Page 1





Meet the Benefits Champions

SLaivye Say


Information Services Team

f e b r u a r y 2 012


Your questions answered


Protecting our environment

and much more...

your sneak peek

regular news and views on everything northern

upfront F E B R U A R Y 2 0 12

Dear colleague, As this is the first Your Northern since Christmas we’d like to wish you all a happy new year!


e’ve got lots to tell you about this month and lots of exciting projects for the year ahead. Last year we produced Forward 2011, our three-year business plan. We’ve kept the same strategies and objectives for this year but we’ve updated and fine-tuned them in Forward 2012 which will be available shortly. We’ve also included an additional strategic foundation, Society, and a fifth value, Efficiency. Our Customers Operational Commercial Our People Society Society reflects the importance of our interaction with local communities and our impact on the environment. YOUR COVER STAR Adedeji Ademola from Knutsford station

Efficiency is about how we can work differently, achieving better results with the same amount of time and resources. We’ve changed the names of two foundations – Customer becomes Our Customers, and Cultural is now Our People. The changes reflect the focus that we place on these important areas of activities and you’ll notice the new names in other plans and documents, such as Team Talk.

We’re pleased to report that we’ve achieved an overall satisfaction result of 83% in the results of the National Passenger Survey.

And we’re pleased to report that we’ve achieved an overall satisfaction result of 83% in the results of the National Passenger Survey (NPS). This took place throughout autumn 2011 and it means our score is up by one percentage point against the same time last year.

well and where we can improve. We’re delighted that we’ve seen an overall increase and we want to say thank you for working so hard to impress our customers. There’s a lot more to do but we’re confident we have the right plans in place to get us there.

Passenger Focus, the consumer watchdog for rail passengers, runs the NPS every six months for all train operating companies. The survey asks passengers for their views about our trains and stations, and this gives us a good indication about where our customers feel we’re doing

Have a good month.

Steve Butcher

Ian Bevan

Chief Operating Officer Managing Director



performance dashboard fleet

� In the past month...

Once again we had some great reliability results across our fleet; most notably the Class 144 and Class 153 trains which achieved 7,837 and 12,686 Miles Per Casualty (MPC) respectively. These excellent results pushed our latest 12-month average MPC to a record high of 6,956 and we’re delighted our customers are seeing the benefits of your hard work.


� Fleet reliability (miles per casualty)

� In the past year...

� Presentation



Last month was a bit of a mixed bag of results but what we’re really pleased about is that when we look at the year as a whole the number of customer and colleague accidents was much lower than the previous year. Your focus on safe behaviour has made a huge difference so we’re now going to be working on reinforcing the key behaviours and introducing near-miss reporting. The Safety Team will let you know more about this soon. worse than target

on target

better than target

� Customer ACCIDENTS




6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DAYS



� Employee

86 85


� Failures to call and SPADs













our target

89.6 89.8

6,000 6,500 7,000 MILES PER CASUALTY


91 90


� Days availability

customer service We’re really pleased that on both of our Areas the station service quality (SQ) score was better than target, which means all our customers are experiencing the improvement you’re making to the way we present our stations. Our train SQ scores fell back a bit, but they’re still much better than this time last year and we expect them to get even better as we move out of winter.

6,956 miles

MPC MAA 5,000

Even though we’re right in the middle of a traditionally difficult time of year, our performance was excellent last month. Almost nine out of ten trains arrived on time despite the challenges of: track defects; signalling failures; and the implementation of Government’s HLOS (i.e. additional trains for the industry), where many train and resource plans changed. This performance is a credit to us all and we should be proud of the service we’re offering our customers.

7,293 miles














10 11 12 13 14


northernnewsround C U S T O M E R

Olympic planning Customers wanting to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer will find it much easier to get there thanks to train operating companies working closely together. At Northern, our Commercial and Performance and Planning teams will ensure we match the needs of customers wanting to get to the Games and make sure we keep the Department for Transport up-to-date with our plans. O P E R A T I O N A L


N E W S . . .

Operation Tornado

Breakdown investigation

Early last month Operation Tornado began, to combat the increasing problem of metal theft.

At the start of the year we had a problem with the drive mechanism on one of our Class 158 trains. As a result we’re going to have the incident investigated to understand whether we need to carry out any additional checks on our other trains.

The trial scheme was launched by Lord Henley, Minister for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction, and involves scrap metal recyclers throughout North East England. The scheme requires anyone selling scrap metal to participating dealers in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland to provide proof of identity with a photo card. At the moment, a seller doesn’t have to provide any ID so there’s no record of any transaction and we can’t trace where the metal has come from. The trial will last for six months before being reviewed and potentially rolled-out to other areas. We’re delighted that cable theft is now being tackled at the highest level and hope that through everyone working together we will have fewer delays due to signalling problems caused by stolen cable. 4 / F E B R uary

The success goes on With our behavioural safety presentations and roadshows being such a huge success, we aim to keep the momentum going throughout 2012. So our Safety Business Partners and Health and Safety Coordinators have been fully involved in the design of the safety briefs you’ll be receiving soon.


