Operations (Guard, Crossing Keeper & Signalman)
The Operations department is more varied departments, supplying the staff that physically bringing the railway to life in their rostered duties. On any given running day the railway requires all of the following:
- Crossing Keeper
- Travelling Ticket Inspector
Each has an important role to play helping the railway run smoothly. A Crossing Keeper operates either Cheddleton or Apesford Crossings, ensuring the crossing is protected from road users to allow the train to pass through safely. This position is further utilised as the training position for the post of Signalman, providing individuals the chance to get used to the operational environment in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Once you have completed a couple of turns as Crossing Keeper, you will be invited to shadow the Signalman learning the more complex operations of working our two signal boxes, Consall and Leek Brook. In the Signal Box you will learn the operation of the levers, that allow you to set the route for trains and signal them accordingly – ensuring that there is only ever one train in a single section of line at any one time. Once this is done the train should move as directed, and your next involvement will be collecting and issuing the correct signal tokens and/or staff, which is a physically piece of equipment giving a driver authority to enter a section of railway line with their train. Upon completion of this, the final task is to communicate with your fellow signalmen and any operational staff, so that the location for all trains are known at all times. Once a movement is completed you reset your levers, and await to start the process all again for the next train.
Guard and Traveling Ticket Inspector
The Guard is one of the most important roles on the railway, being in-charge of the train itself and all of its’ consist; be it goods or passengers. The guard will normally be the first member of staff onsite (after any steam crews) and their first task is to prepare their train, checking the batteries and electrics are working correctly, that the water tanks for the toilets are full, all doors are in a fit state for service and the on-board intercom is working correctly. After full inspection of the train is completed any noted repairs are recorded, the final task is to check your tail lamp is serviceable for your booked duty. During your day you will keep an eye on all aspects of your train, being the first port of call for any passenger queries onboard whilst also ensuring your train remains in a fit state for service. You will also assist with any shunt moves during the day, be that the operation of signalling ground frames, coupling/uncoupling rail vehicles and providing guidance assistance to drivers through hand signals or radio communication.