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Working Time: Rest Breaks

Current and future British signalling (UK except Northern Ireland)

Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Mad Mac » Fri Feb 9, 2018 4:53 am

Mike Hodgson wrote:
The other downside to damping down the stove was that if you didn't do it right, there sometimes wasn't a box there when the next bloke rolled up for his shift.


Which is pretty much what happened at Largs.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby LlaniGraham » Fri Feb 9, 2018 2:51 pm

John Hinson wrote:
LlaniGraham wrote:I would suggest that the time the people above are mentioning the Laws of the land were rather different to now. Whether you like it or not an employer has to abide by modern, current Laws.

Of course! We both understand that. I think what we are both trying to say is that those "modern, current laws" are a bit namby-pamby for all circumstances.

Unfortunately in the "modern" world flexibility is not a word. There are a lot of perks that come with the job and in recognition of that I didn't mind (for example) entering an icy cold box on a Monday morning and lighting a fire which might not warm up to the "legal" temperature until half-way through the day. We didn't call it team-work in those days but there was much more of it then than since those words were adopted.

John


Perhaps I have a different attitude to the current Laws on Health & Safety to you then John, having just got a pre-Court hearing settlement in a case against NR.
I am very glad the Laws are what they are.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Fri Feb 9, 2018 9:36 pm

To be fair to everyone,the railway we knew and loved in BR days has gone. Misdemeanours no longer end in a rant from the Old Man and mickey taking from your mates. It's all paperwork and investigations. Part of the contribution that can lead to a mistake is fatigue. Whilst some boxes have time between trains that allow for "natural breaks" many do not. Being stuck at a panel or VDU can be intensive and possibly tiring. Theoretically in a panel or ROC it's not unfeasable to be relieved for a break but I see in this thread it's now happening in some normal boxes too! If the case is won NR must be expected to adhere to it whether gate box or ROC. Let's hope they don't abuse it like some TOCs do i.e. rostered break at the start of shift etc.
As for lighting the stove on a Monday morning are there any coal stoves still in use on NR? Last one I remember down my way was Honiton and that was only for burning the rubbish!
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby John Hinson » Fri Feb 9, 2018 10:29 pm

LlaniGraham wrote:Perhaps I have a different attitude to the current Laws on Health & Safety to you then John

Life would be very boring if we were all made the same. :o)

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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby JRB » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:00 am

There were still coal stoves at the two Banbury boxes till their recent closure.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby S&TEngineer » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:55 am

Both John and myself were not suggesting that current laws shouldn't be adhered to. Certainly on my part, I wouldn't want to go back to working the hours I did then back in the early 1970s. I think the hint is that peoples constitution was much better in those 'good old days' compared with today and that there was still a 'company spirit' that wanted to keep the job going.

I'll go and have a rest now...... :roll:
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Danny252 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:41 pm

Ashley Hill wrote:Let's hope they don't abuse it like some TOCs do i.e. rostered break at the start of shift etc.

That sounds as if it would be a fairly easy case for someone to win, given that it's relatively easy to find official sources that state explicitly that this is not acceptable (e.g. https://www.gov.uk/rest-breaks-work/taking-breaks ).
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby LlaniGraham » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:49 pm

S&TEngineer wrote:Both John and myself were not suggesting that current laws shouldn't be adhered to. Certainly on my part, I wouldn't want to go back to working the hours I did then back in the early 1970s. I think the hint is that peoples constitution was much better in those 'good old days' compared with today and that there was still a 'company spirit' that wanted to keep the job going.