C u l tura l

N E W S . . .

Cleaner trains Our customers will soon benefit from even cleaner trains when improvements to the washer machines at Blackpool and Hull Botanic Gardens are completed. We plan to make similar improvements to the washer facilities at Sheffield in March so even more customers will experience how clean our trains can be. With such a difference to the cleanliness, we anticipate an improvement in our train service quality scores too.

Listening to our customers Last year we introduced our Mystery Shop Audits to get an understanding of whether we are making the changes our customers want. We’re pleased to see that we’re making some progress; however there are other things we need to do better. For example, wearing name badges, controlling litter and using our public address systems correctly.

We are delighted to be able to provide you with an improved employee assistance programme for 2012. Heath Assured will be our provider and you now have access to up to eight free, face-to-face sessions and a range of new services. Further information on Health Assured can be found in the special brief we sent out earlier this month.

Claiming damages If you’re one of the few colleagues assaulted at work, you may be able to claim damages from the assailant or from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. If you do submit a claim, you must ensure you include an estimate of the amount of gross sick pay which needs to be repaid to the company. To get this figure, contact the Payroll Department on 0161 822 1021. Once you’ve received the payment from a successful claim, you can send a cheque payable to Northern Rail to cover the amount advised by payroll.

Pensions We have been asked to be part of a team to help plan the future of pensions within the rail industry. We’ve only had one meeting so far and are working closely with the unions to develop a scheme which suits employees and businesses. We’ll keep you informed about how we’re getting on.


Christmas marketing campaign The final part of our Christmas marketing activity was our Christmas advent calendar promotion which gave customers an opportunity to win prizes and daily money-off vouchers. It was promoted on our website homepage, Customer Relations’ electronic communications and on our Duo Facebook page. The advent calendar was really popular and over 35,000 customers viewed it in December. O T H E R

N E W S . . .

Greater Anglia rail franchise On 5 February Abellio, one of our parent companies, began operating the Greater Anglia franchise. Greater Anglia runs local, regional and commuter services from London Liverpool Street to Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of north and Greater London with over 2 million passengers per week. It will also provide a major transport link for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. During the 2½ year franchise Managing Director Ruud Haket, whom some of you will remember as our former Engineering Director, will lead the team to improve customer service, revenue protection and performance. FEBRUARY / 5

northern newsround


Improved employee assistance programme for 2012

N E W S . . .

you! it’s all abo ut

safety roadshows | Benefit Champions | Northern Rail Cup | cable theft day of action

Jonathan Donohoe

1st Prize

Safety game Our safety roadshows were an immediate success last year and together we’ve made Northern an even safer place to work.


t the roadshows we explained how behaviour affects your safety and we gave details of how to enter our online safety game where you were able to learn more and had the opportunity to win some early festive cheer. Well hundreds of you did just that and in December the ten lucky winners were given an early Christmas present when we gave them their prizes. Our 2nd prize winner, Chris, won the gym membership but admitted he wouldn't use it. He chose to take £200 in shopping vouchers and donate the other £200 to the Brain Tumour Research charity in memory of former colleague Steve Pilmer. We’d like to say thank you to everyone who entered the competition, congratulations to the winners but, more importantly, we’re delighted that you’re helping make Northern even safer. 6 / F E B R uary

2nd Prize

Christopher Avis

3rd Brendan






£500 shopping vouchers

Jonathan Donohoe, Newton Heath depot


£400 gym membership

Christopher Avis, Neville Hill depot


Xbox 360

Brendan Squire, Neville Hill depot


Nintendo Wii

Nicholas Swithenbank, Neville Hill depot


£100 shopping vouchers

Warren Moorfield, driver from Wigan


£50 shopping vouchers

Angela Hough, Senior Payroll Officer, Square One


£50 shopping vouchers

Eric Davies, conductor from Wigan


£50 shopping vouchers

Neil Colley, Newton Heath depot


£25 shopping vouchers

Amanda Bradshaw, Conductor from Leeds


£25 shopping vouchers

Joan Redford, TPO from Manchester Victoria

At Northern we aim to provide all colleagues with an excellent benefits package and we’re always on the look-out for new ideas of how we can add value for you as a Northern employee.

O � Rugby tickets The Northern Rail Cup competition starts in February and we have three pairs of tickets to give away for each of the group stage matches. We’ve also got a limited number of tickets for Superleague matches. Look out for special briefs on noticeboards and on the intranet with details of fixtures and how to apply for tickets.

ne of the things we‘re currently trialling is to create more focus on the local benefits available in your area. To get things moving, we’ve enlisted the help of a group of people, the Benefits Champions, to look into the best discounts or benefits available at your location. The idea is that they will then let you know at a local level all the things which are available to you. Our benefits champions are: NAME




Billy Mawson

Conductor Team Manager (CTM)



Angela Hough

Senior Payroll Officer



Dave Morris




Dave Stinson




This is something new for us at Northern and the Champions would appreciate your help so if you can point them in the right direction please send them an email. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about your benefits package or any particular Northern initiatives you can contact Paul Stephen, Compensation and Benefits Manager, at or on 07736 499 566.

