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Issue71 Regular news and views on everything Northern

May 2013

Inside this issue:



Find out how to nominate a team or colleague


Railway Benefit Fund


Right Time result


Students got crafty

02 Upfront


Our people

As Ian Bevan moves to a role as Future Franchise Director, the editorial spotlight moves to Alan Chaplin, Chief Operating Officer:


ello and welcome to issue 71 of Your Northern.

With Ian now dedicated to paving a successful path to the next Northern franchise, it’s currently my role to oversee all our activities and performance in this franchise. It’s already a year since I joined Northern. In that time I’ve met enough of you to know we can do it.

A trip to the

PRINTERS emember our Art of Safety competition for young relatives of our employees? We featured the winners and their designs in issue 67. The Safety and Assurance team thought it’d be nice to invite the winners along to the printers to see the process their successful creations went through to become posters. After the tour, the kids went on to have a pizza lunch.


We’ve got strength of character, passion and collectively, years and years of railway know-how to draw on. It’s my job to make sure we put all of that to best use and maintain the highest standards of safety, performance and customer service through everything that we do every day. So it’s exciting that we’ll be able to recognise even more of your outstanding daily contributions with the new Gold Awards. Who will our ‘Worth Their Weight in Gold’ and ‘Golden Group’ winners be? Find out about these and all the categories, plus how to nominate, in our special feature (p6-7). I’ll continue to visit as many sites as possible to find out what’s on your mind and share the latest updates with you in person. If you see me, please say hello and share your views and ideas.

Enjoying their day out, left to right: Laura Wade age 12 (Jason Wade, York); Daryl Walton age 14 (related to Chris Walton, Neville Hill), Chloe Shaw age 13 (Steve Shaw, Hull), Kieran Thompson age 9 (Stuart Broome, Newton Station).

In the meantime, enjoy this issue.”


Alan Chaplin Chief Operating Officer


“We’re all really excited about the Gold Awards – make sure you keep your nomination form from inside this issue (and use it!) There’s news of Serco’s new chosen charity on p9 and as ever the postbag has been full – you’ll find some popular questions answered in Your Say on p12. Remember, I really want your stories too! Send me any news from your station, depot or office and I’ll do my best to share it. Email me at or give me a call on 01904 568650.”

Back by popular demand! e’ve again got an exclusive offer of two for one on the Fellsman and other Statesman Rail day trips for all Northern employees. Simply call Statesman Rail on 0845 310 2458 or 2489 and quote your employee card number. Go to for more info on their day trips.


Nicola Whitefield, Internal Communications Manager

the fellsman steam train

Northern snippets What’s happening across your Northern

safety Customer – Accidents: Employee – Accidents:

Assaults: Assaults:

Failures to call: 9 SPADS: 1 Station overruns: 2

It’s all about you!

Railway benefit fund

–there when you need us

James and noah

The Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) is the rail industry’s charity. In times of need, it provides a lifeline for railway people and their dependents, both active and retired. very year, the charity spends around £500,000 providing small grants to hundreds of people. Each case is given individual consideration but most commonly, it can help with things like:


• household repairs • convalescent or respite breaks • child care grants for school clothing or special equipment • mobility aids for the disabled • funeral costs.

unded The RBF is f ons. onati entirely by d ow you can To find out h ir work, the help support e enclosed please read th you ‘There when et. need us’ leafl

In 2011, James Graham, Conductor at Blackpool, faced an incredibly difficult situation when he found out that his youngest son, Noah, needed a heart transplant. To add to the emotional turmoil, this situation created practical problems as Noah was being treated in Newcastle, a considerable distance away from the family’s home. Naturally, the family kept a round-the-clock vigil at the hospital but the wait for a suitable donor eventually led to a reduced family income. “Following advice from a friend, I contacted the RBF to see if it could help

Pension automatic enrolment

– does it affect you?

Legislation has been introduced meaning that employees (subject to specified criteria) who are not currently paying into the railway pension are required to be automatically enrolled into the scheme. f you currently pay into the railway pension scheme, this does not affect you, however legislation states that we are required to send you a letter to inform you about it.


