The award-winning magazine for everyone at London Midland
track 08 The right balance
inside this issue...
05 THE APPRENTICE 10 YOUR BRIGHT IDEAS 13 MEET WILMA 20 WIN! AND MUCH MORE...
ISSUE 5 | MARCH/APRIL 2012
Welcome to issue 5 of your awardwinning magazine! I’m Richard, I look after our internal communications and engagement.
’m based in Birmingham, and I work with people across our business on improving how we work together. I look after things like our publications, including our weekly inbrief and Between the Lines. I’ve held a number of roles over 12 years in our industry, including traincrew and general management, engagement and catering logistics. In this issue, we meet the team behind ticket pricing – Revenue Management (p8-9) – to understand more about the them – and how they decide what we sell. We also meet Ben, an Apprentice Technician who’s turned his passion into his career (p5). The ‘Big Picture’ (p10-11) talks about how we’re supported by our group of companies. We also meet our Finance and Contracts Director Wilma Allan, who manages to find the time to lead teams in, not one, but two of our train companies. Emma Morgan talks Triathlons (p14), with some advice for beginners. Remember, this is your magazine so keep sending your ideas for stories to our cross-functional magazine panel. Oh, and if you are a keen reader on the go – you can win a Kindle Keyboard, which holds over 3,500 books! On behalf of the entire panel, we hope you enjoy this issue. Check out
the Line.usk Between ag azine.co at www.btlm
it’s all about you... This is your magazine. So if you’d like something including, please get in touch. We’re looking to hear from individuals or teams with a story to tell. Are you working on something new, different or interesting? What do you do in your spare time? What matters to you at work? What do you want to know more or less about?
w his tle
All the latest news
it’s a hat trick!
Congratulations to our Marketing team who scooped the award for Marketing Campaign of the Year at the Rail Business Awards – for the third year in a row. This year’s award recognises our most successful marketing campaign to date – promoting the ‘every 20 minutes’ Birmingham to London service. The judges recognised the impact of the campaign with year-on-year growth of more than 100 per cent and said we combined “innovation, lateral thinking and customer focus”. We were also highly commended for our approach to customer information and service excellence, with judges recognising our effort to become Britain’s most helpful train company. Awards like these are a great opportunity to celebrate what everyone in our business does. If you’d like us to put forward an individual, team or project for an industry award please email firstname.lastname@example.org who is part of a cross-functional Awards team, to find out more.
we’re on the telly! Our first ever TV ad hits the screens this April, promoting an online ticket sale across our network.
ITV West Midlands is an ideal media match for us, stretching as far as Crewe, Shrewsbury, Stratford, Worcester, the Trent Valley and Rugby, plus everything in between: Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. Advertising & Campaigns Manager Penny Allen says: “We’ve been working with a production agency to create an animated advert that reflects the style we already use in our printed ads. We’ve designed it to highlight some key touristy places to give people a flavour of where they can go, as well as promoting the offer. “The great thing about telly is that you can be remembered for a long time after you’ve gone off air.” You can find details of our campaign at mylondonmidland.com
Contact Between the Lines at email@example.com or call 01904 731185 If you are emailing from home, do leave your name so we know who to get back in touch with.
...is your quick stop for what’s happening across London Midland – follow it along the bottom of Between the Lines.
awards for London Midland
� more trains
Revenue Management team
Between the Lines magazine is managed by Richard Baker and designed and produced by scarlettabbott – 01904 633399 | scarlettabbott.co.uk
we’ve signed the order for ten new trains to be delivered in the summer of 2014.
see something suspicious?
think H.O.T What should you do if you see a suspicious looking item? Think H.O.T, that’s what. If you or your colleagues find an unattended package, you should try to identify who owns it. If you can’t then you need to consider whether it’s: not in general view and may have H Hidden, been deliberately positioned in a discreet area. suspicious, signs of tapes, O Obviously wires or batteries. of the environment in which it T Typical is found. If so, contact our Information Controller at 0121 345 6528 (085 54528 internally) immediately so they can alert Network Rail Control who will contact British Transport Police. If you think it’s suspicious, do not interfere with
it or move it. You should move yourself, your colleagues and customers as far away from it as possible and do not use radios or any mobile communication equipment within 25 metres of the package. Keep calm, don’t panic, and reassure our customers that everything is being done to protect their safety and that the situation will be dealt with as quickly as possible. The decision about how to handle a suspicious unclaimed package will be made by the British Transport Police and/or the local police. Every situation will be different, but by following these steps you’ll be doing everything you can to keep colleagues and customers safe and minimise any disruption.
the awards go to... Well done to everyone who works on our colleague magazine Between the Lines which has just won two awards!