� National cable day of action Six arrests were made during a national day of action aimed at targeting cable theft. At the end of 2011 British Transport Police, Network Rail, the Environment Agency, BT Openreach and local police forces pooled their resources to target cable theft across North England. Their combined efforts proved really successful, with six people being arrested, 172 scrap metal recyclers visited, eight seizures of large amounts of stolen metal and even a gun being recovered.

During the day of action, BTP officers patrolled railway lines throughout our area, known cable offenders were paid a visit by police officers and cable theft awareness leaflets were distributed to houses in hotspot areas including Wakefield and Northumberland. It’s great to see the benefit that combined action brings in tackling those criminals who disrupt our trains, colleagues and customers.


northern people

Meet the Benefits Champions!

talking customer

Thanks to you!

our the lovely letters that Here's a selection of 've ly sent in because they customers have recent ... em th e service you've given been delighted with th

Re : Superb ambassador!


“May I heap praise on conductor Gary Shadforth from Middlesbrough depot? Consistently lovely level of service, always asks how your day has been and generally a superb ambassador for Northern – quite frankly you have superb staff on the Seaham – Prudhoe corridor, so well done guys!”

Emails Mr J T

Re : Thank you “I just thought I’d contact you to say thanks for two splendid free trips taken with my free tickets for registering with your website. Firstly my brother and myself travelled via the Cumbrian Coast to Carlisle then down the Settle and Carlisle line to Skipton and back along the dales line to Carnforth, before returning to the Furness line. All services were on time, clean and with attentive staff; an excellent trip out.” Writes Mr N A

Re: Speedy service Re : Comfort and kindness “I’ve just purchased a ticket at Chorley and I’d like to say how helpful the chap in the ticket office is. Without asking I was given a printout of my route, which was a quicker one than I’d planned myself online. I was very impressed by his speed of unprompted service and it was a very pleasant experience to be treated so well in a station ticket office.”

“At about 10am today a lady got off the train at Beverley station and fell heavily onto the platform causing damage to her knees. The lady booking clerk went to her aid and went out of her way to make the passenger a drink and give some comfort. It may have been a small act of kindness but I’m sure the elderly lady appreciated it.”

Comments Mr M M

writes Mr B C

Jonathan Hare, Hartlepool Station

Your Northern Stars for December are...

Deborah Spuhler,

Sunderland Station

When a frail customer came to the station Deborah realised that the man was also very confused and distressed. Chatting to him, she found out he lived in a care home and was undergoing treatment. She discreetly phoned the home and nurses there confirmed he was missing and that he was unfit to travel alone. Deborah calmed the gentleman and looked after him until someone could come and collect him. The judges were so impressed by Deborah’s professionalism and compassion they couldn’t fail to give her a Northern Star.

Martin Plummer,

Neville Hill Depot

One of our depot colleagues, Mujeeb Khan, sadly passed away on Christmas Day and, in keeping with his religious beliefs, the funeral was arranged for Boxing Day. Martin spent Christmas Day informing other people of the sad news and making transport arrangements so that everyone could attend the funeral. Martin dealt with the situation with great compassion for his colleagues and Mujeeb’s family under very difficult circumstances – the judges felt he was a worthy winner.

8 / F E B R uary

A customer wanted to buy his railcard at Hartlepool but didn’t have a photo and the photo booth was out of order. As this was the gentleman’s last opportunity to visit the station before travelling, Jonathan thought quickly and used his own mobile phone to take a photo and email it to himself so he could print it off. The gentleman was so impressed with this level of service that he couldn’t praise Jonathan highly enough.

Highly commended Northern Stars: �P  aul Moore, from Liverpool Lime Street Station � T racey Cooke, from Sunderland Station The £25 voucher prize draw winner, chosen at random for nominating a colleague, was Paul Henry, Station Manager from Newcastle


e conrouirm net work


Since 1 April last year we’ve successfully convicted 1,662 people and here are a handful of stories about the 98 successes that we’ve had in the past month...

I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE CHEAPER THIS WAY A passenger who avoided the barrier and exited Manchester Victoria via the Arena car park was stopped by the Revenue Delivery Team and had his details recorded. Then, while we were processing his case, he was stopped again doing the same thing because he thought nothing would happen. He was later fined £440 and picked up a criminal record for dishonesty.


£440 WHAT GOES AROUND When bailiffs knocked at his door, a passenger denied all knowledge of the offence he’d committed and went to his local court to make a declaration to that effect. When we checked the case notes we found his signature matched the one on the ‘Unpaid Fares Notice’ and re-issued the summons.




from the

Even when shown the signature evidence he maintained his notguilty plea. He was found guilty and handed a £600 fine.

