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The magazine for our people

June 2020

CORONAVIRUS: STAYING ALERT AND CARING ABOUT OTHERS

STAYING SAFE AND KEEPING BRITAIN CONNECTED


WELCOME AND NEWS

CONTRIBUTOR’S WELCOME Ross Pike, trespass and welfare officer, Wessex route

While the pandemic has been going on and people have been staying at home, I’ve remained at Pokesdown station, helping the passengers who still have to use public transport. My role means I’m there to help them feel safe. Find out what this involves on pages six and seven. Phil Maggs, programme manager, spoke to Network about his first-hand experience of coronavirus. You can read how it affected him and his family on pages 10 and 11. Network Rail colleagues Mindy Athwal and Becky Best have been using some of their previous experience to help out the NHS as volunteers. Read the full story on pages four and five. Network Rail is changing how it measures success, with a new scorecard based around the things that matter most to those we serve, starting with our vision of putting passengers first. Find out more on page 19.

In the spotlight Dr Rossa Donovan, head of environment and sustainability Friday 5 June was World Environment Day – the United Nations’ day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. The theme for 2020 was biodiversity. As one of the biggest landowners in Britain, Network Rail has an important role to play in helping halt, and reverse, the decline of the nation’s biodiversity. Our 52,000 hectares of land provide a range of habitats where rare and important species can thrive. We pledged to work with the business and the wider industry to achieve no net loss in biodiversity on Network Rail land by 2024 and net gain by 2040 at the latest. Network Rail’s five regions have also made their own pledges – you can find these on MyConnect.

Get in touch: June 2020 View online: tinyurl.com/y74oykzm Published by: The internal communications team and beetroot. www.beetroot.co.uk Network is a carbon neutral publication printed on 130gsm 100% recycled stock. Do your bit and recycle Network.

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internalcommunications @networkrail.co.uk On the cover: Network Rail continues to serve the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. Disclaimer: Photography featured in Network has been specially commissioned and undertaken in a place of safety. Always be aware of your surroundings and do your part in making sure you and your colleagues get Home Safe Every Day.

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WELCOME AND NEWS

NETWORK KNOWLEDGE

What’s making news across the business

Staying informed The Coronavirus information hub on MyConnect is the place to find information to support Network Rail colleagues through the Coronavirus pandemic. The hub is easy to find on the MyConnect homepage or by scanning this QR code. Need support getting onto MyConnect? Visit the page for colleagues on the Network Rail website for all the information for living and working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic: www.networkrail.co.uk/coronavirus-information-for-our-staff

Face coverings The Government has announced that from 15 June it will be mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport in England. As the lockdown eases, passenger numbers are expected to rise and there will be an increased chance that passengers and staff are unable to maintain 2 metre social distancing. This move will help protect both passengers and staff and give them confidence whilst travelling and working on the network. Norrie Courts, director of stations, Network Services, said: “Network Rail and the government are urging passengers to do the right thing, helping to protect each other and fight the virus. Passengers who ignore the advice can be refused travel and may face penalties. “Effective immediately, Network Rail is asking all colleagues working on stations – including contract staff, members of the supply chain and maintenance staff to wear a face covering in areas open to the travelling public. Network Rail will provide colleagues working in these environments with masks or visors for this purpose. In addition, any colleagues visiting a managed station will be required to wear a mask or visor. Network Rail will be working closely with staff and unions to ensure that face coverings are comfortable and working arrangements support their use.”

Late May bank holiday works Network Rail colleagues carried out a programme of 490 projects over the late May bank holiday weekend (Saturday 23 – Monday 25 May) to keep Britain connected , with all projects completed on time. In line with Government advice, maintenance and upgrade work on the railway continues where public health guidelines can be adhered to, or where work is critical to the operation of the railway, so that the railway is at its best when the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Network Rail has implemented a series of measures to keep colleagues safe while working. For those that carry out roles where social distancing cannot always be achieved, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is being supplied.

>>> Read these articles in full, plus more, on MyConnect <<< NETWORK

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PROUD TO WORK FOR NETWORK RAIL

From compassion to action Network Rail colleagues selflessly volunteer to support NHS

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Since the NHS put out a call for volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people have signed up to help, including Network Rail colleagues Mindy Athwal and Becky Best. Both have spent numerous hours volunteering for the NHS, helping critical workers in this time of need.

