Page 1

Issue70 Regular news and views on everything Northern

April 2013

Inside this issue: 4

Uniformally rewarded


Harrogate's history in postcards


The new Gold awards

Keeping Northern

on track


Meet the Northern TV stars

02 Upfront


riting this, I’m really proud. Last year when Century Films got in touch wanting to film us in action, we didn’t jump straight in. After all, it was putting some of you in the spotlight and we didn’t take that lightly. We took some time deliberating over the pros and cons. In the end, we said yes and am I glad we did! The results of the filming made the BBC2/HD documentary ‘The Railway: Keeping Britain On Track’ and our colleagues featured heavily in episode two, first broadcast on 19 February.


Reading the special interview in this issue (p6-7) really brought home to me how this business thrives on the passion, customer-focus and good humour of colleagues like our stars of the show Jason, Imran and Bridie. Thank you to everyone who got involved with the filming – both behind and in front of the cameras. We know a lot of our customers enjoyed it too. Not everyone gets the film star treatment, but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for continuing to focus on delivering a better service for our customers. Small actions add up to make big differences. I said it’s our people who make the difference and so it’s nice to get a glance at our movers and shakers (p4-5) as well as a chance to say bye to our leavers, many of whom have retired after long and loyal railway careers. Enjoy this issue.” Ian Bevan, Managing Director “How often do you see your colleagues on the telly?! Not that often, so it was a joy to interview our BBC2/HD stars for this issue. I’m also working with people around the business to increase the number of stories which come direct from you. See p9 for my tips on submitting stories and pictures. We want your news! And if you’ve got a great idea to make us more environmentally friendly, put your thinking cap on because the time is coming to share it! See p5. Remember you can submit a story any time at” Nicola Whitefield, Internal Communications Manager

Our people Sad losses

We were sad to learn of the recent deaths of Andy Maxwell, Bernard Jackson, Darren Thompson, John White, and Jim Webster. ichard Allan, Area Director North & East attended the funeral of Andy Maxwell, Station Co-ordinator, York, with many others from the industry and said, “Andy was excellent at his job, superb at customer service, very popular with colleagues and will be greatly missed. At his funeral one of Andy’s friends from his schooldays paid tribute to his cricket and rugby ability – he won several caps for England at rugby union in the 1970s”.


Bernard Jackson, Depot Inspector, Newton Heath, worked in the industry for 52 years. Dave Allen, District Maintenance Manager West, attended Bernard’s funeral with many colleagues and said, “The entire district has been touched by Bernard’s passing, especially anyone who had the privilege and good fortune to have worked with him. I’ve never met anyone who commanded such respect and his knowledge was truly staggering. He was Mr Newton Heath.” A cortege en route to the funeral service paused outside Newton Heath for the depot to pay its respects. We’re talking to Bernard’s family and colleagues to ensure a lasting tribute to him in the place he loved so much. Darren Thompson was Customer Service Assistant at Manchester Oxford Road Ticket Office, but he’d also previously been a driving instructor and a transport manager at Eddie Stobart. Colleague Nigel Valentine, Customer Service Assistant, reminisces: “When I moved to Oxford Road in 2008, Darren had just started working for Northern and we soon

Bernard Jackson at Newton Heath as an apprentice in 1961. Picture kind ly supplied by Bernard’s son Chris

became good friends. He was always willing to help anyone. Change of shift to help others out? No problem. Like me, he loved musicals and his funeral they played ‘Stars’ from his favourite, Les Miserables. Darren is greatly missed by us all at Oxford Road.” In February, colleagues in Heaton were finally able to say farewell to John White, Depot Shunter. John Alexander, District Maintenance Manager, North, said: “Although we believed John didn’t have any family, it emerged he did have a brother and sister, although sadly they didn’t know of each other in his lifetime. We spent some time with John’s family after his funeral and shared some insights into his life. I’ve invited them to come to Heaton depot and discover more about what John did for a living.” John Alexander also reflected on the life of Jim Webster, Plant Maintenance Team Leader, Heaton: “After a tough few weeks for all who knew him, we also said goodbye to Jim, following his recent battle with Leukaemia. The attendance of over a hundred past and present colleagues at Jim’s funeral was testament to his popularity. Like many of you, I was proud to say I knew Jim as a colleague and friend and we are all coming to terms with him no longer being with us. Jim’s wife Brenda and all his family have asked us to say a big thank you to you all for being there to show your support and pay your respects.”

