Railway train guards may also be known as conductors,
customer service inspectors or train managers. Their
work routines vary between long distance,
local/suburban, and metro/light rail trains. It is not now
common for guards to be placed on freight trains.
The main task of guards is to walk through the
carriages checking, clipping and selling tickets. They also
answer passengers' questions and give advice on arrival
times, connections and routes. They may also have to
carry out safety and customer comfort checks prior to
the start of a train journey.
announcements to passengers and may also be
responsible for opening and closing the train doors via
remote control. In addition, train guards ensure that
passengers get on or off the train safely and will take
necessary action if anyone falls ill or there is an accident.
A guard on a freight train would inspect the
load for safety and security. Both drivers and guards
have to make written reports of any unusual event
occurring during each freight train journey.
Train guards normally work 37 hours a week. Working
shifts and overtime is common; this could include
weekends, evenings and nights. Guards on long
distance journeys may be required to stay overnight at
the end of a journey.
A guard’s base on a train
may be a small compartment from which they can signal
and talk to the driver, make announcements, and apply
the emergency brake.
Train guards wear a
uniform supplied by the employer.
Railway Train Guard Related Skills
To be a train guard, you should:
- have a
pleasant manner and smart appearance
- have a
good memory for regulations, safety procedures, fares
- have some knowledge of railway
- have good communication skills for
talking to passengers
- have a clear speaking
voice for making passenger announcements
able to accept responsibility and work without
- be able to handle pressure and react
in a calm, reassuring manner
- be able to deal
appropriately with difficult and angry passengers
- have good numeracy skills for handling cash and
- have good eyesight, with or without
- have normal colour vision.
Railway Train Guard Career Opportunities
There are opportunities for employment with the 13
passenger Train Operating Companies (TOCs), a number
of freight companies, and underground/light rail/metro
companies. Some TOCs operate routes spanning the
country - others operate at regional or local levels.
As a train guard, you may be able to gain more
responsibility by moving from light rail and local routes to
long distance trains or by changing employers.
Job opportunities are regularly available on some
routes but are reducing elsewhere due to the trend
towards driver-only trains, especially on light rail
systems. Guards are often considered as potential
candidates for trainee driver vacancies. Guards may also
move to revenue protection inspector or in to
There are more
opportunities available in complex, busy networks such
as London and the south-east of England.