

Sam Wainwright
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Re: Becoming a signaller 17/05/2012 at 15:02 #32386
Steamer
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You could see if London Underground have any jobs going, as far as I know they're separate to Network Rail.
"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Re: Becoming a signaller 17/05/2012 at 16:41 #32388
Sam Tugwell
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The last one I saw "vaguely" near London was Pulborough on the Horsham line. Its worth keeping an eye on the updates though as the jobs tend to go pretty quickly from what I hear.
"Temple Meads Signalman"
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 02:11 #32390
mfcooper
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The only company that employs signallers on the UK rail network is Network Rail. Transport for London (or whatever they might be called at the moment) employ the London Underground ones. I don't know how it works for, say, the Newcastle Metro.

What you don't see are the huge number of internal vacancies listed every week. And because these vacancies are being filled by internal applicants, they don't ever appear on the external website. If you can get any Network Rail job, then you will be able to see these vacancies as they appear.

I know that Victoria Central has recently hired 2 new staff, one of whom was a Signaller at Reigate, and one was an NR staff member from the platforms/or something at St. Pancras.

Just for your info, there is usually at least 1 vancancy listed for the london area at any time on the internal vacancy list.

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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 09:48 #32394
Ron_J
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Island Line employ a very small number of signallers as do a couple of power companies and a few TOCs (controlling certain depot panels and frames). For example, I was at signalling school with a chap who was going to work at Ratcliffe on Soar power station, employed by EDF. These are obviously very niche positions and in practice your only chance of becoming a signaller lies with Network Rail or London Underground.
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 11:30 #32396
Steamer
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Is the Isle of Wight's railway owned by a seperate company? I thought it was still Network Rail.
"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 11:33 #32399
jc92
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" said:
Is the Isle of Wight's railway owned by a seperate company? I thought it was still Network Rail.
its SWT (south west trains) which have responsibility for infastracture, staffing and roling stock, although the engineering side of things is contracted out.

"We don't stop camborne wednesdays"
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 14:28 #32400
Zoe
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Also don't forget NI Railways. Not part of National Rail but still in the UK.
Last edited: 18/05/2012 at 14:30 by Zoe
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 15:49 #32402
wain77
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Thanks everyone for all the ideas and advice, especially Matt C. It looks like my best chance is going to be getting a job, ANY job with NR first, then see if I can get a move across to a box.
Sam Wainwright
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Re: Becoming a signaller 18/05/2012 at 17:40 #32403
GeoffM
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Jobs in London do come up - I remember both Liverpool Street (Anglia and GE) and Victoria being advertised externally within the last couple of years. You can sign up for job alerts but it doesn't seem very reliable as I've independently searched and found jobs that weren't emailed.
SimSig Boss
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Re: Becoming a signaller 19/05/2012 at 02:48 #32408
mfcooper
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In the winter of 2008, I saw multiple vacancies advertised across london, including Victoria, wimbledon and feltham. it has happened a lot more recently, so just keep watching that vacancy screen :-)
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Re: Becoming a signaller 20/05/2012 at 01:01 #32431
UKTrainMan
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" said:
There don't seem to be many signaller jobs coming up on the NR website, and never any in and around London...
Although old now...

Network Rail Signaller - London Bridge

Also, although not an actual signaller job...

Shift Signaller Manager x 3 - London Kings Cross

I believe I had spotted both via an eMail alert, or it may have been via their recruitment system directly. If it was the latter, then I'd probably suggest a weekly or fortnightly check of it.

But I do personally aim to post up such things as I see them, too.

Good luck!

Keeping my current profile picture up until RAIB complete and release their investigation report. #RestInPeace #RIP #RailwayFamily
Last edited: 20/05/2012 at 01:06 by UKTrainMan
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Re: Becoming a signaller 07/09/2012 at 10:17 #35451
svrdan
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There is currently a advertisement for a position in London, so they do come up.
https://ebus2.hiav.networkrail.co.uk/OA_HTML/OA.jsp?OAFunc=IRC_VIS_VAC_DISPLAY&p_svid=605482&p_spid=6441376&refsh=0

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Re: Becoming a signaller 07/09/2012 at 10:39 #35453
svrdan
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On the topic of "Becoming a Signaller" What would people on here say be the best way to Become a Signaller for Network Rail?? Over the course of the summer, i have been looking into the possibility of when i finish University, in May/June of next year, of becoming a signaller

I have had a educational life so far, so not having done paid work in my past slightly worries me on that part but have volunteered at 2 railways thus far, including my current position as "Assistant Controller/Blockman", giving an insight to how things work, would that be an advantage or disadvantage in going for this area and role?
Ive bean reading on loads of forums about the train driver selection process being a process that is very slow, would you say the process is the same for the role of signaller with it (in my opinion) being alongside the train driver role as the most crucial safety cited role?
If it be the same process (time wise), when would be the best time be to apply for a position? (If one comes up?)