Northern snippets What’s happening across your Northern

safety Customer – Accidents: Employee – Accidents:

Assaults: Assaults:

Failures to call: 7 SPADS: 3 Station overruns: 5


It’s all about you!


in 2012 Congratulations to Jane Booth who was the final person to be promoted in 2012! ane was recently promoted to Trainee Driver at Manchester Piccadilly after 10 months as a Conductor and said, “I had a great impression of Northern from the start and particularly liked the fact that there are lots of opportunities for progression within the company. Since I’ve been here I’ve found that everyone is very encouraging. I would advise anybody who would like


Jane Booth – the last person to be promoted internally in 2012

to progress within Northern to look out for vacancies on the Recruitment Bulletin, focus on your goal and also ensure you’re performing well in your current role in the meantime. Being a driver has lived up to my expectations and I’m really happy”. Caroline Wilson, Recruitment Manager added, “We’re really pleased for Jane and wanted to celebrate her achievement,

Look after your lungs

If you were inspired by World Asthma Day on 7 March and No Smoking Day on 13 March, then take strength from our Employee Assistance Programme, there to support you. f you're a smoker and considering giving up, be inspired that quitting improves heart health and life expectancy. And if you’re not, you can still support your colleagues, friends and family in kicking the habit.


Smoking is the number one cause of avoidable premature death in the UK. But the health benefits start after just 20 minutes of quitting. After 10 years the risk of lung cancer is halved and after 15 years, the risk of heart attack is the same as that of people who have never smoked!

it’s always great to see talented individuals furthering their career. A total of 126 people were promoted internally in 2012. Many of these people took advantage of the opportunities Northern provides to individuals wishing to progress. If you’re thinking about planning for your next career move, ask your manager about available support initiatives including the popular Get on at Work course.”

Did you know... ...after 24 hours

your lungs will start to clear out the build up of tar and carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body.

...after 72 hours ...after 3 to 9 months

your breathing will become noticeably easier as your bronchial tubes begin to relax.

your lungs will have room for up to 10% more oxygen improving smoking related coughs, wheezes and other breathing problems. is key to help you stop smoking, so advice is to find a personal reason to give up, set a date and plan ahead.

Accessing support Get help from your GP, chemist or call your EAP helpline number 0800 030 5182 or log into your Online Health Portal at (Username: Northern Rail Password: EAP)



Reliability February: 7,603 MPC; 7,597 MAA Availability: 86.23% Target 87.12% That’s equivalent to about two units short each day

PPM 90.84% Target 92.86% PPM MAA 90.82% Target 92.04% Lower than this time last year

04 News round-up

Our business Uniformly

d e d r a w re

Joanne Parnaby, Retail Supervisor, Redcar Central was the lucky winner of £500 in vouchers – just for bringing in her worn out old uniform! “


was at work when I opened my vouchers and I wanted to do a little dance! I’m really pleased to have won. I imagine I’ll be using them for makeup and clothes as I’m spoilt for choice on where to use them! I’m also glad to have had the opportunity to recycle my old uniform items”, said a happy Joanne. We had a massive response to our uniform recycling scheme with colleagues bringing in a total of over 3,000 worn out items to be recycled. The pile weighed in altogether at 629kg! Karen Booth, Head of Sustainability and recycling scheme owner, added, “If you got involved, thank you very much. You’ve helped The Salvation Army turn that huge pile of items into something that can be used again. And please always pass on unwanted items from home to charities or community groups where possible rather than throw them away.”

The pile weighed in altogether at 629kg!

Thanks and well done to our £50 winners

Picked at random from everyone who recycled items: Mike Garbutt, Anna Jackson, Richard Wills, Kerry Oakes, Jamie Greenwood, Kathryn Mannion, Miroslav Popadynec, Les Liversidge, Ian Humphreys, Alistair Grey, Keith Allard, Lisa White, Russell May, Mark Bennett, Julie Johnson, Bob King, Martin Grima, Mark Myers, John Cliff, Matthew Bowers, Darren Clifford, John Croft, Donald Smith, Steven Mercer, Helen Wrightson, Andrew Scott, Graham Jackson, Philip Corners, Colin Tarrant, Gary Lemmon, Michelle Fieldhouse, Tim Padgett, Daniel Vane, Jason Tarry, Vic Heard, William Bailey, Chris Lupton, Dean Bushell, John Spencer, Stewart McArdle, Heidi Sutton, Andrew Park, John Dixon, J Booth, Nicole Rayner, Alan Pugh, Mick Carr.

