Thursday 3 Apr 2003


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It wouldn’t suit everyone but Whitehaven couple Gillian and Paul Halcrow reckon they have found their ideal jobs – working for Network Rail in the same signal box on opposite shifts so they hardly see each other!  It may seem a bizarre lifestyle to most people but the couple, who have been happily married for eight years, say it has definite benefits for them. Gillian has been a signaller in St Bees signal box on the Cumbria coast line for 11 years and absolutely loves her job. In fact she thinks it’s so good that when a vacancy came up in the same signal box she persuaded husband Paul to apply for it, coaching him through his exams until he qualified. Paul had previously been a contract worker in Sellafield but with it being contract work there was no stability, unlike being on the payroll at Network Rail, which is actively recruiting signallers. Also, with both Gillian and Paul being at work at the same time, they had to arrange and pay for a child minder to look after children Natalie (seven) and Bradley (five). Now they can save both the hassle of getting child minders to fit round their work patterns and the cost of someone to look after their children. - more - St Bees – 1 The signal box is open from 6.15 in the morning until just after 8.30 at night, so when one of the ‘team’ is on duty the other one is at home looking after the children and doing the chores. At lunchtime when the morning shift comes to a close, they simply swap roles. Said Gillian: “This is the ideal situation for us. We live and work in a beautiful part of the country, we love being signallers and we don’t have to sort out child minders. I would thoroughly recommend the job to others.”

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