And on the recruitment process itself, im sure that you complete your application, then i think you do the automated communications test before the assessment centre, assuming you pass everything in the process?

This might sound like a lecture of some sort but in general, im just looking into this as it is something i would love to get into as a career and would love just some ideas of how the selection process works and if there are any tips and guidance that might be there for not just me but for anyone looking to get into the industry e.t.c?

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Re: Becoming a signaller 07/09/2012 at 15:21 #35460
mikesmith83uk
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srvdan: Have you considered submitting an application for the Network Rail graduate scheme? There are numerous sectors you can apply for but I think there is one in particular that covers signalling although you rotate through other placements as well. At the end of the scheme you apply to roles within the company, I know of a couple of graduates entered the scheme with the intention of becoming managers but enjoyed signalling so much they applied to become signallers.

Don't worry about not having paid employment, your voluntary work and experience on a railway will certainly stand out to recruiters! Employers tend to focus upon the skills such as handling a stressful situation and what you did in order to resolve it and achieve the best possible outcome. If you aren't successful in getting on the grad scheme, then applying and getting a job for any entry role at Network Rail is the best level of entry as you will have access to the internal vacancies list and learn about the company whilst on the job.

Also the booklet "a day in the life of a signaller" is really useful material, I think it's available as a download on the website but if not then write to the company who will gladly send you a copy.

Any further questions then just ask!

p.s. get an eye test to ensure that your colour vision isn't defective prior to applying for a signalling role, it's a no brainer but candidates in the past have been unaware they don't have colour perception and they're applications have been terminated following a medical.

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Re: Becoming a signaller 07/09/2012 at 16:23 #35465
Late Turn
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" said:
On the topic of "Becoming a Signaller" What would people on here say be the best way to Become a Signaller for Network Rail?? Over the course of the summer, i have been looking into the possibility of when i finish University, in May/June of next year, of becoming a signaller

I can only recommend applying for anything (appropriate) that comes up externally - including crossing keeper jobs. There seem to be quite a lot of fixed-term contracts at the moment (as resignalling continues!), but it's well worth going for one of these if you're not having to give up a more secure job to do so - most (if they're any good) seem to manage to successfullyapply internally for a permanent job quite quickly, especially if you're willing to move about a bit.
Quote:
I have had a educational life so far, so not having done paid work in my past slightly worries me on that part but have volunteered at 2 railways thus far, including my current position as "Assistant Controller/Blockman", giving an insight to how things work, would that be an advantage or disadvantage in going for this area and role?

I don't think your lack of 'work' experience will be a disadvantage, as long as you can use your heritage railway experience (mixed in with a bit of 'life experience'to come up with scenarios to discuss in the interview - as above, they're more worried about your ability to maintain concentration (and work shifts), work under pressure, plan and communicate than they are about previous job titles. Whether your railway experience will be an advantage or not really depends on the views (and previous experiences!) of the manager concerned - I wouldn't push the technical aspect of it too much though, but concentrate on the more general skills it's given you. If you do get a manager who appreciates what heritage railways are about, you can then bring a bit more of that in at the interview.
Quote:
Ive bean reading on loads of forums about the train driver selection process being a process that is very slow, would you say the process is the same for the role of signaller with it (in my opinion) being alongside the train driver role as the most crucial safety cited role?
If it be the same process (time wise), when would be the best time be to apply for a position? (If one comes up?)

It took me three or four months from applying for the job to starting signalling school, though I had previously passed the telephone test and the assessment day. It should have been nearer six months, but my start date was brought forward at very short notice (and only with my agreement, because I could arrange it with my previous employer). I don't think there'd be any harm in starting to apply for jobs early next year, as long as you make it clear that you can't start until June-ish.
Quote:
And on the recruitment process itself, im sure that you complete your application, then i think you do the automated communications test before the assessment centre, assuming you pass everything in the process?