hello, WELL DONE AND FAREWELL to these starters AND movers Hello to: Stephanie Craig; Sarah Armitage; Tammy Martin-Armstrong; Nicola Spencer; Catherine Crane; Douglas Park; Aaron Dunbar; Matthew Madden; Nigel Waddington; Peter Harbron; Thomas Booth; Andrew Shaw-Binns; Andrew Lees; Lee Yarker; Steven Gossage; Jason Harwood; William Hart; Andrew Monnelly; Andrew Bailey; Damian Sharp; Kevin Erskine; Luke Whaley.


Keeping the signals green We are all working hard reducing our impact on the environment around us and helping to tackle global challenges such as climate change. any of you will already be doing things at home such as turning lights off, recycling waste, reusing carrier bags, buying energy efficient goods. That’s great. Now we want you to do similar things while at work.


We would really like you to help us make Northern an environmentally friendly company. If you’d like to get involved and help us,then please join the environmental network of volunteers. Take a look at the ‘Keeping the signals green’ leaflet included with this issue for top tips on how you can help reduce our impact on the environment and join the environmental network.

We also need your help when things aren’t going to plan. We have a new reporting process for incidents that could harm the environment, so we can ensure they don’t happen again. Look out for our new ‘Environment and Incident Reporting Form 1.01E’. It is available on the intranet and at all signing on points.

Ever fa nc chanc ied your es in th BBC’s e Then L Dragon’s D oCos L en? air is fo r you! Your in n o vative enviro n could ment ideas win. Lo for pos ok out ters.


from the

British Transport Police

Fighting Crime MIGS jailed A graffiti artist known as MIGS was given 10 months in prison recently after admitting 15 offences over two years in North and South Yorkshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. The graffiti caused £43,000 of damage, including some of our trains at Sheffield and Wigan.

Keeping the signals green leaflet

A guide to (&1)FXZ all travel arrangements he HR team has produced a new guide detailing all travel arrangements available to employees and spouses/dependants with passes. Paul Stephen, Compensation and Benefits Manager added, “We hope this updated info will help people who plan to travel further afield than the Northern patch. With a few additions to our reciprocal arrangements recently, I’d suggest everyone has a flick through – make sure you don’t miss out on free travel!” The guide will be available on the intranet and displayed on notice boards by the end of April.


BTP extended thanks to Northern, especially Ken Broad at Newton Heath and David Peacham at Neville Hill for their invaluable help during their lengthy investigation which led to a positive outcome.

Assault A man was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment for a nasty assault on our service between Carlisle and Flimby. The defendant bit the victim’s finger and hit him over the head with a beer bottle, causing a serious head wound.

hello, WELL DONE AND FAREWELL to these starters AND movers Well done to: Mr M J Kirkwood; Mr P E Ryan; Mr L J Jones; Mr D J Parker; Mr M A Canlett; Mr J Anderson; Mr A Park; Mr S F Catton; Mr J Moorhouse; Mr G A Ward;Mr J S Dawson; Mr I D Hesketh; Mr A P Cain; Mr C P Johnston; Mr D Gracie; Mr A A Richardson. FAREWELL to: Paul Martin; Stuart Broome; Stephen Collins; Barry Fielden; Eric Davies; Malcolm Sutton; Stuart Tomlinson; Kevin McKinlay.

06 Feature

Keeping Northern on track

As employees at Northern, we’ve got an insider’s view of life in the UK rail industry. But what about the general public? Many people travel every day with us, but their first thought is more likely to be about getting to work than about the people who work hard to get them from A to B.

BBC 2’s recent fly-on-the-wall series ‘The Railway: Keeping Britain On Track’, aimed to shine a light on the industry. After serious consideration we gladly took the chance to show the nation the passion and care which goes into delivering 2,500 services a day across the North. And we were proud to have some of our people featured in the second episode. Your Northern editor, Nic Whitefield caught up with three of them – Jason Halstead, Driver, Huddersfield, Imran Mussa, Gateline Operative, Leeds and Bridie Greenwood, Conductor, Leeds – to find out what their time in the limelight was like... Nic: Thanks for talking to us. I gather you’ve got quite varied histories? Bridie: “I’ve been here 18 years and before that I ran a Sports and Social Club.” Jason: “I’ve been a Driver 11 years, but before that I was a roofer and a retail manager. I didn’t really settle until I became a Driver. I’ve found where I’m meant to be.” Imran: “I started cleaning East Coast trains. All the men in my family work on the railway, including Great Grandad who was on the Kenyan railway.”