If you do not currently pay into the railway pension scheme, this will affect you. You will be automatically enrolled on 1 May 2013. We’ll send you a letter which explains the situation. If you choose to, you can opt out, but you should act promptly. Read your letter carefully and if you have any questions about it, contact pension management (RPMI) on 0800 2343434.


us and the answer was ‘yes’. They provided grants to help us with the extra costs we were facing at the time”, said James. Thankfully, this story had a happy ending – Noah, having received a transplant, returned home to his family and James is back working for us full time. However, it highlights the fact that you never know what’s round the corner or when you, or a colleague, might need the RBF.

Simon Godfrey, a life well lived Just after Easter, hundreds of people gathered at the funeral of our friend and colleague, Simon Godfrey, who died suddenly in March. n experienced member of the Corporate Communication team, based in York, Simon was passionate about communicating clear, pertinent and accurate information to our customers and each other. Jonathan Stewart, Commercial Director said, “Simon was a caring and genuine man, whose advice, quips and word-smithing skills are sadly missed by us all”. We shared books of remembrance and funny memories with Simon’s family and are making plans for a fitting tribute to his love of cycling and ecological responsibility.




Reliability March: 8,237 MPC – second best MPC score in this franchise Moving Annual Average: 7,659 (MAA) – franchise best Availability: increase to 86.55%% vs target of 87.12%%

PPM March: 91.71% vs target of 94.05% PPM MAA: 90.67% vs target of 92.08%

04 News round-up

Loco’s Lair

Our business

A new

engagement Caroline Munday, Head of Engagement and Talent, tells us about her new role: “

t’s my job to transform how we engage people at work; helping to develop plans that build on the positive feedback we’ve had from our employee survey to continue to make Northern a great place to work for you. During my first few weeks I’ve been really impressed by the people I’ve met and the commitment to providing great customer service. People here are passionate about what they do. That shows and is reflected in our year on year survey results.


Talent isn’t about a chosen few in Northern, it’s about identifying potential at all levels and helping people to be the very best they can in their Northern careers.

People here are passionate about what they do. That shows and is reflected in our year on year survey results.

I’m also focusing on planning for the future; the skills we are going need and how we are going to develop them.

We are planning this year’s survey, and when the time comes I would encourage you to take a moment to tell us what it’s like to work for Northern. Feedback really matters and this year is no exception. If you have any views, comments or questions I’d love to hear from you: email or call me on 07810 694601.”

Loco’s Lair is a competition to gather your ideas to help us meet our sustainability targets. he Environment Team is accepting applications until 6 May, so if you hurry, you may still make it! As Your Northern went to print, the team had already received some really interesting suggestions.


Kyle Macneill, Environmental Assurance Manager, said, “Soon we’ll be judging who will be given the chance to pitch their sustainability idea in Loco’s Lair on 11 July at Eureka museum in Halifax. The brains behind the most innovative ideas will be rewarded and get support to implement their suggestions. Even if you’re not chosen to present in the Lair, we’ll still be in touch in response to your suggestion.” Will it be anyone you know? The team hopes to contact successful applicants by mid May.

Red nose day olleagues at Northern House, York, dressed down, paid for their teas and coffees and got stuck into tasty delights from a cake stall and raffle to raise £220 for Comic Relief. That’s enough to send 44 kids to school for a month. Thanks to everyone who helped and donated.


hello, WELL DONE AND FAREWELL to these starters AND movers Hello to: Derick Wilson; David Knight; Paul Gregory; Gavin Young; Jake Thompson; Christopher Watson; Mohammadarif Sheikh; Kyle Harrison; Mohmed Khalifa; Debra Blackshaw; Donna Meah; James Allman; Lynn Roberts; Rowena Burgess; Fay Forster; Jamie Wrath; Dafydd Hunt; Niki Boulton; Lorna-Jane Layland; Sarah Allison; Roger Galloway-Smith; Sharon Town; Graham Taylor;


Right Time result The industry is now reporting on ‘Right Time’, a measure of how many services arrive within a minute of their scheduled arrival time (versus PPM which records arrival within five minutes). It’s part of a move by the whole industry to be more open with information.

e’ll start to quote this more ourselves as it’s closely associated with our customers’ perception. It’s important to keep reporting and analysing PPM though, because Right Time only reports on services which ran; cancellations are not factored in.