At the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) Central Region Awards in February, Between the Lines was named Class Winner in the Best New or Relaunched Publication category and it won an Award of Excellence in the Magazine category. The awards celebrate and recognise excellence in internal communications, with judges praising the magazine saying: “It stood out from the crowd, has something for everyone and is inspiring and engaging. Audience involvement in the creation of this magazine, from naming through to story ideas and guest editing, helps this feel like it is by the people, for the people. Keep up the good work.” Engagement Manager Richard Baker, says: “I’m delighted Between the Lines has won awards. We’ve worked incredibly hard to produce something that ‘breaks the mould’ and is unafraid to tackle the issues that really matter to our people. Our readers tell us it is upbeat, honest and refreshing. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed – please keep your stories and ideas coming.”
� see me
We take crime against our colleagues, customers and company very seriously. Statistically, serious attacks on our colleagues and customers are rare, but we work with law enforcement agencies to help investigate each case properly.
updates In Issue 1 of Between the Lines we reported on a man who tried to set fire to a train between Redditch and Alvechurch. He then kicked a train door, trapping our conductor’s hand, breaking his wrist. The man has since appeared in court where he admitted common assault and criminal damage. He was jailed for three months. We also reported that a male customer, travelling on a Cross City service to Bournville, was attacked with a pint glass. He was left with facial injuries, requiring 17 stitches. The offender has since appeared in court, where he admitted GBH with intent and was jailed for six years.
action on crime We’ve been having problems on the line that runs out from Birmingham Moor Street to Kidderminster, with incidents including antisocial behaviour, abuse directed at colleagues, travel fraud and ticket irregularities largely caused by young people trying to travel without a ticket, on a child’s ticket or without any ticket(s). CCTV images and good quality intelligence from our local colleagues has helped us to identify persistent offenders. The Centro/BTP Safer Travel team are supporting our revenue colleagues by introducing revenue blocks at Kidderminster, resulting in 13 penalty fares issued. It’s also sending a strong message to the offenders that we do take action. Thank you to everyone who has helped. Please do report any incidents to the British Transport Police. You can also follow the BTP Safer Travel team on Twitter @ST_Police
I’m a QR code – a kind of barcode. So, instead of finding a computer and keying in a web address, you can hold your smartphone’s QR scanner over me, and I’ll take you straight to the website. Simples!
how we’re doing
num63r5 How we’re performing
Period 12 minutes
compare Find out how our PPM compares with the rest.
90.2 SOUTHERN VIRGIN TRAINS
84 (PPM latest MAA (Moving Annual Average) Period 12)
82 PERIOD 11
cancellations PART FULL
customer journey growth
76 London Midland PPM
Regional PPM London and (Non-London Services) Southeastern PPM
London Midland MAA
(all of the above industry periods)
customer complaints Complaints in Period 11 increased, compared with Period 10, by more than 32%. This was influenced by factors including three fatalities, a signal failure, blocked line and overhead wire problems. Other factors saw complaints rise in Period 12.
Performance Process Manager Nathan Thompson explains: “Period 11 was affected by a sudden drop in PPM as a result of the derailment of a light locomotive near Bletchley in February. There was extensive damage to the overhead line equipment and track infrastructure. In total, this incident caused 2,150 minutes delay, 220 full cancellations, and one part cancellation. It affected 432 London Midland services. Period 12, ended with a PPM result of 91% against a JPIP recovery target of 91.8%. The period result represents five periods of continuous improvement with it also being the best since Period 5 (August 2011). To achieve our JPIP MAA target of 90.4% in Period 13 we need to achieve 90.8% or better.”