What’s your most memorable moment working here? Bridie: “I work the same train every day but no two days are ever the same. Last year, an old couple came up to me and asked if I remembered them. I recalled I’d sold them a Northern Duo ticket which saves two people money when travelling together, but it turned out they weren’t a couple! They said, “We’d just got on at the same stop! But you were so nice, we didn’t like to say anything!” I couldn’t believe it, but the best bit was when they then added, “Anyway, ever since then we go shopping to York together!” I was lost for words – they’ve become companions! We still laugh every time I see them! Imran: “Arsenal FC came through the station. Any celebrity is nice as it’s a familiar face. Keith Lemon is a good one – he’s come through a few times and I am a fan of Celebrity Juice.” What did you think when you were first approached to be filmed for the programme? Jason: “It was quite funny. Our team manager asked half a dozen of us if we’d be interested and said the production company would ring us up and decide after that.

I thought, ‘I’m having this!’ I’m no shrinking violet. Another guy reckons I was second choice because he’d turned it down for a better offer from Sky! He’s full of it!” Bridie: “I thought no, I don’t think I want to do that! But I met the production team for a coffee. They were true professionals because they convinced me!” Imran: “I was nervous. I saw them filming Dad at the information point, then they asked me. I was taking pictures of Dad getting filmed and sending them to people!”

TV Stars



What surprised you most about the filming process? Jason: “I wasn’t expecting a big boom mic and camera. It drew more attention than I expected. Everyone wanted a piece of the action as soon as they saw the microphone – drunken Morphs, banana suits, the lot!” Bridie: “I didn’t think it’d be as easy as it was. I expected to be more conscious of the camera. How many reality shows do we all watch and think people are playing up for camera but it’s amazing how quickly you forget it’s there. The production team would just sit and talk with the camera rolling before we even kicked off, so I was used to it before the real filming started.” What was the most memorable moment of the filming? Imran: “Filming with the passenger who was too drunk to find his way home.” Jason: “Someone staggered across the track, which got filmed. It was Ale Trail time and the in-cab radio was blaring because of all their antics. It gave an insight into the distractions we face. That Morph you saw on camera came to my window later at Dewsbury and I was dying to ask him if it was cold (it wasn't) but I didn't want to hurt his feelings!”

I got a hug, an offer of a fiver, my picture taken and asked for my autograph! You all came across really well. How did it make you feel watching yourself on TV? Bridie: “I know my passengers, so it was lovely the buzz it brought to the train. The production team said they’d worked lots of trains but they’d never been on one with such a nice atmosphere. The day after the programme had been on, everyone was buzzing!” Imran: “I was nervous about it, but was happy with how it turned out. I knew there was nothing bad on there but it was still nerve-wracking thinking I would be on TV and not knowing how it would come across.” What do you hope people thought about the programme? Bridie: “One lovely lady said “Aren’t we horrible, the great British public?!” I think it gave people the

chance to sit back and think ‘I might be like that sometimes’. It was nice for them to see themselves and what goes on too.” Jason: “I was really pleased by the reception. Twitter went bananas (no pun intended) whilst the show was on, with folk giving us great feedback.” Imran: “After the show aired about 50 passengers spoke to me about it. I got a hug, an offer of a fiver, my picture taken and asked for my autograph! It was all really great and quite overwhelming really.” Thanks for talking to us. One last thing – does Hollywood beckon or are you quite happy here at Northern? Imran: “I’d say Bollywood rather than Hollywood!” Bridie: “No, I’m more than happy to stay. As long as we get some leave for the Big Brother house!”

Record break er

In Ja nu the m ary, Bridie o r for a st pass pl eceived u C s o es e nd our m yster uctor thro ver ugh Fanta y shopp e stic a chiev r audits. eme nt!

Jason: “Oh yeah, I’ve got a few scripts under consideration but just I enjoy train driving too much. I’ll leave it to George and Brad for now – it’s only fair I stay on the Ale Trail!”

08 Our news

Harrogate’s Our network history in postcards arrogate station was the unusual venue for a recent exhibition, where more than one thousand postcards of the spa town’s days gone by were displayed in the ‘Old Goods Shed’ on Platform One.