At the moment, we’d like our Right Time result to be higher, but the good news is that nationally we’re currently seventh out of the 19 operators.


e conrouirm network

No, no, no, yes

A defendant at Carlisle entered a not-guilty plea, saying it wasn’t him and that he could not believe that Northern were taking him to court for just £25.90! He clarified the situation at his trial when he pleaded guilty. His alleged lapse of memory cost this fare-evader £800.



If you know someone who should You can lead be recognised in a a horse… similar way this year, A passenger was tasked for nominate them through travelling over-distance on Richard Allan and Lee Wasnidge, Area Northern Stars – they his pass. He refused to accept that could win a Directors and Alan Chaplin, Acting Managing he owed the additional £2.80 for the Halo award. Director [top row], recognised the heroic acts journey outside the pass validity. of thirteen of our people at a celebration Pride We wrote and explained the conditions and requested the of Northern lunch in Manchester’s Palace Hotel. outstanding fare. After several he twelve, plus Peter Holland (not pictured) were awarded for procedural stages and refusals eight separate acts of bravery and teamwork when faced with challenging to pay, even our Fixed Penalty offer circumstances. In each case, ranging from attempted armed robbery to medical was declined. Maintaining his stance, emergencies and even an onboard fire, it was our colleagues who made the his interpretation of the rules and difference to the course of events. Thank you for being the Pride of Northern in 2012. a reluctance to pay £2.80 cost From top right: David Coleman, Jeff Kelly, David Edwards, Graham Race, Dene Yates, this man £435 in court and a Phil Whelan, Chris Burns, Lee Bailey, Malcolm Spark, Christopher Johnstone, Simon Charnley and Gerald O’Neill criminal record.

Proud moment




Satpal Shoker; Anne-Marie Marsh; Mark Sefton; Deborah Holland; Nicola Mercer; Eva Bibby; Greg Woolley; Anthony Gornall; Caroline Munday; Amanda Tilzey; John Terpret; Adriana Murray; Joseph Creffield; Daniel Edon; Daniel Foxton; Gary Cramby; Lukas Sutcliffe; Andrew Nelson; Andrew Millwood; Stewart Kemp; Peter Ruane; Robert Ashford; Martin Carroll; Adam Stewart; Robert Whittle; Joe McVerry; John McMahon; Liam Breen; Stephen Hill; Sion Adorian; Ericsen Quintin; Andrew Hudson; Martin Nolan.

06 Feature

NOMINATE now for the



eing Northern is all about great Julia Clayton, Service Quality Team, customer service every day, whether explains: “We’ve launched the Gold those customers are passengers awards for safety, performance and on our trains and in our stations, customer service to complement our or internal customers from Northern Star and Halo awards. another team within Whereas Northern Stars the business. And great and Halos recognise u q e e s tio - f ir customer service n exceptional acts of k : ic relies on a topservice, empathy l il w t a notch attitude and heroics, our new h W get? s r e n and approach Gold awards aim in the w bration le e towards safety to recognise our c a ld ber We’ll ho Septem 5 and performance, everyday heroes. y a d Thurs for lunch on us prizes so the three go We know from lo u b fa e are with som l also sh ’l hand in hand to talking to many e W . rs e rough the winn deliver the service of you following the inners th w r u o f details o rthern. our customers Employee Survey that Your No expect and deserve. you want to see more That’s why the Gold colleagues recognised. awards will be associated So nominate now!” with the categories of safety, Jason Wade, Head of Performance, adds: performance and “Everyone has been working hard customer service.

How to e at nomin

d with this issue of  se the application form enclose •u (freepost address) Your Nor ther n and post it to us available by contacting • spare application forms are or via email. 504 568 Julia Clayton on 01904 net. intra the via Or you can apply, iling us at julia.clayton@northe  ou can also nominate by ema •y ded: providing you have clearly inclu gory cate • the award r nominee • the name and location of you ria above words, of how they meet the crite • details, in no more than 500 e by Friday 14 June 2013. • send your nomination to arriv

n: io

Do you know someone who has a smile for everyone? Someone who does that little bit extra every day? One of our best people, day in, day out? Or a team that excels in what they have done? If you’re thinking yes, then now’s the time to nominate them for a Gold award.