He’s been volunteering on the railways since he was 12-years-old, and now Ben Williams is thriving as an Apprentice Technician at Tyseley.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to work on the railways. It all started during a rail tour with my dad when I was 12. I won a T-shirt and the traincrew asked me if I’d like to ‘be one of them’ for the day: helping collect rubbish and clean the train. I enjoyed working with them, so I volunteered to help out whenever I could. I went on to complete work experience at Shrewsbury station with Arriva Trains Wales, before volunteering with Wrexham & Shropshire Railway and becoming a community rail volunteer for two years. I’m now 19, and really enjoying working here.
quickfire t Classroom or depo re tea breaks! mo are re Depot – the Wii or Xbox y! Wii – Mario all the wa Mild or spicy at Manzills Always a hot curry r Bunny Easter Egg or Easte Bunny
I found the London Midland Apprenticeship online last year. (that’s ours, I was over the moon when, after not Sir Alan’s) applying, having some tests and then an interview, I was offered the apprenticeship. I started with three others, Ryan Fulwell, Adam Lee and Will Green, Did you k last August. We had a now… Ben recen safety induction and then tly gave a talk to 1 0 0 college observed the technicians students on the be at work to help us to get nefits of a rail apprentice a basic understanding of ship. “It w as nerve-wra ck ing, but fu a technician’s role. n,” he says. Then, we worked with the different teams on fault Now I’m back in finding and problem solving. the classroom at Our line manager Paul Carrigan and Birmingham Metropolitan College the four shift production managers until July, where I’m studying set the work, and we work with an NVQ Level 2 in Engineering one of the depot teams supervised Manufacturing and a BTEC in by a production leader. We’ve been Electrical and Electronic Engineering. examining trains, doing filter and Most of the classroom stuff is engine changes, and updating practical, with a bit of theory, which electrical systems. I love. I’m making tools and learning about different engineering techniques right now. It’s great there’s the
four of us at Tyseley because we’re at college together, work together and really support each other. I’m better at the theory-based work, while the others are better at the practical. However, we have a really good team spirit between us and help each other out. Next year, we’ll be at Tyseley four days a week and college one day, when our real on-the-job training starts. I’ll qualify in 2015 and hope to work for London Midland full-time after that – that would be a dream come true for me!
davies and Ben with Team leader steve compliance manager paul carrigan
traction energy group
savers Every year our electric trains use the same amount of electricity as 30,000 houses (that’s equivalent to a town about the size of Nuneaton). And, in a year, our diesel fleet use enough fuel to fill four and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools.
act is, we use a lot of energy, and the more we use the more CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions we produce. CO2 is a major cause of global warming, which harms the environment. But, we care about the environment and our carbon footprint, and are looking at ways to reduce this. As part of our environmental strategy, a company-wide Traction Energy Group (TEG) is investigating how we can cut the CO2 from our trains. Traction Energy Group Project Manager Colin Musisi says: “We’re examining a number of ways to reduce traction energy use, that’s the electricity and diesel used to power our trains, from making better use of the way we operate our trains, to installing new energy saving equipment.
“For example, we have ‘regenerative braking’ on over 90 per cent of our electric trains. Usually, when a train brakes, energy is lost as heat in the brake pads. On our electric trains, this waste heat is turned back into electricity, so we’re recycling 16 per cent back into the electricity grid. That’s saving 1,200 tonnes of CO2 every industry period.” Traction Energy Manager Paul Owen says: “I’m really looking forward to working alongside our drivers to develop traction energy best practice and introducing new methods to reduce our emissions in the future.”
ow… Did youClakssn170 uses
A three car el on litres of dies around 240 d to or ef er from H a return trip reet St ew N Birmingham a gh to drive – that’s enou hn O’Groats Jo from a Ford Focus d three and to Land’s En ! es m ti half
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“I’m really looking forward to working alongside our drivers to develop traction energy best practice and introducing new methods to reduce our emissions in the future.”
Together, we’re reviewing initiatives including: � s tandardising auto shutdown timers – this will reduce the time engines are left running when trains are stabled, and during station turnarounds
� E nergy Efficient Driving Techniques (EEDT) – we want to develop and build on techniques already utilised by our drivers, and recognise drivers who reduce emissions
M lin Co by o t Pho
� Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) – this is a kind of ‘sat nav’ for trains, potentially making journeys more energy efficient and helping drivers maintain the timetable � Class 350 ‘Sleep mode’ – we’re switching off the air conditioning when trains are empty � fuel additives – to clean engines and make them run better, and we’re hoping to trial this soon. If you have ideas for how we can save traction energy, please contact Colin Musisi or Paul Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
ss 350 use 1,700 KW s h electrici ty running from Live rpool Lim eS Birmingha m New Str treet to eet and b – that’s 1 ack 13 times more per than the a day mount use d by a family of four in a four b with gas ce edroom house ntral heati ng!