Compelled to help Mindy Athwal, risk and value analyst (enhancements), North West and Central (NW&C), began volunteering for the NHS in March for two different hospitals. When she saw the severity of the crisis and the impact it had on the NHS and its staff, and with experience in the medical field, she felt compelled to help. Mindy said: “My mother and a few other family members work at one of the hospitals where I volunteer, so I knew that the environment was stressful. I have clinical experience due to studying a medical-related degree at university, so I was contacted by the NHS to see if I could return to help, as I had the required skills.” Mindy’s volunteering consists of administering injections, taking blood samples from patients, overseeing patient feeds – both manually or via Becky

Mindy

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drip – and spending time with the patients who aren’t allowed visitors whilst they’re battling the virus.

A sense of hope Amid the chaos, there’s been time for happier moments. Mindy said: “The best part of volunteering was when I was on the maternity ward, working in the delivery suite. “Amongst all the panic and tragedy we were seeing elsewhere in the hospital and across the UK, a new born baby arriving gave us a sense of hope. It was refreshing, and a heart-warming experience.” Mindy has been reaching out to her network and asking people to submit drawings, poems or words of encouragement that she can give to patients who are unable to see their loved ones. She said: “During this situation, patients are not allowed visitors or even food from home, so they feel really demotivated and disheartened. I’m hoping we can bring at least a smile or something new to their day.”

Wanted to give back Becky, human resources (HR) administrator, Route Services, has been volunteering for St John Ambulance for the past three years, covering First Aid posts at football matches, carnivals and marathons, but Government guidelines on social distancing and the cancellation of large events meant this has come to a halt. When she heard that St John Ambulance was supporting the NHS in April, without a second thought Becky signed up for extra training to get ready for a hospital environment. She said: “I’m incredibly grateful for what the NHS do and wanted to give back to them for all the times my family and friends have turned to them for help.” Becky gets involved as soon as a patient enters accident and emergency (A&E) until they leave -

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National Volunteers’ Week Monday 1 – Sunday 7 June. Mindy and Becky are just two of the 4,479 Network Rail colleagues who volunteered a staggering 57,913 hours through Network Rail’s volunteer leave scheme to support charities and communities in the last year. So far, 56 colleagues have signed up to the urgent appeal via Network Rail’s Call to Arms app and 38 colleagues have applied for up to five days’ leave through Oracle as either an NHS responder, Scotland Cares volunteer or other coronavirus crisis support in their community. Colleagues have also been submitting ideas on ways Network Rail can help the nation to the Transport Task Force group on Yammer.

observing their respiratory system, pulse, blood pressure and doing their electrocardiogram (ECG). This helps doctors and nurses build a picture on what could be happening internally.

Brighten someone’s day Both Mindy and Becky plan to continue volunteering. Mindy said: “If I can help brighten someone’s day, or help reduce the pressure for NHS staff, I would be more than happy to do so. It is amazing how much difference a cup of tea and a brief chat can have for a patient.” For Becky, there’s no doubt in her mind that she’ll continue volunteering. She said: “St John Ambulance will always be a big part of my life in anything I do with them. I volunteered with them before the outbreak of coronavirus, and will continue to do so.” n JUNE 2020


P U T T I N G PA S S E N G E R S F I R S T

Nice to meet you, officer

Wessex route’s trespass and welfare officers are helping passengers whose journeys are necessary Though the public have been asked to currently only travel if necessary, there are still passengers using the rail network to get to their jobs – and where there are passengers, there are Network Rail colleagues available to help. Ross Pike is a trespass and welfare officer at Pokesdown station on the Wessex route in the Southern region. He said: “It’s been quiet, but there are still people who have to travel. At 08:30 there would usually be 100 people on platform one, but at the moment it’s only about five. “Being out here in the pandemic, you just have to try and remain calm. The passengers are a bit worried too, travelling in all this, so – observing social distancing – I still have a chat with them and try and put them at ease.” Wessex has had Trespass and Welfare Officers since October 2019, brought in to reduce the amount of delay minutes due to trespass – keeping passengers safe and services running on time. JUNE 2020

Tony Coleclough heads up the team. He said: “Some of the stations down here had continual problems with trespass, anti-social behaviour and needed help with suicide prevention. “The officers patrol the station – making sure all gates are locked, there’s no graffiti, that kind of thing – but it’s mostly about talking to people. If you see someone behaving in a way that’s out of the norm, give them a bit of human interaction, care and consideration and ask them how their day is going. “It’s been a success so far – in the eight months we’ve been running we’ve had 15 interventions just at Pokesdown. It used to be an unmanned station, so at times it wasn’t a pleasant place to be – and there was a problem with substance abuse at the station.” Ross also feels it’s been a success. He said: “I’ve been on the railway for 14 years, I used to be lineside but dealing with the public like this is totally different. You’ve got to have a different approach for different people

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– whether it’s a 16 year old trespasser or an 80 year old asking for help with their bags, it all comes down to your attitude in dealing with them. “I’m that kind of person that likes to talk to people, and I enjoyed my Samaritans training as part of the role. All it takes is a bit of a chat and you often see that they’re good folk.”