-fire que ick st u Q

H winnerow will the s be d ecided After

nomin ations variou from th s sourc e es, a ju panel dging will rev iew no minee for eac s h awa rd.


recently to recover our performance levels while maintaining the highest standards in safety and customer service. It’s at times like this that some colleagues shine out. So for many categories, we’re looking for your nominations for colleagues who make a difference in their job every day. The judges are also looking for teams that have made significant performance or safety improvements over the course of 2012.” Nominations will be accepted until Friday 14 June 2013.

Remember: •c  ustomers come in all shapes and sizes – internal as well as external. We’re looking for nominations for people from all across our business. It’s not just for people who speak to our paying customers! • y ou can nominate in the categories indicated right. Others will be judged by statistics from the 2012 performance year. • y ou can nominate the same person in more than one category. • y ou can also nominate more than one person in the same category, but there’ll only be one winner in each category. •g  old awards will complement Northern Stars and Halo awards, not replace them. Keep your Northern Stars nominations coming!

Northern Gold awards



From Silver to Gold


Separate awards for our most improved


Safety performance/Performance statistics from 2012.

• Traincrew depot • Station • Engineering depot


Can I nominate? No, the reporting numbers will say it all!

In Safety and Performance fields.

Worth Their Weight in Gold


Our unsung heroes and most consistent performers.


Who do you think does an excellent job every time they come into work?

Customer Service

Safety Representative of the Year Safety

For the best team contribution


Good as Gold


Innovation award


Investigating manager of the year

Solid Gold Our Being Northern champion

Gold Rush Outstanding service during disruption

Golden Future Best newcomer

Yes, you can!

Colleagues who support other colleagues either in their role or outside work; the kind of person who you can’t do without in your team, who may work behind the scenes and might not always get the credit. Someone who may or may not be in a support role, but is always there for colleagues and the business. Our Safety Representatives have an important role. Who do you think deserves an award for the hard work they do?

Golden Group

Golden Eye

Colleagues who you feel are exemplary in their approach to safety/performance day in, day out.

Recognising those teams who aim to deliver high levels of safety/performance; who put effort and energy into driving safety improvements in the business/to our train punctuality. This award is for a safety/performance initiative generated by a colleague and successfully implemented.

Customer Service

This award will go to the person who’s implemented a great idea to improve customer service – it might be a little thing but it means a lot to our customers.

Joint Safety and Performance

This is a judge’s special award and is for an initiative that recognises innovation in both safety and performance, generated by a colleague and successfully implemented.

Joint Safety and Performance

This award is for managers who compile and submit excellent safety or performance investigation reports, which identify the root cause of an incident or issue and allow improvements to be made.

Customer Service

Recognising that person who gives their customers a reason to smile every day, is extremely customer focussed (either internal or external customers); approachable, has a genuine passion for the job and who you think is a role model for colleagues.

Customer Service

For someone who puts themselves to the front when things go wrong; who immediately puts on a hi-vis vest and communicates well with our customers; who’s always there to help whatever the problem.

Customer Service

This award seeks to recognise someone who’s joined Northern within the last 12 months; who has made a great first impression and who you think has what it takes to be a great ambassador for Northern.

Yes, you can! Yes, you can!

We’re asking for nominations from local managers. Yes, you can nominate. We’re asking for nominations from local managers. Nominations will be taken from the Performance and Safety teams. Yes, you can!

Yes, you can!

Yes, you can!

08 Our news


Our network

Refreshed 142s for the North East Our passengers in the North East are welcoming the effects of a refresh project across our fleet of 142 trains. he carriages have acquired new flooring, repainted interiors, vestibule ends and seat repairs, offering our customers on several routes across the region a more enjoyable journey experience with us. Thanks to everyone involved in the transformation.