what is a carbon footprint? Most of the energy used for transport, and keeping homes warm and lit comes from fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. This causes CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere, and CO2 is a major cause of global warming. Your carbon footprint is a measurement of all the greenhouse gases (such as CO2) that we produce individually. It has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent. Calculate your own carbon footprint at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/calculator/start
Got an ? energy-saving idea
pot, on a train, If you work in a de d think there’s an , ce in a station or offi y ntally-friendly wa a more environme l tel e as ple , ing we can do someth al t our Environment us about it. Contac at es qu Jac Manager Kathryn kathryn.jacques om @londonmidland.c
seen our posters?
working with you
Customer demand for rail travel continues to grow, but dissatisfaction with fare hikes is also on the rise. How do we adapt to meet our customers changing needs, keep them happy, stay ahead of the competition and secure our future? Our Revenue Management team explains the fine art of the balancing act…
There are… seven of us: that’s a head of revenue management, train service development manager, pricing manager, revenue analysis manager, prosecutions and debt recovery manager, prosecutions officer and prosecutions coordinator We’re based… at 102 New Street, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield Our role is… to generate customer demand and grow revenue We’re doing well… revenue has grown by 50% since 2007 We work… with most areas of the business, and everything we do affects our colleagues and customers.
ore people are choosing to travel by train, and take advantage of cheap advance tickets, special offers, faster trains, and a timetable that suits their needs. This increase in customers is partly down to record petrol prices, as well as the good service we provide,” says Head of Revenue Management, Paul Matthews. In fact, in the first half of the year we’ve seen record customer growth of nearly nine per cent, which is higher than we expected in the current economic environment. “This is great news for us, because more customers means more revenue, making the business more secure, so we can grow and invest,” says Paul. “But we’re also living in competitive times. Our customers expect a great deal, and we need to be smart about how we use this rise in customer demand to our advantage in the longer term.”
Meeting expectations So, what’s acceptable to us, to our customers, and are they completely different? Paul smiles: “Our customers want value for money, and their expectations are high. They don’t expect to pay a premium for a seat and to then have to stand because there isn’t enough room on the train. “At the same time, we need to sell enough tickets at the right price on the right trains to cover their running costs and to make money. We are a business after all and this enables us to invest in rolling stock, station upgrades, facilities and equipment for our people. “Driving up customer demand for our services and maximising our income, underpins everything our team does.” Day-to-day this means: � understanding the different markets we operate in, from short distance commuter routes to longer leisure routes
� understanding what makes people choose rail, and London Midland in particular, such as the price, product, how we promote our fares/services and the economy. To help with this analysis, the team uses a range of systems (sales management information, economic forecasts, train count and fares databases) to inform our understanding and be able to forecast future demand. More importantly, they use this to further develop customer and revenue growth.
Balancing act Paul says: “We work very closely with our colleagues in Marketing, Operations and Finance as well as customer-facing teams to understand what our customers want, and plan how we can deliver and promote it.” “That’s where the balance comes in. The best way for us to provide customers with value for
money and make money at the same time, is to maximise our earnings when demand is at its greatest – during peak times. We do this by using pricing, ticket restrictions and allocations for Advance Purchase fares. Or, if feasible, we can increase train capacity so we can ‘carry’ more customers,” says Train Service Development Manager Richard Clarke. “But that is difficult at peak times when we’re using all of our available trains.
“Then, at off-peak times, when demand is naturally lower, we look to grow revenue by offering cheaper prices, again using ticket restrictions and offering more discounted Advance Purchase tickets. This helps to balance out demand and increase overall demand and revenue.” The team also plays an important investment role. For example, they helped to build the business case for increasing the number of trains from Birmingham to London from one to three every hour. They also forecast the revenue benefit from the new 110mph services due to go live from December, and the new Class 350s in 2014. Prosecutions and debt recovery is another big part of their work. Our conductors, station colleagues and ticket inspectors report fare evasion incidents to the team, who then chase them up to recover the fares. If that’s not successful they’ll use statutory and railway bylaws to prosecute. Prosecutions and Debt Recovery Manager Ian Taylor, who leads the team, explains: “We use various laws to penalise people who travel on our trains without paying. It’s a criminal offence, and it sends a clear message that it isn’t ok to travel on our trains without buying a ticket. “Typically around three per cent of journeys made on our services each year aren’t paid for, whether
“Our customers expect a great deal, and we need to be smart about how we use this rise in customer demand to our advantage in the longer term.”