MISS MARPLE Over a two-month period a lady driver who regularly parked her car illegally in a disabled bay at Marple station was issued with six 'Penalty Parking Notices'. We got her details from the DVLA and wrote to her on each occasion, but she ignored us. At court the able-bodied driver was fined £901.

fined £901


fined £260

When a lady passenger offered a ‘Northern complimentary travel voucher’ to the conductor he saw that the date had been altered more than once, so we wrote to her for an explanation. She rang the DRPU which resulted in us adding an abusive phone call charge to her other offences. At court she pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined £260.

British Transport Police A rea n orth a n d east

Suspected firearm at Leeds Station A BTP officer at Leeds station saw a suspicious man drop drugs from his pocket and alerted other colleagues. When backup arrived he was searched and a gun was found. The man then tried to escape by running down the tracks and jumping over a wall onto the street but was later arrested. The gun turned out to be a gas powered ball bearing gun, which has potential to cause serious injury.

A rea west

Update Huyton – following an assault on two colleagues and criminal damage, a swift investigation allowed BTP officers to identify the person responsible. He was immediately charged with the offences and is now on bail. Lostock Hall – a BTP officer was assaulted whilst arresting the person responsible for attacking three Northern colleagues at the station. The man has now been charged with all the offences.


fighting crime


the IS Team

Information Services (IS)

e r organisat ion

Our IS Team has had a bit of a change so we thought we’d take this opportunity to let you know what’s happened to them and how they can help you, and to answer some of your questions.

the IS Team From their bases in York and Manchester our IS colleagues provide technical support to employees using Information Technology (IT) equipment, software and phone systems. They also help with new projects and innovations such as office refurbishments or new systems like Skylight and they’ll even source new IT equipment for you.

The team supports about 2,500 colleagues and over 4,500 pieces of equipment across 250 sites in the north of England. To give such extensive support, the IS Helpdesk is manned from 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and provides a friendly and knowledgeable service.

the SAP Team In Northern we use SAP (systems applications and products) software in our Finance, Engineering, HR and Procurement teams for paying employee and suppliers, tracking Engineering work orders and ordering goods and services. Jonathan (top) and Paul are responsible for the whole system and are working hard to improve it even further. 10 /

The aim is to fix 70% of problems within an hour, with remaining issues usually getting fixed within four days. Occasionally it can take several weeks to solve a problem if we need to get other organisations involved, e.g. Network Rail, BT, etc. This is rare though and IS colleagues will keep you informed of any situation like this.

The idea behind the restructure was to ensure that you all receive excellent IT support, and to improve software development and the Management Information Systems of the organisation.

frequently asked questions Here are the answers to your frequently asked questions, which will help you get the best out of the IS Team:

I have a technical problem with my IT equipment – how do I contact IS for help? If it’s urgent, call the IS Helpdesk on 01904 568000. If non-urgent, send an email to I have a complaint about the service you have provided, who should I speak to? We take all complaints seriously and you should contact Rob White, Technical Support Team Leader on 07795 008651. If the matter isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, then contact Dougie Henderson, Service Operations Manager on 07795 008696. What equipment is supported by IS?

• • • •

We can help if you have a problem with: desktop PCs and monitors or laptops fax or landline telephones phone lines, wireless networks and data connections support equipment such as printers, projectors, OTMR cards, mice and keyboards all software systems What equipment isn’t supported by IS?

If you have a fault with the following equipment, you need to speak directly to the supplier: • Avantix ticket machines (contact Atos helpdesk on 01270 612612) • FasTis ticket machines (contact Cubic helpdesk on 0845 641 5255) • Ticket Vending Machines (Contact Parkeon helpdesk on 0208 4041274 or S and B helpdesk on 01372 230410) • ticket gates (contact S and B helpdesk on 01372 230410) • printer cartridges and consumables e.g. paper (contact Danwood on 08700 123123)

Will I get a better service if I walk up to the helpdesk in person? No, the Helpdesk is designed to deal with phone or email enquiries only. I want to purchase new IT equipment – how much notice is required and how is it paid for? You need to complete a ‘Purchase Request’ form, which can be found on the intranet (http://newnet/departments/is/ request/default.aspx). Once the form is signed-off by your manager, the IS Helpdesk will process your request. Your equipment will be paid for by your local department and requires financial approval. Some requests such as laptop purchases can take three or four weeks to complete, so please provide plenty of notice. IS is currently finalising a ‘Service Charter’ document which will give details of our procurement targets. Does IS provide detailed training for software or hardware? Generally, we do not provide IT training for software such as Microsoft Office. However, if you’ve been working on a project alongside IS such as Excalibur, you will receive guidance. I’m involved in a project which requires assistance from the IS Team; how do I obtain support? Pass your requirements to the IS Helpdesk, giving as much notice as possible. Your request will then be passed to the person who is best able to help you. Can you advise which laptop and version of Office I can request for a new starter? We provide a standard model of laptop, which has been selected for quality and good value. If you’re upgrading your laptop, you’ll be asked to retain your current version of Office. F E B R U A R Y / 11

the IS Team

the reorganisation

your tell us and s ie stor h 0 wor t get £1 pping of sho ers! vouch

A ward

ho n our

Phil and his MBE We’re delighted to say that former Northern Area Operations Manager, Phil Thickett, who dedicated fifty years to the rail industry, has received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