Students got c rafty

on the

Penistone line!


We helped a group of textile students from Huddersfield University to launch a totally unique project called ‘Stitch the Line’. he Penistone Line Partnership also supported the event that saw a range of work displayed at several stations along the route to raise awareness of local craft groups. The project was an industry first and was a great way to showcase rail travel in a creative way!


hello, WELL DONE AND FAREWELL to these starters AND movers Well done to: Mr I P Greenhalgh; Mr D J Rogers; Miss J A Booth; Mr K C MacNeill; Mr S Isotta; Mr M T Youdan; Mr M Warren; Mr C Savage; Mr J D Kelly; Mr R G Lay; Mr I R Brewster; Mr S Van Den Heever; Mr M Latham; Mr I L Cooper; Mr J Parkinson; Mr M J Butler; FAREWELL to: Michael Kerrigan; Mark McCarrick; Zaheer Babar.


Pedal Power Once again we have been successful in securing investment for cycling facilities at a number of destinations, encouraging our passengers to choose more environmentally friendly ways to travel to and from their station.

here will be £200,000 invested in total by the DfT, with new cycle shelters installed at 18 stations across Area West, including Parbold, St Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Lytham and Chorley – great news for our pedalling commuters!


Serco support for kids... As part of Serco25, a year-long celebration their 25th anniversary as a listed company, Serco has announced Whizz-Kidz as its chosen charity for the next three years. mployees from Serco and group businesses like Northern voted for the chosen charity and Whizz Kids came out tops with 42% of the vote.


An estimated 70,000 disabled children in the UK are waiting for a wheelchair, which means some teenage children are still being pushed in a child’s buggy. With Serco’s support, Whizz-Kids can now make a big difference to the lives of hundreds more young people by getting them their own wheelchair which meets their individual needs, and quickly.

Even after the Serco25 celebrations are over, Serco has pledged to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. They’ve committed £5 million in funding via the Serco Foundation to help leave a lasting legacy.

To learn more, visit doing-good/charity/10/whizz-kidz

Lean on me

Engineering colleagues at all our depots are well underway with their ‘Lean’ training, a system we have adopted to ensure all the work we carry out is done efficiently and effectively as possible. ommunication centres are being set up by our teams to feedback on how we can carry out this process in the best way and improve the way we operate to benefit the business and our employees. See below for the build at Neville Hill in progress!


History in the making at

Hull Botanic Gardens

We have seen the first component change carried out at Hull Botanic Gardens for many a year! his really was a historic moment for all those involved in making it happen. A few issues were highlighted and once those are resolved we hope to carry out gearbox changes as routine – well done to the District and Hull BG teams.




Delayed Prize draw winners: Delay reporting prize draw winners for (03/02/13 – 02/03/13): Simon Porter, Driver, Barrow; Phillip Skilbeck, Conductor, Leeds; George Cook, Conductor, Middlesbrough


Being Northern

John Berry, Conductor, Wigan and Graham Ibbetson, Driver, Wigan

YOUR NORTHERN STARS FOR FEBRUARY ARE: Nige Wardle, Driver, Blackpool and Kevin Williamson, Conductor, Wigan Nige and Kevin proved a strong team on the night of 25-26 January this year when snow disrupted many services, including their Liverpool to Blackpool North train:



Nige noticed a large amount of electrical arcing ahead while driving but applying the emergency brake led him into fallen overhead wires. He acted to protect the safety and comfort of his passengers by moving the train to a safer position and also alerted an oncoming freight train to the hazard. Unfazed, Nige communicated with Kevin and followed emergency communication procedures to contact Control when the in-cab emergency

call button failed. His calm and professional manner extended to helping Kevin care for the passengers on board. Arriving back at Blackpool at 6am instead of 1am, Nige merely commented, “It’s part of my job.” Well, we thought it was just the kind of service to win a Northern Star! Meanwhile, Kevin kept his customers safe and comforted for several hours, before helping to conduct a controlled evacuation. His primary concern was to make sure his passengers got home safely; knowing road transport was impossible due to the weather conditions. Kevin stayed on duty for over 12 hours as a result, even working an additional train via Bolton to Blackpool. Well done to you both for showing such excellent customer care.

