Railway Train Station Staff

The Job and What's Involved

As a member of a team of train station staff, you would deal with customers and carry out duties on the station platforms.

Typical tasks could include:

  • Selling and checking tickets.
  • Making sure that passengers get on and off the train safely.
  • Helping to load and unload luggage.
  • Signalling the guard or driver to depart.
  • Updating message displays showing passenger information.
  • Making passenger announcements.
  • Operating CCTV cameras.
  • Giving out information on services, routes, train times and delays.

In smaller stations, you may have other tasks, such as cleaning or clearing snow and ice off platforms during the winter.

You would usually work 37 to 39 hours a week, in shifts of up to 12 hours covering evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Your time would be split between the information centre or ticket office and the station platforms.

Your employer would provide you with a uniform.

Starting salaries can be around £12,500 a year. Experienced staff can earn from £14,000 to around £21,000.

Free or reduced price travel is sometimes offered as an extra benefit.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

A common way into this career is to apply directly to train operating companies or Network Rail.

Experience of working with the public in a retail or customer service environment could give you an advantage when applying for jobs.

Most jobs are likely to be with train operating companies and companies that run light rail and metro systems (for example the London Underground). You can find a list of train operating companies on the Network Rail website.

Education and Training

Employers will expect you to have a good standard of English and maths, and you may be tested on your maths and communication skills at the interview stage.

You would also have to pass a medical, including fitness, eyesight, colour vision and hearing tests. The safety of rail passengers is crucial, and operating companies have a rigid policy on drug and alcohol abuse. Once you start work you could be tested for drugs or alcohol at any time.

You may be able to get into this career by completing an Apprenticeship with a train operating company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You would usually start your job with a short induction course covering:

- Company rules and procedures
- Safety issues
- Customer service
- Timetables and fares

You would then develop your skills by working alongside experienced station staff on the platform, in the ticket office and in the information centre.

You could work towards NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Rail Services (Passenger Services), or NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Customer Service.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Railway train station staff need:

  • Good communication skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • The ability to remain calm when under pressure.
  • A good memory for timetables, fares and regulations.
  • Good maths skills.
  • A smart appearance.
  • An awareness of health and safety.
  • The ability to work on your own or as part of a team.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could be promoted to senior station assistant, station team supervisor, assistant station manager and eventually station manager. You could also become a ticket inspector and progress to revenue protection officer.

You may have the chance to move into related jobs, such as train guard/conductor or driver, or take up an administration job in the station offices, for example ticket sales and information.

Get Further Information

Network Rail, Kings Place,
90 York Way, London N1 9AG
Website: www.networkrail.co.uk

GoSkills, Concorde House,
Trinity Park, Solihull, Birmingham B37 7UQ
Tel: 0121 635 5520
Website: www.goskills.org

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