Greater Anglia is a train operating company in Great Britain owned as a joint venture by Abellio, the international arm of the state-owned Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen, and the Japanese company Mitsui. AGA operates public transport services in the UK and Europe, with both bus and rail networks.
Carlisle has been working with Abellio Greater Anglia to provide Rail Replacement Co-ordinators, Bus Pilots (driver support navigators) and Operational Supervisors for their London Underground and London/Surrey team who support the Greater Anglia network between Liverpool Street and Norwich. By the very nature of the services provided, this involves deploying a total of 48 personnel to remote sites across London (and outside on occasion) to exceed the requirements of the standard working timetable. In specific terms, this has often meant coordinating and providing multiple modes of transportation, as part of
our logistics plan, to ensure coverage from 03:30hrs to 02:00hrs. The most recent projects requiring our support took place over a five-week period, with similar, smaller projects generally lasting from between four and eight days at a time, when the requirement for support is closer to 30 people each day.
There is also a requirement for lone working protocols – including regular check calls from our 24/7 control room and regular visits from our mobile Supervisors – to be built into these operational plans as part of the overall logistics consideration referenced in relation to our transportation plan.
Pre-deployment training of these personnel involves both classroom-based learning and ‘on site’ practical skills tests. Briefings are delivered on a one-to-one basis by our Duty Supervisors when they will also ensure that all employees are carrying appropriate paperwork to the role and are adhering to the mandatory health and safety briefing for the activities, they are due to undertake.
Once deployed to their sites, all our people are briefed to actively engage with Station Managers and their teams, local shopkeepers and other stakeholders to ensure that, in addition to their ‘core duties’, they have the local knowledge to answer any questions that may come their way from disappointed and disgruntled passengers.
Results and Benefits
With most of the individuals assigned to these roles having vast experience of high foot-fall operations from their work as part of our ‘Events’ team – working at places such as Lords Cricket Ground and Tottenham Hotspur FC, where we typically deploy between 50 and 250 people per match – we benefit from the kind of innovative thinking to solve unexpected issues that can only come from facing similar challenges previously.
This ranges from the mundane, such as learning which of the local restaurants have toilet facilities for passengers who can’t access the station whilst they wait for their replacement bus/coach to depart, to the more dynamic – ringing ahead to the customer services manager at a destination station to request additional facilities and to ensure staff are on hand to assist a passenger travelling with mobility problems.