that’s through fare evasion or using fake tickets. Of these, around 2,500 people are successfully prosecuted every year. We have a target to reduce travel without a ticket to two per cent by 2015.” The Revenue Management team, working with colleagues across the business, helps to specify our timetable, manage pricing and deter ‘ticketless travel’. When we get the balance right, together, we help to attract more customers, keep them happy and we make the money to invest and grow.
a clear message for fare evaders
With your help we think we can do more If you have any ideas or observations on timetable issues, email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org Similarly, any ideas and suggestions on fares and tickets, TICKET please email email@example.com
to Resourcing Assistant Bonnie Wilkes who won the comedy night out competition (Issue 4) at the award-winning Glee Club. She says: “That’s smashing news, really great, you’ve cheered my day up. Thank you.”
working with group
bright ideas What do Banks’s Beers, First Direct and Chelsea Football Club have in common? They’re all independent companies, benefiting from the kind of big business backing that helps them to grow and innovate.
� in a nutshell
anks’s is owned by Marston’s Beer Company, First Direct by HSBC, and Chelsea is owned by Fordstam Limited (controlled by Roman Abramovich). We’re independent, but people from our owners Govia also support us. Govia is a joint venture made up of the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. They’re helping us to run our business day-to-day, with support on everything from our IT and email security systems, to buying the uniforms we wear and equipment we use to do our jobs. Between the Lines catches up with Go-Ahead Group IT and Procurement Director Dave Lynch, to learn more about how we work with group
colleagues, and why he wants to hear your ideas…
In the beginning As his title suggests, Dave looks after IT and procurement across Go-Ahead, which includes all of our technology, such as accounting, payroll, email systems and mobile technology. Procurement is everything we buy, from trains and tools to uniforms and PPE. So, everything Dave and his teams do, working closely with our IT and Procurement teams in Birmingham, affects our working lives. When the group bid for, and won our franchise in 2007, one of the first
London Midland and Go-Ahead Group – the best of both worlds – the ability to make decisions that are best for our business with the support of a parent company to help us with longer-term strategic decisions.
“There’s always a more efficient way of doing things. For me, it’s important to meet colleagues, understand the issues they face and figure out how I can break down any barriers or improve the technology they have.”
commitments it made was to deploy a retail smartcard solution for London Midland. Now, we’re really proud to be part of a retail rail industry revolution. The key – based on the industry-wide ITSO standard – was the first of its kind in UK rail. In 2008, the technology behind it was leading edge; it hadn’t been implemented anywhere before. “I was lucky enough to be invited to join the UK ITSO Board, to develop the standard for London Midland, and the wider rail industry,” says Dave. “ITSO is the standard behind the technology we now know as the key, and I represented the rail industry needs and requirements. Starting with a paper-based standard, and working with selected suppliers, we brought the technology to life. It was then piloted in February 2010, before we launched what’s being used today.” Our ITSO Smartcard Project Manager Melanie West says: “It’s revolutionising the way we do business with our customers, encouraging self-service, which contributes to improving our customer satisfaction.”
Working together Dave is keen to point out that many of the ideas our colleagues have, will be supported with help from group. “Our devolved structure encourages more effective management, because decision-makers are closer to the front line,” he says. The key isn’t the only thing we’re industry-
� what would make your work life easier/more efficient?
leading on. Look at our awardwinning Twitter service and marketing campaigns, created and run by us, with group backing. “People within London Midland know the business and their customers and, because of this, they have great ideas for making it better,” says Dave. “There’s always a more efficient way of doing things. For me, it’s important to meet colleagues, understand the issues they face and figure out how I can break down any barriers or improve the technology they have. “If you have ideas for how we can work smarter, be more efficient, or improve your working lives, please tell us about them, so they can help to benefit everyone.” Here are more London Midland and Go-Ahead Group collaborations:
collaboration We’re working together on a small-scale project that’s exploring how we can use Google Apps and Google+ to help our managers communicate and collaborate more effectively. “Our people are spread across a wide geographical area,” says Engagement Manager Richard Baker. “So, harnessing new technology has the potential to improve decision-making by working together in real time from anywhere.”