Colton Hyde, Station Supervisor, worked with local enthusiast Vik Lokie and Network Rail to host the exhibition. Postcards of Harrogate, Starbeck and Knaresborough dating back as far as 1890, were on display, with several blown up and hanging from the rafters! There was also a cinema room showing black and white footage from ’Yorkshire Film Archive’ of railway journeys from yester year, to entertain the crowds.

Colton and Vik

Another take on


Colton comments: “We were delighted to raise more than £200 for Cancer Research and Harrogate and District Society for the Visually Impaired. The exhibition has really sparked the interest and memories of a lot of people and I would like to thank Vik for sharing his fabulous collection of local images with us all.”

ast year, we welcomed John Oates, Chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users’ Association (MCRUA) and others to a tour of Allerton train maintenance depot, following an earlier tour of Newton Heath. Check out John’s blog to see our depot from an outsider’s perspective. The accountant in him certainly appreciated the efficiency of our vending machine ‘store’ which dispenses things like screws, washers, bolts etc when a fitter needs a consumable part... our-visit-to-allerton-depot/


Delay reporting winners for the last few months: Charles Bramald, Conductor, Leeds; Ross Howard, Driver, York; Alfie Maughan, Conductor, Victoria; Christopher Booth, Conductor, Hull; Mark Wilkinson, Driver, Sheffield; Christopher Newsham, Driver, Skipton; Matthew Tazzyman, Driver, Skipton;


A safer Thorne South ollowing several near misses and an incident at the station foot crossing, we’ve opened a temporary footbridge at Thorne South station. Thanks to our Safety & Assurance and North & East Area teams, Network Rail and South Yorkshire PTE for making it happen. We’re working with Network Rail on the permanent solution to restore access to all while minimising the trespass risk at this station.




your story published! By Nic Whitefield, r Your Northern edito

Topics People and facts Get great pics Pic Quality

ove was in the airwaves when our Press Office became Northern Cupid for the day on 14 February. Morning commuters saw messages from loved ones on the customer information screens following a Twitter campaign encouraging romantic messages from their other halves. Northern Cupid even had best wishes for our very own newlywed Stephen Green, Station Manager Area West (below).


It takes quite a few weeks to produce each issue, so if you have anything date-specific, get in touch as soon as you know about something. Stories need to be either Northern business related or charity/community activities which involve Northern people. Statistics, dates, facts, names, fundraising totals etc will all add to the richness of the story and help generate a great headline! People love reading about their friends and colleagues, so try to include all names, jobs and locations for everyone involved in your story. A picture tells a story, so make sure you get one using a decent camera. Camera phones are fine but keep your hand steady – we can’t use blurred images! When you send the image, always choose the option to keep the file size as large as possible e.g. ‘Keep original size’. Pics need to be 1MB or over to be print quality. Regular news and views on everything Northern


in the air


Tell us early

Do you want to see more stories from your department or location in Your Northern? Then we need your leads! I’d love to include more stories from our own people in the magazine, too. Here are my tips to getting your news published:

A few pictures or images like logos are better than one – it gives more options to layout the story.

Februar y 2013

Get in to uch Inside this issue: 3

Women in Northern

by4 ema il or pho ne with your 8lea ds, stori es and Email yo pics! urnorthe rn@ northern or call Nic Whit efield o n 01904 5 68650 your festive round-up

RISAS re-cert

Your name in print

If you’d like to, you can submit a story already written. I’ll be in touch if we need to edit it for any reason. If you keep to around 100-150 words, there’s more chance we can include it. 6

your 2012 Employee Survey feedback

Michelle Fieldhouse, Conductor, Doncaster; Mark Latham, Conductor, Wigan; Stuart Peers, Driver, Wigan; Dave Haddon, Driver, Newcastle; Phil Wallis, Conductor, Wigan; Michael Asson, Conductor, York; Michael Jones, Driver, Piccadilly; Simon Egglestone, Driver, Blackpool; Anthony Rain, Conductor, Newcastle; David Grange, Conductor, Leeds; Mark White, Driver, Buxton.


Being Northern

T hanks to you! letters our customers Here's a few of the lovely 're delighted with the have sent in because they service you've given them...