I’m pleased to say that last month we achieved another year-on-year performance improvement which means our Moving Annual Average Public Performance Measure (MAA PPM) is 91.7%.


n ew

statio n

e n tra n ce Photo courtsey of Welcome to Yorkshire

his is a terrific result after such a difficult summer caused mainly by Network Rail issues, and is testament to the hard work of the whole Area team, the autumn preparation by Engineering and Performance and Planning, and improved delivery by Network Rail. The real winners, though, are our customers, because in the past 12 months 91.7% of our trains got them to their destinations on time.

Phil was nominated by Northern thanks career ladder to Northern’s Area to his overwhelming commitment and Operations Manager, where he willingness to help and support others, managed more than 700 colleagues both inside and outside the company. and more than 1,200 trains every He’s mentored many day across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire school children on a until his retirement Phil began his career as last May. voluntary basis and during his time at an apprentice in 1961 On receiving his Northern supported and worked his way award Phil said: countless projects “I couldn’t believe up the career ladder and charity events, it when I was told even ones outside to Northern’s Area the news. I’ve seen of his area. Operations Manager. many changes to We’re incredibly proud the railway over of Phil and pleased he’s received the last fifty years this fantastic honour. and, for me, it was about embracing change and providing a service for Phil began his career as an apprentice thousands of people every day.” in 1961 and worked his way up the

These results have been achieved through hard work, skill and determination by everyone in the Area. We’ve faced some challenges but still managed to deliver the improvement our customers want. We know we still have more to do and are determined to make the Area and Northern even more successful.

� Service Quality (SQ) Station presentation scores continue to be better than target and we can make some quick improvements by focusing on gritting and ticket office opening times. Our train scores were slightly down on last month and we need to concentrate on interior and exterior cleanliness.

Richard Allan, Assistant Area Director North & East 12 / F E B R uary

Easing congestion at Leeds station Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, and Network Rail are in the final stages of planning a new south entrance at Leeds station. The new entrance is expected to cost £12m and will provide direct access between the station and the business and residential district across the River Aire when it opens in 2014. An estimated 20,000 passengers are expected to use the new entrance which will ease congestion at the ticket barriers during peak times.

stude n t

rai l


area north & east

Meadowhall day out Thanks to John Smith-Warren, Conductor at Leeds, 12 visually impaired students from Crofton High School in Wakefield enjoyed a rail trip to Meadowhall. We provided free travel on our trains for the students and their support team.

phil with his wife elizabeth at recent 50 years in service celebrations

fu n draisi n g

For us, it was all about helping them build their confidence and enjoy themselves with teachers and friends and as they all had a great day out shopping and travelling on our trains, we think we got it just right.


Supporting the Brain Tumour Research charity Friends of our late colleague Steve Pilmer, driver from Leeds, have raised an amazing £10,000 for Brain Tumour Research in his memory.

billy pearce with s t


It all began when a friend of Steve’s approached comedian Billy Pearce and asked if he wanted to help raise funds. He kindly agreed to do a free, two-hour show at Horbury Working Men's club near Wakefield and duly turned up with a warm-up act and local soloist Lucas Primmer. With prizes and items donated by railway colleagues, Horbury WMC and Steve’s friends and family, a very successful auction took place with all the money going to the charity. The team involved in the fundraising would like to thank everyone who helped with the social event, the fundraising and those who donated time and prizes too.

� HAPPY RETIREMENT TO IAN Ian Ramsay, Contracts Manager, Projects, thoroughly enjoyed his retirement luncheon with his wife and colleagues last month. Over the years, Ian has mainly worked in Area North & East, successfully delivering many Estates projects, so the Estates team made sure they were all there to wish him all the best.

� MORE CUSTOMER INFORMATION SCREENS We’re delighted that the installation of customer information screens (CIS), funded by Northern and Metro, West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, has started at 18 stations. This is the third phase of a longstanding partnership that has already allowed us to install CIS at 53 other stations.

� MORPETH STATION Our planned improvements for Morpeth station, such as subway cladding, a customer information screen, CCTV and waiting shelters will be carried out by Network Rail. The work is part of their Access for All scheme which will improve disabled access at stations across the country.


Sadly Steve passed away three days after enjoying the Billy Pearce night and will be sorely missed. In his memory, the fundraising efforts will continue and if you’d like to know more, contact Adam Sykes by emailing

John Hanslip, Driver from Leeds, Richard Riby, Driver from Hull, Don Whitelaw, Conductor from York, Brian Foskett, Conductor from Carlisle, Harry Murphy, Conductor from Newcastle, and Scott Walker, Driver from Hull who are the area’s delay-repor ting prize-winners for periods 9 and 10.