new information system We’re introducing a new engineering management system across the business from April. Equinox will enable everyone across fleet production to access and manage information on every process, from examinations to fault finding. Head of Fleet Production Tony Brown explains: “Until now, all information has been stored across various systems, with access limited to a few. But with Equinox, it’s all on one system and accessible to everyone who needs to use it. It will make us much more efficient and effective. “For example, we’ll be able to
If you have an idea for how group can help to make your working life easier, Dave would like to hear from you. You can contact him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
allocate worksheets so that we can book and manage materials through our stores, and find information on vehicle history – that part goes live in the autumn.” Equinox is Go-Ahead’s ‘engineering management system of choice’ and we’ve been working together to implement it here.
agree safety targets are everyone’s responsibility
culture s fetysurvey
The early findings of our Safety Culture Survey are in…
e asked you what you thought about safety at work and here’s what the 22% of you who responded said:
60% agree safety targets are everyone’s responsibility � 70% agree that achieving safety targets is important � 60% think you receive adequate training and instruction to do your job safely � 70% of drivers and conductors agree �
there are regular checks on their ability to do their job safely. However, this figure is much lower at 56% for station colleagues, 48% for engineering and 30% for revenue protection, management and clerical colleagues.
The survey has identified some areas that are concerning, including:
80% are concerned about managers not communicating the reasons for change � 73% of engineering colleagues think that near misses are not reported � 70% say colleagues will not tolerate �
unsafe behaviour, but 50% would not report a member of their team or work group if they felt their actions were unsafe
of conductors, drivers, revenue protection and engineering colleagues think that the Accident Investigation team looks for someone to blame, only 30% of station, management and clerical colleagues share this view
of drivers and conductors are concerned they or a workmate will be injured as a result of vandalism.
for the next is sue of Between the Lines magazin e where we’ll br ing you the fin al results and te ll you what’s going to change, ho w and when. Independent safety manage ment consultants Ar thur D. conducting ou Little are r Safety Culture resea rch.
Head of Safety & Standards Gilbert Fraser says: “These initial findings show that everyone values and places importance on safety at work. However, there are some areas for concern, which we’re going to develop some plans to address. We’ll be asking for ideas from all our colleagues to help with this. This survey is an opportunity for everyone to share their views on safety at work, so that we can learn, improve and promote good practice.” Strategy and Planning Manager Tina Salt adds: “Colleagues’ opinions really do matter, whether we’re asking about safety, security or anything else. People sometimes think we don’t act on the feedback we get, but we do. We just need to be better at explaining what we’ve done! So, next time someone asks for your opinion, please take the time to complete a survey – which will most likely be our new Spring Survey in May. It can and will help to make a difference to all of us.”
The researchers have interviewed our managing director, directors and senior managers to gauge their views on safety across the company. In March, we held focus groups with traincrew, fleet, station and revenue protection colleagues to discuss the survey results, and dig deeper into the safety issues people are facing day-to-day. All of this will go into a final report on the outcomes of the survey.
AN WILMA ALL
Between the Lines catches up with our Finance and Contracts Director Wilma Allan. She talks about life in a senior rail industry role and how she juggles two jobs… What do you do? I have two roles. I’m Finance and Contracts Director here, and also have the same job at our sister company Southeastern. I help both businesses be successful, and ensure that we understand the financial implications of our decisions. Just as you and I manage our own personal finances to stay ‘in the black’, my team and I do something similar for London Midland.
How did you become finance director for two companies? I was already working at Southeastern when the opportunity to help here came up. Although I knew it would be a challenge, I was excited by the prospect of making a difference here, applying the experience I’ve gained from other TOCs.
What’s a typical day like here for you? I officially work here two to three days a week (although it can be much more!). About half of my time is spent in meetings talking about the factors that affect the business, such as potential contracts, decisions by
Government, measuring our income against what we spend, and looking at how to increase our profit. Much of it is about looking ahead to the future and strategic planning.
Have you always worked in the rail industry?
And at Southeastern?
There’s much talk in the media about women in senior roles. What’s your view?
The role is similar, although the challenges are different; it’s a business in a different stage of its ‘life-cycle’.
What’s challenging about similar roles in different companies? Fitting five days of work into two for each – although it’s certainly helped my time management skills! One of the main challenges here is how the business is set up. With three distinct markets, the Northampton to London corridor, our cross-Birmingham commuter work and our other ‘arms’, which go up to Liverpool and down to Hereford, it can sometimes feel like three completely different train services working as one.
What do you enjoy about working for two companies? The diversity – it’s exciting and motivating.
This is my 14th year, and before that I worked for Volvo and within the nuclear and oil industries.
It’s important to have a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve – and that includes our Executive. People with different backgrounds and outlooks have different ways of seeing things and this improves decision-making.