Re: Caring at Christmas


“After our Christmas office night out, I found out through your staff that all trains from Deansgate to Liverpool had been cancelled and started to panic about getting home. Being pregnant put extra stress on my bladder with the nerves and Northern Rail staff Cliff and Adam looked after me. They allowed me to use the disabled toilet and I was eternally grateful. They then calmed me down and gave me instructions on how to reach Victoria and catch an alternative service back home. Adam and Cliff were just wonderful. Extremely friendly and put me at ease in what felt like a very stressful situation. Please thank them for the excellent customer service they gave me.” Mrs EY

Re: Cheerful journey “Please would you thank the Conductor on the 11.22 train from Hexham to Newcastle today. Despite the train being packed he did his utmost to make the journey as comfortable as possible for my wheelchair-user son, my wife and myself. He was cheerful, chatty and informative.’ Mr SP

od Did you spot two recent go ? deeds in Metro newspaper

of Northern Rail for “Thank you David Gilson . er I left it in a carriage returning my mobile aft sir!” kind , you te salu I trouble. That saved me so much on looked after my mum “To the Conductor who ed ng ba she er aft rth Garfo the train from Selby to has m Mu . gh ou en you nk her head. We can’t tha kinson’s and was so Par to ilar sim n itio nd co a is much better now.” She lp. grateful for your he

YOUR NORTHERN STARS FOR JANUARY ARE: Matt Bowers, Driver, York Matt impressed the judges with the way he supported passengers and crew on board a TransPennine service which had struck horses. Rather than sit back and observe, he helped give information to other passengers, portraying a professional image of the railway. The TPE Driver and Conductor thanked Matt, saying his involvement made a difference to the way the incident was dealt with.

Brian Dixon, Conductor, Middlesbrough While visiting Whitby on his rest day, Brian stepped in to help out during major disruption caused by severe weather. After contacting Control to offer his help, he duly set about resolving passenger queries, overseeing bus despatch and keeping Control updated. Brian’s actions meant that bus coordination was carried out to best effect and passengers completed their journeys with much better results.

Highly commended Tony Kerwin, Customer Service Assistant, Liverpool Lime Street Tony was recognised for the keen observation and prompt action he displayed when he suspected a man was acting unusually on the station concourse. By contacting Network Rail security quickly, the British Transport Police were able to act swiftly. They approached the man and when he was found to be carrying a large knife, they arrested him before anyone was harmed.

Winners’gallery ere’s December’s winner, Keith Harmer, Conductor at Harrogate, happily receiving his Northern Star award from Christine Harrison, Conductor Team Manager.


Keith Harmer

COLLEAGUE NOMINATION PRIZE DRAW WINNERS Our recent prize-draw winners, drawn from all employees who have nominated a colleague: Richelle Walsh, Customer Service Assistant, Greenfield; Karl Rowland, Conductor Team Manager, Hull; John Burgess, Conductor, Buxton; Graham Hyde, Trainee Driver, Hull.

Being Northern

Who will


? E T A N I YOU NOM Do you know someone who has a smile for everyone? Someone who does that little bit extra every day? One of our best people, day in, day out? A team that excels in what they have done? If you’re thinking yes, then the Gold awards are coming soon to recognise them.

Julia Clayton, Service Quality Team, explains: “We’re launching the Gold awards for safety, performance and customer service to complement our Northern Star and Halo awards. Whereas Northern Stars and Halos recognise exceptional acts of service, empathy and heroics, our new Gold awards aim to recognise our everyday heroes.” Jason Wade, Head of Performance, adds: “Everyone has been working hard recently to recover our performance levels while maintaining the highest standards in safety and customer service. It’s at times like this that some colleagues shine out. So for many categories, we’ll be looking for your nominations for colleagues who make a difference in their job every day. In addition, the judges will be looking for teams

Gold s award fact file

that over the course of 2012 have made significant performance or safety improvements.” “Being Northern is all about great customer service every day, whether those customers are passengers on our trains and in our stations, or internal customers from another team or department within the business. And great customer service relies on a top-notch attitude and approach towards safety and performance, so the three go hand in hand to deliver the service our customers expect and deserve. That’s why the Gold awards will be associated with the categories of safety, performance and customer service.”

and information you’ll need to nominate your colleagues. Look out for more information in the next issue of Your Northern and at signing on points, notice boards and on the intranet.”