Industry leaders Trespass and Welfare Officers are an initiative from Southern region’s JPIC (Joint Performance Improvement Centre). The JPIC team is a South Western Railway and Network Rail collaborative performance delivery team. The team aim to help improve performance, working cross-functionally, to highlight that everyone has a part to play in performance improvement, across both organisations.

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P U T T I N G PA S S E N G E R S F I R S T

“At 08:30 there would usually be 100 people on platform one, but at the moment it’s only about five”

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DAILY LIFE HAS BEEN COMPLETELY...

TURNED ON ITS HEAD

Colleagues adapt to new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic

“Our daily life has been completely turned on its head because of the coronavirus” said John Sester, section manager – managing a team in Doncaster that undertakes essential track maintenance and inspection regimes, to ensure the safe running of trains on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). Following Government guidance, John was empowered to make some tough decisions to protect his

colleagues whilst ensuring the critical line – which connects the capitals of England and Scotland – remains safe for trains to travel. John added: “On a normal day, I have 24 people out undertaking inspections and general maintenance, but I made the decision to stand all my track workers down.”

Reduce the risk “With my two assistants, Terry Wilson and Kevin Henderson, we formulated

John Sester, section manager

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a plan to undertake some inspections ourselves and only bring in additional team members when absolutely essential. By reducing the team coming in every day to the minimum required, we are doing our bit to reduce the risk.” The team have only been able to work this way due to the large reduction in the number of trains running. John explained: “One inspection I recently completed would

Yvonne Davenport, head of payroll strategy

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“I am very proud of my team for adapting to this new way of working so quickly”

normally take up to four hours and fill two sides of the blockage form with the number of times the team were on and off track, to allow trains to pass. Because services are reduced, I only had to stop for two passenger trains.”

groups. They are keen to return to work, but I want to keep as many of them protected at home. When they do come to work, I tend to use guys from the same gang to keep the overall team segregated.”

Protecting people

Home office

When the team do come to work, John has been taking all the necessary precautions; such as providing personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser and vehicle cleaning equipment. Their vehicles are all cleaned before and after use and have also been fitted with polycarbonate flexi screening to separate the driver from the rear passenger for added protection. John added: “My team understand why I’ve stood them down – their welfare and safety is paramount – but that doesn’t make it any easier. I chat to them all regularly, either on the phone, by text or on our WhatsApp

Payroll is usually an office-based position, and something most might think could easily be done from the comfort of colleagues’ homes. However, when it comes to processing around 42,000 salaries across the organisation, its no easy feat. Yvonne Davenport, head of payroll strategy, said: “We’ve tried to get as many members of the team as possible working from home. This has meant sourcing laptops for everybody in the Payroll team – with thanks to IT – and then obtaining remote access for everyone to the unique systems that we use, which has presented some challenges.”

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Lifestyle shift Network Rail pays colleagues fourweekly, but Payroll actually runs every two weeks and due to the volume of data that needs to be processed, many of the tasks can’t be done remotely. Around half the team have had to change their shift patterns – going into the office between 06:00 until 10:00 and 16:00 until 20:00, to run key activities when the network is not as busy, and practising social distancing, to get the job done. Yvonne added: “This minimises the capacity on the network and reduces the risk of the process failing. We have also commenced our processing schedules earlier to add in additional contingency. Should any issues occur, we have enough time to recover the situation. “I am very proud of my team for adapting to this new way of working so quickly and we are very grateful to IT for helping to keep us connected.” n JUNE 2020


S A F E TY F O C U S E D

“IT FELT LIKE I’D BEEN PIERCED WITH A KEBAB SKEWER AND PUNCHED IN THE BACK” Phil Maggs, programme manager, opens up about his first-hand experience with coronavirus Whether observing social distancing in the workplace or working from home, all Network Rail colleagues are being affected by the coronavirus in some way – though some are luckier than others. The virus cost Phil Maggs his father-in-law and threatened his own health when he contracted the disease. The programme manager, Route Services, started showing symptoms in early April, a week after his father-in-law Len passed away. Knowing that Len had tested positive and having tended to him just before he died, Phil and his family self-isolated.