F E B R U A R Y / 13

your tell us and s ie stor h 0 wor t get £1 pping of sho ers! vouch

As one year ends another begins and I’m delighted to say that we closed 2011 on a positive note when we achieved some excellent performance figures. We started 2012 with our PPM on or above targets.


Behaving responsibly award

Pupils at Pinfold Primary School in Hattersley had the chance to question David Wilkinson, Community Safety Officer, about railway safety.

wi n n ers

Along with the Friends of Hattersley Group and station manager Theo McLauchlan, David spoke to the children about rail safety and explained the dangers that are at stations.

oth Performance Monitoring Units (PMUs) beat their Public Performance Measure (PPM) target.

Lancashire and Cumbria achieved a PPM of 89.3%, a massive 8.5% ahead of target and Manchester and Liverpool’s PPM of 87.9% was a 3.7% improvement on the previous year. The mild weather has helped, of course; however, we should remember it’s your hard work that is making the difference for our customers.

Leading into Christmas, we carried a record number of customers in Area West with many of them on our Manchester Victoria to Rochdale route. As a result of the immense demand, we worked hard to address the issues we faced on this route and additional trains were introduced on Saturdays to alleviate the pressure – this worked well but we’re still looking to provide more capacity where we can.

� Service Quality (SQ) The score for the way we present our stations has improved for the third month in a row. We now need to concentrate on seats and shelters to make them even better for customers. Our train scores fell, though, and this was mainly due to exterior cleanliness.

Lee Wasnidge, Area Director West 14 / F E B R uary

Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards

The children were asked what they could do to keep safe and there was a ‘question time’ with prizes up for grabs. The assembly was a great success with all of the children taking the opportunity to find out more about the railway. tria l

We’re delighted to say that at the annual Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards, Northern stations went down a storm. Our winning stations were: •N  orthwich: Cheshire West and t io ha Chester Award n d f o r t h s ta •G  reenbank: ACoRP Award • Chelford: Best Kept Gardens Award • Holmes Chapel: Customer Care Award • Rose Hill: Cheshire Community Award • Lostock Gralam: Most Improved Station Award • Handforth: Big Society Award



rai l way


emp l oyme n t

ope n


Working alongside our Community Ambassadors and Job Centre Plus, the Recruitment Team held an open day at Farnworth Community Centre to talk to local people about employment opportunities. The small community near Bolton has higher than average unemployment levels so was an excellent location for our Recruitment team to help local residents. They gave tips on career choices, application processes, interviews and CV writing. The event was a great success; helping people find employment and raising Northern’s profile. Of the hundred people who attended, many didn’t realise the range of roles we recruit for or appreciate how conveniently located they were to apply

for any of our Manchesterbased vacancies. Clearly we thought it went well, but what do the local residents think? Well, one said, ‘It’s great Northern came to visit our little town. I’ve been given some sound advice and know you’ve helped me improve my chances of getting back into work.” After such a successful day the Recruitment Team is planning to arrange more visits to local areas and to help even more people in their search for employment.

Cumbria trial Our trial service on the Cumbria Coast has been introduced thanks to Northern colleagues working tirelessly to ensure its success.

area west

Recruitment Team help local community find work � POLICE FORCES WORKING TOGETHER Following robberies at Cheadle Hulme, Guide Bridge and East Didsbury stations, BTP officers, Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Police are combining their resources to investigate the incidents and catch the offenders. Extra patrols are also taking place.

� CUSTOMER INFORMATION SCREENS We’re delighted customers of Earlestown and Flowery Fields stations are benefiting from the new customer information screens we’ve installed.

� MANCHESTER OXFORD ROAD The Local Authority has yet to make a decision on the Listed Building Consent application for our ticket counter refurbishment work. We’ll let you know how we get on once they decide.

The trial consists of two additional trains being resourced and operated by our partners DRS and is aimed at benefiting Sellafield workers, although other Cumbrian Coast users will benefit too. Initial feedback has been really positive and we’ve seen a substantial number of additional passengers using this new service. We’re now looking at future plans for Sellafield so that once the trial is completed we do not disappoint any of our customers. We believe that there could be an extra 2,000 people a day using the service to get to the nuclear facility.


Raymond Potts, Conductor from Manchester Piccadilly, Jeffrey Kelly, Conduc tor from Liverpool, Steven Smith, Conductor from Man chester Victoria, Gavin Walker, Conductor from Blac kpool, Paul Gregory, Conductor from Buxton, and Steven Green, Conductor from Manchester Vict oria who are the area’s delay-reporting prizewinners for periods 9 and 10.

F E B R U A R Y / 15

ngineering and depot


Last month our customers benefited from record high reliability figures and consistent availability of trains. Our delay minutes were worse than target though, with non-technical delays categorised as unexplained in traincrew reports being the main problem. We’re looking into how we can make improvements here.

Stuart Draper, Engineering Director


Heaton and North District From John Alexander, District Maintenance Manager North...

