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Nicholas Jackson


Mobile Operative (Shunter)


Acton Yard - West London Hub

Main duties:

Every day the volume of traffic, the number of duties and priorities along with it fluctuates. However, my prime responsibilities are as follows:

  • Safe train preparation
  • Safe train arrival and dispatch
  • Shunting of rolling stock into correct formations
  • Safety checks on rolling stock, examinations and brake tests
  • Resolving day-to-day operational problems Loading examinations
  • Ensuring consistently high standards of service to our customers

How long have you been with DB Cargo UK?

Since 6th November, 2017

Career path:

After I graduated from the University of Surrey in 2014 I went to work in finance, chiefly in pensions administration. Having found pensions to be not very exciting and having a passion and interest for the railways, I decided to pursue a career in that industry. I worked in control for Govia Thameslink Railway where I was part of a team responsible for the proactive management and analysis of real time train service performance at key Stations along the Govia Thameslink Railway network. Additionally, I have been a volunteer for many years on a Miniature Steam Railway known as the Surrey Society of Model Engineers, I volunteer on all aspects of the railway, operating, maintaining, and working on the construction of projects. I have been driving the public on trains on open days since 2006. Since 2017 I have also been volunteering on the Mid Hants Railway in Hampshire. This is a standard gauge railway and I am a member of the locomotive department where I am aspiring to become a steam locomotive driver. I assist with the preparation, operation, cleaning, maintaining and restoration of the locomotives. Thus, I have had previous railway experience both in industry and on a heritage/voluntary basis which has given me some good exposure to very different forms of railway environment, operation and experience.

What’s it like to work at DB Cargo UK?

The company has one of the most supportive cultures of any company where I have worked. There is a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork in what we do, how we work and it really does make a difference to the workplace and performance. We have a good team here at Acton and there is much I have learnt and can still learn from my experienced colleagues. It is from their experience, mentorship and knowledge that I have gained the ability, skill and indeed confidence to perform in my role. The initial basic training when I first joined the company was also of benefit, regardless of how much you know or think you know about the railway. The shunters course gives one a valuable insight and an understanding from the ground up as to the fundamental workings of both rail freight and the rail industry as a whole. It is this training and experience that I have received so far that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my career.

Would you recommend a career in rail and why?

The best aspects about my role are that every day is different. The fundamental way in which the railway operates, particularly freight, means that there are always operational challenges to overcome, that is the nature of the beast. However, as with all challenges, the best way to tackle them is to get stuck in, engage with what is going on, comprehend the situation and work with your colleagues and resources available to you to get the job done. There is always the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the shift. I take great pride in my line of work and it is both satisfying and fulfilling to come home from work knowing that you made a positive difference to the train flow, company and ultimately the railway’s performance.

I would highly recommend a career in rail to anybody with the slightest interest in working on the railways. The rewards are worth the work, the support and tools are there to help facilitate you to proficiently learn your role and achieve your ambitions on the railway. My ambition is to eventually become a mainline steam train driver and I am working hard to make that vision a reality. It is a very satisfying job and what’s more it is enjoyable as you can physically see the results of your work which can be harder to perceive from a predominantly desk-bound job.