Absolutely. There are many successful women in top jobs and that’s good for our entire industry. It’s important we have positive role models that people can look up to and learn from.
What advice would you give people who want to rise through the ranks? Be as good as you can, aim high and have confidence in your abilities. We’ve got lots of really capable people in our industry with great potential.
I live with my husband Kenny, who works in Formula 1, and my two cats Jinx and Jet.
The railway is seen as a historically male-dominated industry. Do you think that’s changing?
I admire people with passion, clarity and drive. I love everything except I really don’t like cheese!
will you give it a
The Triathlon is one of the fastestgrowing sports in the world, but you don’t have to be a professional athlete to tackle one, as our Facilities Data Administrator Emma Morgan discovers…
you can be ready for a typical beginner Triathlon “The London 2012 Triathlon competition this within a couple of months.” summer promises to be an Olympic highlight. Here are Emma’s top tips for Triathlon training. I’ll be watching it so I can get some beginners tips Why don’t you give it a tri? on how to tackle a triathlon myself next year,” says Emma. “Over the past year I’ve tried lots of different ways to exercise, from hitting the gym to running, cycling, swimming and Zumba classes. Variety appeals to me, and I think that’s what’s attracting me to the beginners’ Triathlon, which is the next fitness really important both challenge I’m tackling!” What you eat and drink is ahead, eat lots of fruit n So, what is a Triathlon, and can pre and post workout. Pla r body working at its best. anyone take part? Emma explains: and veg to help keep you your joint tissue and “It’s a multi-sport event that’s divided These foods help to rebuild age during training. dam into three parts: swimming, cycling protect your cells from on good carbs such as and running. This is what makes it Before the event load up pasta and potatoes, have unique, and I like the fact that each brown bread, wholemeal day and plenty of water. the on ‘event’ requires your body to perform a healthy breakfast energy, and electrolyte in a different way. Use high glucose drinks for through sweating, lose ’ll “I’ve done my research, and, if you’re drinks to replace salt you moderately fit, and do the right training to help prevent cramps. ourite And, Emma’s personal fav with few a – jelly sweets – have st boo ar sug a you you to give ! flag to rt sta you en wh
Fuel for the fire
events in a triathlon
Swimming (half-mile) As you are swimming, lift your head every few strokes to check you are on course, and try to come up for air from both your left and right sides. Although the most popular swimming stroke to use is the front crawl, if you tire, you can use breaststroke for a while, returning to the front crawl when you can. You’ll be wearing a wetsuit to swim during your triathlon, so make sure you train in one so that it doesn’t slow you down. Professional triathletes recommend you start your swim fast, to avoid overcrowding and being injured by other competitors, but bear in mind you still have another two events to complete.
Cycling (12 miles) This is the longest part of the triathlon. You need to make sure that whatever bike you train with you use on the day. So get to know how it moves, the weight, gears and braking. It’s also important to know your distance and type of course. Is it hilly, flat, rough or smooth? Then, base your training around the distance and course, starting slowly and building up distance and speed over a period of weeks and months before the event. And, make sure that your bike is serviced before the ride, and that during it you have plenty of fresh water to drink to keep you hydrated.
Running (3.2 miles) You’ve completed your swim and cycle and no doubt you’ll be a bit tired (I know I will be). My advice here is soldier on! The transition from a cycle to a run can be difficult because your legs will be tired and how you perform will define your finish position. But who cares if you lose? It’s the taking part that counts, right? And completing a Triathlon – that’s an achievement in itself!
I’ve been to
Delivery Manager Nuneaton station
Performance Process Manager 102 New Street, Birmingham
Two colleagues – let’s see how their answers compare... I’m a delivery manager at my home station Nuneaton, and at eight others in our network.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
It’s really varied: one day I’ll be litter picking and servicing a ticket machine, and the next I’m downloading CCTV and hosting a visit from the local MP.
What does it involve?
Looking after people, and the industry’s family atmosphere.
What do you enjoy?
Because of the complexity of the railway, sometimes things don’t happen very quickly. That’s not always down to us, and it can be frustrating. For example, Tamworth’s due to be refurbished, but there’s a delay.
What’s the biggest challenge?
I’d make the Trent Valley service half hourly. It’s hourly at the moment, but there’s demand for more, and it would help to grow our business. We should tap into that opportunity. Very busy. Nuneaton is going to be a hub station through the Passenger Information During Disruption scheme, so there’ll be lots more responsibility for us.