� NORTHERN SERVICES FOR GRAND CENTRAL Grand Central is currently reviewing the services provided under the maintenance agreement so we’re planning to meet them to try to secure a long term contract until the end of the Northern franchise.

� DROP PIT AT ALLERTON Since opening, the performance at Allerton depot has been really good and to help colleagues there even more we expect the drop pit, side pit and under-frame work to be completed later this month.

� SANDERS ON ALL DIESEL TRAINS We’ve started to fit sanders to all our Class 150 fleet and the system we’re using is operational in brake step two. This programme is part of a Network Rail plan to fit sanders to all diesel trains before Autumn 2012.

16 / F E B R uary

I’d like to start by wishing you all a happy new year. I hope you all had a happy festive season and recharged your batteries. And now we need to think about 2012! Stuart Draper and members of your management team will be visiting local roadshows to talk about our achievements in 2011 and the challenges we face in 2012. Dates have been communicated in local briefs and we look forward to seeing you there. In 2011 we’ve had great success with Union Learning, a joint initiative between Trade Unions and Northern. Union Learn reps Grant Scott and Steve Cambridge worked with Depot Manager Rob Clayton and City of Sunderland College to set up lessons in Maths and English.

Union Learn gives people the opportunity to gain skills for life and is supported by the government: each new qualification is rewarded with a £50 payment into a learning fund for investment into future initiatives. For District North this means we’ve £1,150 in our fund so we’re planning more lessons for 2012 including opportunities in IT training. Congratulations to 15 colleagues who recently gained qualifications through the scheme: •W  illiam Wishart • Simon Winn • Thomas White • Alan Russell • Trevor Manuel • John James • Martin Hopps • J ames Henderson

• Fiona Garvock • Michael Currie • John Candlish • Steven Cambridge • Richard Burke • Janet Anderson • Kenneth Allen

From Dave Allen, District Maintenance Manager West...

Firstly, I wish you and all and your families a belated happy new year. 2011 was a great year for district west with some “franchise bests” and we’ve come into 2012 with a strong performance which I know we can continue. However, a taskforce has been set up, headed by Simon Crabtree, to tackle our recent poor SQM scores. None of us want to send out units in a poor condition so our focus for 2012 is to exceed our 86.5% target.

operations have worked really hard to help with our projects such as exam movements, sanders, door modifications and GSM-R; I know it’s been a difficult few months, but we want to be in the best possible position to help win the next franchise and also help our customers with reliable trains so thank you to everyone for your support. Finally, a fond farewell and best wishes to Alan Stazicker and Trevor Taylor, who have decided to hang up their boots after 42 and 37 years service respectively, and a big welcome our two new engineering apprentices, Thomas Hollman and Ryan Barker.

Allerton depot is now up and running with Graham Burke and Dave Collins recently appointed as part of the management team. Our colleagues in

Neville Hill and East District From Julia Wraithmell, District Maintenance Manager East...

Life is always busy in District East and the run up to Christmas was especially hectic. The HLOS work included infrastructure projects and additional rolling stock; and of course winterisation required lots of focus and dedication from the team. The New Year will of course bring more challenges and I know, together, we’ll overcome them. Our performance isn’t as consistent as we’d like in terms of both reliability and availability. We’re therefore looking at our plan for routine maintenance to ensure we achieve the consistency our customers deserve. We’re also working with our partners to improve material supplies and build our relationships with East Midlands Trains. Trials are taking place at Sheffield with the wash facility which includes new brushes, water tanks and a chemical specifically designed for Northern. Once successful, the

enhancements will benefit the environment by using less water and improve the quality of our cleaning on the exterior of trains. We have an awful lot of people who go above and beyond their day-to day roles. Ian Brewster, Electrician at Neville Hill, is one such person. Whilst travelling to work one morning, his train developed a significant fault. Ian immediately offered his services and repaired the train, much to the delight of the traincrew and customers on board. His assistance was duly commended with the awarding of a Northern star.

TPO Talk by Keith Healicon, Area Train Presentation Supervisor

l-r: chris burke, joan redford and stephen jenkins

The Victorian Samaritans Festive cheer was certainly on the cards for three customers at Manchester Victoria station. Amazingly they all mislaid money over the busy holiday period and all three had it returned thanks to the vigilance of our Train Presentation Operatives (TPOs). The TPOs involved were Chris Burke, Stephen Jenkins and Joan Redford who all received commendations for being so vigilant and finding and returning the lost money. It all began when Chris Burke found a purse on the platform of the station. After he handed it in he was delighted to find out that it had been successfully returned to an elderly lady and her granddaughter. Next, Stephen Jenkins found a wallet full of money and as he went to hand it in, he met the owner simultaneously at the customer information point, who’d rushed there to see if anyone had handed in the wallet. Then, Joan Redford was approached by two young men who said they were chasing a ‘lost cause’. Earlier in the day they’d travelled on a busy Blackpool train and later one of them had discovered he’d lost his wallet. Joan then opened the doors of the train so that they could search for it and, unbelievably, it was soon found and still contained £400 cash. What a happy ending to 2011. F E B R U A R Y / 17


Newton Heath and West District


Say Say e v i L Once again our mail bag is bulging, and we’re delighted so many of you are getting in touch with your comments, questions and great ideas. Thank you to everyone who wrote in last month, there were so many great letters and questions, we wanted to reply to them all. We’ve included a selection here and will try and answer the rest in the next issue.