Thought it would pass Phil said: “I started to feel a tingling sensation over my upper body and JUNE 2020

felt a little strange. I went to bed that night and – whilst anxious – thought the sensation would just pass. “The next morning at about 05:00 I awoke with pains in my back and chest. It felt like I had been pierced with a kebab skewer from armpit to armpit and punched in the middle of the upper back. I couldn’t lie down or get comfortable so found myself walking around to try and ease the pain. “I contacted NHS 111 online and it gave indications that I had coronavirus. For the next three mornings I was awoken by the pain in my chest and my joints were starting to ache. “The joint pain started to get worse during the fifth day but didn’t last long and would come and go. After six days I felt as if

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the virus was moving and started to have pains in my abdomen and the upper parts of my legs. After 10 days I started to feel better with abdominal and muscle pains easing.”

I have been lucky At Len’s funeral later that week Phil and 10 other family members sat two metres apart with no hugs or handshakes. Phil said: “Everything was simplified and not as Len had planned it at all – we did our best though. “Some have suffered much worse during this pandemic and the damage will affect them for much longer. I believe I have been lucky but will always be saddened at the loss of Len who, given different circumstances, would probably still be with us today.” n NETWORK


S A F E TY F O C U S E D

Help is at hand Anyone impacted by coronavirus can find useful information, guidance and resources on the Network Rail coronavirus information hub.

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A life rebuilt

Omran Al Masalmah fled Syria when war broke out in 2012. He tells Network about his journey to Network Rail

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PROUD TO WORK FOR NETWORK RAIL

Omran Al Masalmah was three years into studying for a degree in engineering when he was forced to flee war-torn Syria in 2012. Omran took a treacherous journey through Jordan, Egypt and Turkey before settling in Cyprus for a further two years of studies. With his engineering degree complete, Omran travelled to Greece, then through France and Belgium before reaching the UK in 2015 – the journey totalled 40 days, often in dangerous conditions. It was in July the following year that Omran saw an advert on Facebook for Transitions – the social enterprise designed to increase hiring success in the engineering sector. Transitions gave Omran support with writing his CV, networking and interview techniques through coaching and workshops before setting up a placement in Network Rail’s building and architecture team, as well as in its structures team. For refugees arriving in a new country, finding skilled work can be a challenge. Despite often having qualifications and experience in their

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home countries, transferring skills to a career in the UK can present difficulties through lack of a network and lost confidence.

So welcoming Network Rail is working with social enterprise Transitions to help refugees back into the workplace through its 12-month placement scheme. Though the scheme doesn’t guarantee a job at the end of it, it equips those involved with the confidence, experience and contacts to improve their career prospects. Omran said: “With guidance from my line manager, I was trained to manage some of the network’s defects databases and oversee examinations of infrastructure on the Anglia route. It helped improve my technical skills and gave me a good understanding of how Network Rail’s teams work together to deliver a safe, reliable railway. The team I was placed with were so welcoming – I’d left my family behind, but they felt like my new family. My colleagues helped me get settled in and gave up a lot of their time to

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“To people trying to rebuild their lives and careers, I’d say: keep going, ask questions and follow your dreams”

support me with interview practice.” Having spent a year honing his skills and building relationships, Omran began applying for engineering roles at Network Rail. He said: “I’m lucky that the UK recognises all European engineering qualifications – because I finished my degree in Cyprus, I’m able to put it to good use. I needed a lot of support with my confidence and interview skills, so it took 19 interviews for different engineering roles at Network Rail before I landed a job as an asset engineer in the Wales and Western region’s structures engineering team. “I’ve moved to Swindon for the role and I’m really enjoying it so far – it feels good to be a valued part of a team and the people are very friendly. I’m proud to work for Network Rail, and so grateful for the opportunities my placement has given me. “To other people who are trying to rebuild their lives and careers, I’d say: keep going, ask questions and follow your dreams.” NETWORK

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Building diverse teams Alison Thompson leads the scheme for Network Rail. She said: “Network Rail has historically found it difficult to recruit for engineering disciplines and it’s clear that there’s a wider pool of engineering professionals that we can tap in to. We started this structured programme to give candidates exposure to railway engineering, mentors, and one-to-one coaching.” Vicky Johnson, employment advisor, Transitions London, said: “We’re really pleased that our partnership with Network Rail is seeing successes like Omran’s. Our aims are to assist skilled refugees back into employment and to help employers plug skill gaps and build diverse teams. “Schemes like the Development Programme help to achieve this by providing our refugee candidates with crucial UK orientation in their professions, and by enabling employers to access the pool of skilled refugee talent.” n JUNE 2020


E F F I C I E N T A N D D E P E N D A B L E PA R T N E R

Meet the cycle recycler Colleague Simon Lloyd uses his passion for cycling to help his community

When people outgrow bikes, they tend to throw them away or pass them down to family or friends, but Simon Lloyd has been upcycling bikes to give back to the community, free of charge. Simon, a customer service advisor at Edinburgh Waverley station, on the Scotland route, has taken over 300 discarded and unwanted bikes, restoring them to full working order and gifting them to local charities, schools and homeless people. A keen cyclist himself, he even still finds the time to escape to the East Lothian countryside, using his own bike to take in the fresh country air. Simon said: “If you can use a skill and enhance it, you can do a lot of positive and proactive work – it’s free and only takes up your time.”