By giving them what they need to do their jobs and to help our customers.
They say I’m positive, flexible and a good leader. I like going camping with my son Caton who’s six. I also do a bit of gardening, and have a vegetable patch that produces delicious peas!
I make sure that we have the right processes in place to monitor, manage and improve our performance.
What would you change?
It’s detailed and involves a lot of number crunching. I gather and monitor performance data, interpret this and look at where changes are required to help improve our performance. It’s a constant cycle of ‘plan, do, and review’.
Seeing something change for the better.
Repeat problems that are out of our control, such as fare-dodging incidents and fatalities.
I’d improve the information we receive from Network Rail. For example, when there’s a points failure, they can’t always tell us which part of the point is affected. But we need to know so that we can spot trends and make changes where needed. It’s a never-ending cycle! We work on a four-week periodic basis. So, we start on week one, it’s busy and maintains that pace until about week three, by which time we’re preparing to start the next one.
What DOES 2012 look like for you?
How do you help colleagues?
By making sure that our ‘root cause’ data is right, helping us plan the right type of performance improvements. The financial penalties or bonuses we incur because of our performance, or that of Network Rail, can vary from £200,000 to £500,000 a month. Getting things right is crucial.
How would colleagues describe you?
As conscientious, hardworking, and a ‘numbers person’.
What’s your favourite thing to do?
Travelling – I’ve been to about 40 countries so far. I also do a lot of hillwalking.
for Ged go Paul!
onductor Manager Paul Temple has tried to tackle his fear of heights – abseiling the National Lift Tower! Paul, from Northampton, abseiled the 127 metre tower in January, and admits that despite completing it he’s still “petrified” of heights. But, following successful treatment for an abnormal heart rhythm a couple of years ago, he promised himself he’d “test the ticker out and raise some money for charity anyway”. He says: “My legs went to jelly when I got to the top, and I slowly made my way down without looking at the ground. I’m still scared of heights, but glad that I did it.” Paul’s abseil has raised more than £400 for nearby Willen Hospice.
hank you to everyone who attended our annual Tyseley Christmas Charity Disco and Auction – and to colleagues and friends for some amazing prizes. Tyseley Technician Bob Glover set up the charity event three years ago, in memory of former colleague Ged Mahon who died of cancer in 2008. Uniplan Production Clerk Simon Bose, who was DJ and helped organise the disco with Bob and Facilities Technical Clerk Sara Burd, says: “Ged was a great guy, friendly, a real joker and a good lad to work with. The event is about remembering him, having fun with colleagues, and raising money for the hospice that cared for Ged and do a fantastic job for other people every day.”
raised for St Mary’s Hospice in Birmingham
The evening included a disco, Play Your Cards Right and Bingo games, as well as an auction. “We had a really great auction,” says Simon. “With items donated to us from Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham City and Aston Villa football clubs, Universal Studios, darts legend Phil Taylor, London Midland, a hotel and beauty company.” Engineering Director Neil Bamford, who was at the event, adds: “It’s clear to see all the hard work, dedication and effort put in by colleagues who organised the event along with the generosity of all who attended. It was an excellent and enjoyable evening, really demonstrating the togetherness of the London Midland family.” The event has raised a record £2,533.57 for St Mary’s Hospice in Birmingham. Colleagues are invited to this year’s event on 14 December. For more information about it, contact Simon on 07768 164737.
We’re giving away an amazing Amazon Kindle Keyboard. This model is lighter than a paperback and can hold up to 3,500 books. It has a built in Wi-Fi and free 3G, which means you can download books in 60 seconds. Plus, a single battery charge can last up to two months! For your chance to win, simply answer the following question:
A Kind an entle Keyboa rd ir yo e librar ur fing y at ertips
Q: What was our PPM in Period 12? Put the word ‘Kindle’ in the title of an email and send your answer, with your name, job title, location and contact details to email@example.com or text your answer and details to 07530 973042.
w his tle
paul’s a good sport
The closing date for entries is Friday 20 April. The winner will be selected at random. Please note there is only one prize.
to Michael Stokes, Train Service Manager West Coast, who won the £200 Red Letter Days gift card competition (Issue 4). He said: “Wow, I’m flabbergasted, thank you so much I’m going to treat my wife and I to something special.” Michael’s wife Kelly hasn’t been well recently, so he’s looking forward to surprising her.