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I’m at that time again. That time where I want everyone to just go away and leave me in peace to trundle around on trains. Or zoom as the case may be. This is not a good time.

I mentally label this the toddler/teenager part of training. For weeks now I’ve had a variety of trainers and instructors with me all day and every day telling me what to do and when to do it. And now I’d just like them to go away and let me get on with things. This is both good and bad because obviously the company wants drivers who feel confident about their ability to deal with the line but at the same time I don’t want to take a road test too soon or I’m likely to mess up sooner rather than later. It’s perfectly possible to perform well on the day and then two weeks later come upon a situation that you’ve either forgotten how to deal with or somehow didn’t learn in the first place. Getting the balance between ability and confidence is tricky for all concerned. Currently I want to shout ‘NO’ and suck my thumb when presented with another training day but I also know that I will certainly benefit from being babysat while I drive. Once you pass out you’re pretty much looking out for yourself while on the road.

It’s not just about wanting to escape the training. It’s also about wanting my peaceful job back. From the outside, driving a train probably doesn’t seem that peaceful. There are throngs of people on platforms and trains roll in and out very frequently and zoom off at speed. But that’s all from the perspective of the back of the train. From up front it’s quiet and still. I rarely have to interact with others when I’m driving and to be honest I often don’t notice the passengers much. About the most notice I take is whether I feel there is something too close to the edge of the platform as I enter. And even then I’m considering it more as a potential obstruction than a real live person I could talk to. People just aren’t a big feature of my job.

Of course now this is very different as there are a bunch of other trainees around all the time. While it’s nice to go through with a group this is very different to when I trained on my original line and it was just me. It’s useful to bounce ideas around and there are plenty of times when someone will pipe up with an issue which I’d never have thought of and which generates a very useful discussion. I also found it useful yesterday when I was out with an instructor and another trainee. We took it in turns to drive and it was nice to just relax and watch someone else doing the job while they were given information – and of course I learned a lot by just being able to take a step back. But still, I’d like some quiet time at work again.

Tune in next month for my lament on having forgotten everything and how much I wish I was back in training! 😉