That's how it worked for me, then I went for the interview very soon after the assessment day (in fact, I'd already received my invite to interview by then, 'pending assessment pass'.
Quote:
This might sound like a lecture of some sort but in general, im just looking into this as it is something i would love to get into as a career and would love just some ideas of how the selection process works and if there are any tips and guidance that might be there for not just me but for anyone looking to get into the industry e.t.c?

I'd agree that it's a great career to get into, and I'd wish you all the best with it! I don't know if there's anything else I can suggest, but I'm sure I can give you some more specific advice for the assessment and interview when the time comes (bearing in mind that I'm sure there'll have been changes by then!). Really take the time to put together a cracking application form though.

Regarding the graduate scheme, I think you can apply specifically to 'operations', but you might end up managing a station rather than managing Signalmen! I don't know how much opportunity there is to steer your own career path down your preferred route. I know they do rotate through the other parts of the business too. I don't think it'd be my cup of tea, as it's far more about management, politics and pleasing the powers that be than it is about signalling! I ought to declare that I did apply for it and get turned down three or four years ago, but I don't let that affect my judgement as I genuinely do think that I'm far better off now.

Finally, the 'day in the life of a signaller' document should be available for download here - click on "guide and self assessment".

Good luck!

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Becoming a signaller 26/12/2012 at 20:10 #39691
quickthorn
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Hello,

Thanks for all the useful info posted on here so far.

I was wondering how important age is. I'm 50 now, so would I have much chance of getting a foot in the door as a signaller?

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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 00:07 #39696
Knockpiker
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Go for it - I applied at 52 & was working a single shift box on the S&C in 6 months. However, I might have been lucky.
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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 00:10 #39697
jc92
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" said:
Hello,

Thanks for all the useful info posted on here so far.

I was wondering how important age is. I'm 50 now, so would I have much chance of getting a foot in the door as a signaller?
certainly from a legal point of view, i dont think NR can choose not to employ you on age grounds, providing you pass all the initial tests to a satisfactory standard

"We don't stop camborne wednesdays"
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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 01:14 #39698
quickthorn
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Thanks for the replies. Good to know I'm not totally over the hill just yet.

I'm also interested in the chances of moving to something permanent if I were to take on a temporary fixed term contract. I've seen a few for crossing keepers that would be until August 2013, and they may be a foot in the door. My issue is that I do a seasonal job through Summer anyway as a groundsman at a school, but if I chucked this in, I wouldn't get back in. I like the job, but it only pays £15 k pro rata (this is actually good for this sort of seasonal work - normally it's NMW). There hasn't been a proper pay rise in years, so the pay is going down in real terms, and getting more training and qualifications in this line of work may not result in a better paid job.

I'm sure I'd find a signalling job interesting, and the extra pay above what I get now would be welcome, but the list of boxes due to be closed soon is long, so I'm worried about being in a long queue for an ever decreasing number of positions...

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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 11:02 #39704
Stephen Fulcher
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There would be nothing to stop you applying for any job within Network Rail (not just signalling) once you were employed by the company, and there are usually hundreds advertised on the internal site at any time, even though lots of them are for management positions in Milton Keynes where the title does not really explain what the job is.

There are signallers being taken on "off the street" quite regularly still.

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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 13:22 #39716
SPADmad
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Im about to choose my options for GCSE's. What are the best ones I should choose to become a signaller or driver?
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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 16:38 #39721
svrdan
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Im sure that qualifications are not that important although, they do help you i personally think in terms of gaining the skills. Always remember to look at the job description for whatever role at Network Rail for what they are looking for and see what you can do for GCSE that can achieve those skills. For example, im in my final year at uni doing Theatre, Film and TV studies which make you think methodically and im hoping that can help when i start applying for things next month.

On a personal note, i think its a good time to put your foot in the door now, as people have said, signal boxes haven't hot much time left and for a career, it would be perfect to go up the grades from a crossing keeper, to AB Signalboxes, onto PSB`S and eventually onto IECC`s etc.

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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 17:01 #39725
John
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Take a look at this vacancy at York:

https://ebus2.hiav.networkrail.co.uk/OA_HTML/OA.jsp?OAFunc=IRC_VIS_VAC_DISPLAY&p_svid=664982&p_spid=6491144&refsh=0

As you'll see there are no requirements for GCSE's specified, but good communication skills are vital and you'll have to be able to pass assessments.

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Becoming a signaller 27/12/2012 at 17:18 #39726
SPADmad
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thanks a lot - in a few years time hopefully ill be at Leeds training school!
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