West somerset railway association
WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY
INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS
Motive Power - Locomotive Department INTRODUCTION:
The Locomotive Department is under the control of the Chief Mechanical
Engineer (CME) and assists him with the cleaning of engines and the supply of drivers and fireman to operate the locomotives.
Any engineering skills are in great demand assisting with the restoration or overhaul of the locomotive fleet.
Progression is made through grades of cleaner, passed cleaner, fireman, passed fireman and eventually driver. All promotion is subject to ability, selection, examination, fitness and vacancy in any particular grade.
The Railway also runs a number of ex-BR diesel locomotives and diesel multiple units.
There is a requirement to give a minimum of 15 turns annually. GENERAL DUTIES:
These are varied but could include:
Early starts (06.30 or even 04.30 on special events) to light up the loco and prepare it and raise steam for the days work.
Disposal of the locomotive at the end of the day
You will need to be physically fit – work on the footplate is hard, hot and dirty for most of the time. You will also need strength and stamina and be prepared to do some real physical work.
There are medical standards for all footplate crew members:
Good colour vision and eyesight (Ishiara test)
Good hearing Normal blood pressure
Heart/Lungs normal No history of fits, blackouts or diabetes
Fully functional and agile limbs No back problems
Age limits also apply. Realistically it will take two or three years to become a passed cleaner/fireman and seven to ten years to become a driver, so don’t leave it too late. Drivers currently retire at 65 years or 70 years at the Company Boards’ discretion on yearly medical. Firemen retire at 70 years subject to yearly medicals.
Own transport is essential, as is reliable timekeeping.
Everyone starts as an engine cleaner. We meet throughout the year at
Minehead every other Saturday where we clean engines from 08.30 to 16.30.
This an extremely dirty job so old clothes, overalls and a pair of steel toe capped safety boots are essential.
When cleaning you will learn all the various parts of an engine and railway knowledge will slowly build up.
Firing school is held once a month on one of the Saturday cleaning days and the afternoon is spent in the classroom where theory sessions and examinations take place. Having attended four cleaning sessions you will earn a Footplate Knowledge trip, travelling with an experienced driver and
fireman to start acquiring practical experience. Subject to vacancy and satisfactory progress being made, both theoretical and practical, selection for formal training as a Fireman takes place. When the training standard is reached technical, practice and rules exams are taken and on passing them the volunteer is promoted to ‘Passed Cleaner’. This is still a ‘Cleaner’ grade but the volunteer is qualified and can act as a Fireman when required. Having spent two years acting as a Fireman you are selected and examined to become a ‘Fireman’. The grade of Fireman is an important one, as you will gain experience in all aspects of firing and footplate work. If you perform these duties in a professional manner with the right attitude to may then be selected for Driver Training. After sufficient training turns have been completed and when the standard for Drive is achieved, you will again be examined and if successful, promoted to ‘Passed Fireman’ who is qualified and can as a Drive when required. Eventually, subject to satisfactory performance and suitability, selection and promotion to Driver takes place.
All promotion is subject to ability, attitude, selection, examination and
vacancy in any particular grade.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Please telephone Andrew Forster 01643 700389
HOW TO APPLY:
By telephoning the New Volunteer Co-ordinator on 01823 433856 leaving
Your name and address, or
By downloading the on-line application form and posting to the address on the
form, or Completing the form on-line and emailing it t
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