I'll go and have a rest now...... :roll:


To which my retort would be that there is still very much a team spirit amongst the signalling staff I knew and worked with (in a mechanical area), and we wanted to get the job done and keep it running. And I heard the same comments from friends at SWCC
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby scarpa » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:43 pm

This might be fine with large staffed signal control places of today but days gone by signalman would endeavour to find a quiet time if at all. Nothing was more satisfying than taking a bite of a corn beef sandwich and getting up to answer the block bells and rapidly pulling off for a train! We have now reached the state of madness in the industry where it is now prohibited to cross 4 tracks to a place of safety I add without filling in a piece of paper.I see staff lineside quivering its unbelievable if a train is approaching.True we have zero deaths safest in the world the goal has been reached.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Ashley Hill » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:17 pm

Yes things were different in the 70s. No Hidden,little H&S interference, no red/green zone malarkey etc etc and the wages were lower. RD work was abundant and by working more Sunday's than a vicar you could walk away from the pay window on a Thursday with a fat wallet. Today wages are better and responsibility greater and a wrong move could see you suspended or sacked or in court.
I've forgone my PNB (physical needs break) to keep the trains moving many times but would the company thank me for it if I had an incident? On our report forms several questions refer to when did you last have a break, how far were you into your turn and when did you last eat or drink? So your break is seen as important (when it suits).
Perhaps I didn't make it clear about a break at the start of your shift. Traincrew wise you could book on and then travel to say...Bristol. Then be rostered your PNB. After you would work commuter trains around the area until eventually working back to your own depot and having another rostered PNB before booking off. Naturally most people went straight home. Thankfully the LDC became wise to that abuse. It must also be remembered that"natural breaks"are not rostered and cannot be claimed unlike a PNB.
Sadly the Banbury boxes like Honiton are memories. Are there still any coal stoves in use in a open NR box. (Feel free to start a new thread boss)
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby scarpa » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:37 am

These signalmen are remarkable the mention of keeping a coal burning fire maintained carrying coal up a steps ,cleaning the signalbox and maintaining a train register no easy task you realise they have to be fully attentive the moment they came on duty to the time they are relieved. A lot of good things have happened the abolition of staff returning after 8 hours to start another shift ,and improved work rosters.
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby John Hinson » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:46 am

Ashley Hill wrote: I've forgone my PNB (physical needs break) to keep the trains moving many times but would the company thank me for it if I had an incident? On our report forms several questions refer to when did you last have a break, how far were you into your turn and when did you last eat or drink? So your break is seen as important (when it suits).

Well, in those "good old days" I refer to (which were of course not perfect) I had a letter thanking me for working a sixteen hour shift. How lucky you were to have a PNB. We didn't get them even in single-manned panel boxes at the London end of the West Coast Main Line yet curiously enough we didn't have our legs crossed all day, nor starve. In fact at one of those boxes the SM used to tick the signalmen off if he found time them reading the paper.

One thing I did learn was that everybody thought their box was busy, even if they only had one train an hour, but none of them really realised what it was like to do a job like a driver and need to devote 100% attention for long periods.

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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby tjc » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:55 pm

scarpa wrote: Nothing was more satisfying than taking a bite of a corn beef sandwich and getting up to answer the block bells and rapidly pulling off for a train!

Each to their own, but one of the most irritating things I find about my job is when as the Tester in Charge, you think you've escaped to the welfare facilities for 20 minutes leaving the staff to carry on with the testing, just sit down with something to eat, and then the phone rings and something else has cropped up which you have to deal with.

I sometimes think they do it on purpose!
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Re: Working Time: Rest Breaks

Unread postby Chris Rideout » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:52 am

John Hinson wrote:It really makes me wonder how I am still alive! Twelve hour shifts for six days and a double-round on Sunday or Monday - that's a double shift for one of the two involved, with only eight hours break between turns for both. Not a day off for weeks on end.

It really makes me feel sorry for the stress people suffer today.

John

Not just today! In the 1970s I was covering duties at Botley (a fringe box to Eastleigh panel) where you would do:

Sat 22:00 - 06:00
Sun 18:00 - 06:00
Mon 14:00 - 22:00

This would be followed by late duties all week. The following week would see Saturday finishing at 22:00 and Sunday starting at 06:00 for 12 hours. Bring a sleeping bag if you did not live just round the corner. The time off was at the weekend after the early shifts (Sat 14:00 - Mon 22:00). True, there were periods of non-working during the shifts but you were still officially on duty.
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