“We’ll celebrate with our winners in a big ticket awards ceremony. We’re just putting the finishing touches to the nomination forms

•  Customers come in all shapes and sizes – internal as well as external. So we’re looking for nominations for people from across our business, from frontline and depot roles as well as colleagues from support services •  You’ll be able to nominate in some categories; others will be judged by statistics from the 2012 performance year

•  Gold awards will complement Northern Stars and Halo awards, not replace them. Keep your Northern Stars nominations coming!

•  You’ll be able to nominate the same person in more than one category

•  We’ll share details of the award categories and how to nominate, plus the awards ceremony and prizes in the next issue of Your Northern.

•  You’ll also be able to nominate more than one person in the same category, but there’ll only be one winner in each category

FEEDBACK If you have any feedback, observations or suggestions on improvements about the customer service we offer, please email


Your questions answered

y e Say Your


“When is the next ‘Get on at Work’ course running?”

Ian Francis, People Development Business Partner says: “We’re pleased to be offering the course in two modules this year. Module 1 is a one day workshop which introduces you to the application and selection process. You will establish ways to strengthen your CV, complete application forms and prepare yourself for your selection event. We will also give you an overview of typical selection event activities so you know what to expect. Once you have attended Module 1, you may find it useful to complete our second module which allows you to gain practical experience of participating in a selection event. You will be expected to prepare ahead of the day and join in right from the start as we run interview, presentation and group discussion sessions. You will be give valuable feedback and guidance throughout the day to further strengthen your skills and confidence. You can attend Module 2 without attending Module 1 if you feel you don’t need the exploration of our application and selection process. Get on at Work Module 1 12/06/2013 Leeds Get on at Work Module 2 10/07/2013 Leeds Get on at Work Module 1 08/10/2013 Bolton Get on at Work Module 2 12/11/2013 Bolton To book on a workshop just confirm your release with your line manager (if appropriate) and contact training. or call 01904 568703 to book your place. Spaces fill up quickly, but whenever the waiting list gets full, we put on more courses."

Your Want to

Say Say Live have...



“I would like to know why there are no payments for being a minder in Area North & East. It doesn’t particularly bother me not being paid to do it, however we actually lose money through commission as trainees are, understandably, a lot slower with the ticket machines. T his is unfair as without minders, the trainees would be unable to complete their training.”


Chris Jackson, Head of Operations North & East, responds: “We really value the role Conductor Minders play. This was an item which was intended to be included in the harmonisation process, which RMT asked to withdraw from last February. Regardless of this, I will review the current situation.”


“Rumour has it that Gateline Operatives are to be taken over by G4S. This is causing great worry and anxiety.”


Adrian Thompson, HR Director responds: “Please be reassured that this is not correct. I have heard this rumour myself, but we have no plans to use our G4S contract to replace Northern employees. The G4S and Trainpeople contracts are in place to improve revenue protection, which helps reduce ticketless travel and confrontation from customers who would prefer not to pay for their journey.”


“When are we going to get new Chip & PIN equipment?”


Jonathan Stewart, Commercial Director, answers: “Many of you have sent us feedback and questions on this topic and I’m pleased to be able to confirm we have secured investment in Avantix. We will replace all our Chip & PIN devices and upgrade the update workstations. We have plans in the pipeline for our station retail systems too. This will help reduce the number of failures, but also mean that when problems do occur, we’ll have spare resources. The new devices are lighter, smaller and easy to use and we expect to roll them out this autumn.”


“Does Northern have a policy on use of social networking websites? In many businesses, people are strongly advised against commenting on issues affecting the workplace or colleagues, as with a couple of clicks issues can be seen by thousands.”


Rhona Henderson, Head of HR replies: “We recognise our people may keep blogs on the internet and that social networking sites are a useful way of interacting socially with colleagues and friends. Our current policy is included in the Acceptable Use Policy on the intranet (search for ‘acceptable use’). Here’s an extract from it: ‘While the organisation does not wish to discourage employees from accessing such sites on the Internet outside the workplace, it does expect certain standards of conduct to be

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ASK US THIS MONTH? Fill in the slip provided with this issue of Your Northern and send it back to us in the freepost envelope provided.

observed to protect both its legitimate business interests and its employees from the dangers of inappropriate use. There is a reasonable expectation that any employee will operate with caution and courtesy in the public domain to conserve the reputation of employees and Northern Rail. Employees whose conduct breaches this policy in any way may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the organisation’s disciplinary procedure.’ The full policy can be accessed on the intranet.”

1294 2 your northern 70 march online