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 Unique roles at DB Cargo UK - Rail Week 2020

Read our snippets from people at DB Cargo UK who’s jobs are a little different…

James Clarke - Mentor Train Driver

How did you enter a career with DB Cargo UK?

I started my railway career in May 2002 as a trainee driver at Hither Green, aged 20. I was passed out for driving after my 21st birthday. I had previously completed a four-year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with a precision engineering company. I followed my father's footsteps on to the railway as he was a driver and I felt that this was the natural thing to do.

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What are the main responsibilities within your role?

I work at Hither Green Depot. My main role is a locomotive driver. This involves driving trains which haul a range of different goods across the south-east of England. Our main commodity for haulage is sea-dredged aggregates and engineering trains. I can also be found on UK steel and bottled water trains going to and from the Channel Tunnel. The other part of my job is a mentor driver; this involves working with trainee drivers on the final part of their training course on practical 'train-handling'. It is very rewarding to pass on the skills and knowledge that they will need to become a safe and competent locomotive driver.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

I am very lucky to have been trained up as a steam locomotive fireman and steam locomotive driver. I have worked on some of the world's most famous locomotives such as the Flying Scotsman, Tornado and Clanline. It is hard work on a steam locomotive and a completely different way of working compared to a diesel train. I am glad to be able to keep a part of history going strong so others can see what it was like. I have also had the responsibility of driving the Royal Train on numerous occasions!

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Alyssa Laming - Apprentice Learning and Development Assistant

How did you enter a career with DB Cargo UK?

My dad told me about a vacancy that he thought I’d be interested in.  At the time, I was still in college and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my career, so I applied for the job and was successful!

What are the main responsibilities within your role?

Organising operational training courses for train drivers and groundstaff, checking trainees’ logbooks when they’ve completed their training and assisting our operational instructors.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

I’m introduced to so many people across the country as part of my job and have formed some good relationships from it.  It’s also rewarding knowing you’ve been part of someone’s career journey.


Paul Thomas - Timetable Information Executive, National Rail Communication Centre (NRCC)

How did I enter my career at DB Cargo?

I decided to apply for a role in the National Rail Communication Centre (NRCC) after working for more than two decades in the rail industry.

DB Cargo UK is contracted to run the NRCC which is the UK’s premier provider of real-time travel information for rail passengers. We ensure passengers are kept as up-to-date as possible on all timetable changes, service disruptions and ticket information.

The information gathered by the 25-strong team is distributed by National Rail Enquiries via its website, texts, e-mail alerts and social media.

What are your main responsibilities within your role?

My main role is to collate information from Network Rail and Train Operating Companies regarding advance engineering work and then analyse how rail passenger journeys may be affected. We do this by updating the National Rail Enquires website, informing customers where the engineering work is taking place and where trains are replaced by buses or are diverted. This allows rail users to plan their journeys efficiently.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

Job satisfaction. No two days are the same. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in new, safe working measures being implemented such as working from home. This has proved what teamwork is all about and my colleagues have proved this point. For me, it’s a pleasure to come to work.

Liam Marsh, Planning Delivery Assistant

How did you enter a career with DB Cargo UK?

I got told about the apprenticeship opportunity at DB Cargo UK by an existing colleague. I then researched the company and job opportunity and decided to apply for it online. I went through an interview process and became successful.  

What are the main responsibilities within your role?

The main responsibilities within my role include liaising with different customers each week to take their train orders. I then plan the trains for the customers and produce  diagrams for the drivers who operate these particular trains.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is the variety it gives me on a week-to-week basis; planning different trains each week and ensuring that I do my utmost to satisfy the customers’ orders, whatever they may be.