Zonal Incident Manager, Signal Response
Joined the Underground in September 1990
Qualifications: IRSE, 1.3.170 Signalling Functional Tester; IRSE 1.4.160 Signalling Maintenance Tester; HNC in Management studies
“I’ve worked at LU for over 20 years, ten of them on shifts. Now I work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Signal failures can happen any time though, so my day can start earlier and finish later.”
“I cover signals for all three lines. That means collecting all the relevant signalling information for the last 24 hours – or over the weekend if it’s a Monday – and having it ready for the morning calls between Tube Lines and London Underground. Recently I passed my on-call duty roster interview – something I was really pleased about, as the questions can be on any aspect of the different signalling systems. So I’m now able to cover signalling problems on the three lines out of hours. I do that once every seven weeks for a 24-hour period.
“My biggest challenge since joining was switching the old signalling system off on the Jubilee Line and the Transmission-based Train Control (TBTC) system on, then keeping it running continuously. The work is wide-ranging though, and there’s very good support for staff – from the latest tools and technology to mentoring from managers – plus excellent in-house training. You won’t get better TBTC training in any other school or facility.
“I have worked underground – walking the tunnels and working on disused stations like Down St or the Aldgate branch at Holborn. I’ve also walked the tunnels under the Thames where you can sometimes hear boats passing overhead. Although you might see hardly anyone down there, at times it’s like rush hour with lots of people working in a small area.
“I really enjoyed working shifts as I could plan my time well in advance and do things while other people were still at work. Now my days are 9am to 5pm the work-life balance is still good and it’s not all work, work, work. I’ve been able to train for the London Marathon, running it in under four hours. And I also got an NVQ Level 3 in panel beating and spraying which helped me restore my 1971 Campervan.
“Now we’re part of TfL, I’d like to work on signals on other lines in the next year or two, or in the Tube Lines signalling school. As long as you’re hard-working, enjoy teamwork and have plenty of integrity, there’s plenty to look forward to.”