Continues on page 18

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E F F I C I E N T A N D D E P E N D A B L E PA R T N E R

Continued from page 17 If a bike can’t be restored, Simon will dismantle it for parts. He said: “The cycles that are beyond repair are broken down, providing spares for other cycles, which I rebuild in my garage at home. “When the cycles are completed, they are brought to the station and stored in the basement cycle room to await collection by charities and other worthy causes. I get great satisfaction seeing these cycles going back in to the community again.”

Local partnerships Simon’s charity work started in 2004 with East Lothian Council. He would rescue bikes from the scrap metal crusher at North Berwick recycling centre, before fixing and donating them to charity. In the same year, The Bike Station – a charity which upcycles donated bikes and sells them at affordable JUNE 2020

prices – set up home at Edinburgh Waverley station. It was during one of Simon’s regular visits to his local recycling centre that he realised he could work with them. Simon said: “I would always see loads of cycles thrown in to the metal skips for melting down, which played on my mind. I thought it was such a waste, and I thought The Bike Station could make much better use of them. They do very important community work in Edinburgh, helping low income families and homeless people. “Just by chance, I met the principal waste services officer for East Lothian Council when I was at the recycling centre. I told him of my involvement with The Bike Station and their work, and he listened with great interest. “I asked if I would be able to remove the cycles from the skips, so they could be repaired, put back on the

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road and gifted to The Bike Station. He agreed to fully support my work.” Shortly after their conversation, Simon received a letter from East Lothian Council giving him permission to remove all unwanted bikes from the recycling centre to fix them – that year alone, Simon fixed and donated 45 road worthy bikes to the charity.

Continued success Simon’s work doesn’t end with The Bike Station, having also worked with local schools, and the Dunbar branch of the Rotary club – where Simon was able to donate bikes to children in isolated areas of Africa. He also raises money for Mercy Ships – an organisation which deploys hospital ships to the world’s poorest countries – by donating all the funds given by friends and family for their repair works. n NETWORK


PPUUTTTTIINNGG PA PASSSSEENNGGEERRSS FFIIRRSSTT

About our scorecard Network Rail has changed how it measures success, with passengers at the heart

NNEETTWWOORRKK

The Network Rail story is the story of our organisation and the people it serves. Starting with our vision of putting passengers first, it explains who we are as a company, why we exist, and our shared purpose. It says what inspires us and what we value. Open this fold-out to learn more about the Network Rail story. The Network Rail story should drive everything that we do. We measure how well we’re making the Network Rail story come true through the measures in our new company scorecard. The new scorecard for 2020/21 shows how well the organisation is putting passengers first and gives clear direction on where colleagues should focus their efforts as the organisation adjusts to the new normal after the coronavirus pandemic.

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Regular reporting Scorecard results are reported every period. To give a fair picture of performance, slower moving measures – such as the Composite Sustainability Index (CSI), which measures the longterm condition of assets on the network – will be reported every six months. Network Rail continues to be regulated by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) who will also compare measures across regional scorecards. Colleagues across Network Rail are empowered to adapt the scorecard locally by focusing on how their team contributes to achieving the measures. This means colleagues can create scorecards for themselves under the framework of our vision. n JJUUNNEE 22002200


P U T T I N G PA S S E N G E R S F I R S T

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“I have a really good journey, because my station is nice, safe and if things go wrong I’m looked after”

“My manager cares about me and I’m proud to work for Network Rail”

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P U T T I N G PA S S E N G E R S F I R S T

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ail story we are as xist, and our gers and freight virus pandemic s have told the gh their actions assengers first. hings we want engers to be work Rail.

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O UR PEOPLE The scorecardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s measures are now based on the four key elements of the Network Rail vision. With this change, the scorecard now measures what matters most to those we serve. There are 12 measures â&#x20AC;&#x201C; some are new and some have been used before. These act as a barometer for the organisation. The scorecard is designed for colleagues but should also make sense to passengers and stakeholders, and reflect their experience of Network Rail.

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Network June 2020  

The magazine for our people. Available to download.

Network June 2020  

The magazine for our people. Available to download.

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