Are police officers who travel in driving cabs as part of their work allowed to keep their communication equipment on and use it in the cab?

Anyone travelling in a driving cab must have their mobile phone and any other electronic device switched off to avoid distracting the driver. BTP officers are issued with ear pieces which are part of their uniform and should be worn. The ear pieces channel radio traffic to them but the information can’t be heard by anyone else but, as train crew colleagues are responsible for their train’s safety, BTP officers will be guided by individual drivers as to what’s appropriate for their driving cab.



I’ve sent in suggestions and comments, with my name and pay number on but I never see them in Your Northern.


We get many comments sent in to us each month and we’d just like to reassure you that we read every one of them. Through Your Northern we can only answer a selection of comments but we do pass suggestions and feedback on to colleagues where we can.

18 / F E B R uary

We’ve had a lot of feedback about the fact we didn’t send vouchers out before Christmas. As we’ve already said, this was a very difficult decision that we reluctantly had to take – we debated it for a long time, right up until the last minute, and this is why we weren’t able to let you know sooner. Many of you have asked if it’s because we don’t appreciate the hard work that you do and we would like to say quite


Why do Northern not contribute towards a conductor’s second pair of glasses?


This has been raised recently by Conductor Employee Council representatives. We’ve had lots of feedback about this so we’re now amending the Safety Management System Procedure for Visual Correction. firmly that this is not the case – we really do value your commitment, your enthusiasm, your hard work and dedication to our customers and Northern wouldn’t be the success that it is without every one of you. We’d like to reassure you that this isn’t a sign of things to come and we will be discussing vouchers again next Christmas.


Can Train Presentation teams work later in the day to get trains clean for tea time peak services?


At Barnsley we’re keen recyclers. We separate paper, cardboard and milk cartons but the whole lot is then put in the same skip!


When we’re recycling, it’s important that we separate waste. If paper and cardboard become contaminated by milk from the cartons for example, it can’t be recycled. If waste materials are kept in separate containers they can easily be transported in a larger container, such as a skip, and separated again at the contractor’s depot. If you’d like more information about our recycling our environment team will be happy to answer any queries – email them at


In April last year colleagues from Tyne Tees and Wear transferred to Area East, which is now called Area North & East, and colleagues from Lancashire and Cumbria transferred to Area West. Our area pages reflect the current organisation of our network and the delay prizes are split equally between the two areas. This month you’ll notice there are twelve winners – this is because we’ve had two operating periods within one month.


Our dry cleaning tokens are issued from a central scheme and we can’t influence which dry cleaners will accept them. The current list includes cleaners from across our network so there should be one close to you. Most of our uniform is already washable – only your jacket needs dry cleaning – and we’re looking into whether we can provide washable jackets with our new uniform issue.

What would you like to ask us this month?


ay Say e v i L Your


Why are we supplied with cleaning tokens that no-one accepts? I have to travel over 20 miles to use mine.


Why has Area North and Area East been combined in Your Northern. This means that only three winners are drawn from two areas for the delay prizes.

Your want to

your say

Our cleaning colleagues do a variety of shifts between 08.00 and 20.00. It’s more difficult to clean trains in peak times because of the numbers of customers on board but shift patterns are managed around this time to make sure trains are cleaned as often as possible. Remember, we can all help to keep trains clean for our customers by picking up litter if we see it, whatever the time of day.

Fill this slip in and send it back to us in the freepost envelope provided. It would help us further improve Your Northern if we know which area you work in, so please tick one of the boxes below:

area north & east

area west

central services

engineering F E B R U A R Y / 19

t u sh that door Getting our trains to warm up quickly is really important at this time of year and we understand it’s sometimes difficult to do on the trains we run.


Did you know that if doors are left eeping them warm for open when the train is at a buffer our customers is equally stop or at a depot, the energy as challenging. usage is almost doubled? If this However, making happened for all sure doors and our diesel trains windows are It’s time to shut all year, we’d closed as much those doors and waste the same as possible windows whenever amount of energy could make all the difference we can, to keep those as 62 households would use in a year. to you and your on-board comfortable passengers’ It’s time to shut comfort. and to protect our those doors and windows whenever We should all environment. we can, to keep think about how those on-board much energy is wasted if doors comfortable and to protect and windows are left open when our environment. Little things the train’s unmanned and not do make a difference. needed for service.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of Your Northern.

Please D E C Erecycle M B E R me / 20

Your Northern 59  
Your Northern 59  

your northern magazine issue 59