John and Graham were both awarded for their part in an emergency situation with a customer at Parbold station: John was graham awarded for responding quickly, by breaking the man’s fall and then carrying out CPR until paramedics arrived. John showed a caring, professional approach and even went on to complete his full turn of duty once emergency services took over. Graham showed compassion and presence of mind throughout, reporting the incident and supporting John and a customer to care for the man. John said Graham is the “right man to have around in a difficult situation”. Thank you both!

Phil Abbott, Driver, Leeds A brave and selfless act of support led to Phil’s award, when he came to the assistance of a fellow driver who was being assaulted by a disorderly customer. phil Phil helped prevent a more serious outcome and his colleague was able to return to duty uninjured. The customer was duly arrested by British Transport Police. Judges agreed that Phil did more than expected that day, thank you.

Highly commended Denise Mathers, Revenue Protection Assistant, Hull A quick response and good communication led to Denise’s commendation when a stolen bag was retrieved and returned to its owner. Denise made the difference to her customer, who was thankful and appreciative of her efforts.

Mark Barrett, RSA GPR, Roby Mark was commended for his compassionate response to a young girl who’d had her phone stolen. Chief Superintendent Peter Holden, BTP, expressed his appreciation for Mark’s quick-thinking which helped obtain CCTV footage promptly.

prize draw winner for nominating a colleague Chris Spencer, Assistant Production Support Manager, York

Anne Fotherby, Revenue Protection Inspector, Bradford Interchange Anne went the extra mile when she accompanied a panicked customer to her Plymouth train after the barrier retained her ticket. By liaising with the Train Manager, she alleviated a potentially stressful situation and the customer wrote, saying Anne is “a credit to Northern.”

Being Northern

Interview with

Keith Harmer

Keith was recognised for his organised, professional and calm approach to his customers when a young girl stepped in front of a train. He kept communicating to keep everyone onboard safe and informed, including gathering names and addresses of all passengers before BTP arrived, to save further delay.

Thanks for talking to us Keith. How long have you worked at Northern and what have you done before? My Conductor training started in February 2004. Before that I was in the merchant navy from the age of 18, working for the British India Company, which later became P&O and then for Mobil. By 1985, I’d done my time (and plenty of watch-keeping exams!) on ships and moved into financial services, mainly acting as an Independent Financial Advisor. I enjoyed meeting new people but the increasing regulations meant it became an exercise in covering your back. What attracted you to Northern? The railway is in my blood. In the 1950s I used to go train-spotting at Swinton yards and Doncaster. My uncle was fireman/ driver with LNER and would share his stories, like the time he was stuck on a train for 48 hours during World War 2. So when, in 2003, a client told me about his job on the railway, it made me think. I’d be paid for training and then work a 35 hour week. In financial services I was working 50 hour weeks. Back in the navy I’d worked 24 hour days! Add to that great holiday entitlement, basic pay, pension, free travel... I contacted Arriva Trains Northern and after a successful interview I started work at Harrogate. From that course nine years ago, four of us still work together. What do you love about your job? The free travel on Northern and Grand Central is brilliant for me and my wife. We often head down to London or visit our daughter in Reading. We work hard, but every third weekend we get long weekends off and I love that.


And I like the routine of regular trains and regular passengers on my route. In a sense, they become like friends, sharing their holiday plans and then the stories when they return. It means that when you have problems, they understand and trust you. Some will even stick up for you if less familiar customers complain. Well done on your Northern Star – what made you approach the situation in the way you did? It was a natural reaction. In the past, I’d have the safety and security of my ship, passengers and cargo plus 250,000 tonnes of oil in the tanker as well as the safety of people on other ships to consider. What do you think made a difference that day? You roll your sleeves up and get on with helping yourself and your colleagues. The relationships I have with my regular customers came into their own too – they all asked, “Are you alright?” People came to my aid too, like the plain clothes British Transport Policeman who took ownership of the scene until on duty officers arrived. There was also one passenger who I spotted hovering at the train door while we were dealing with the incident. I went to see if she was ok. She was suffering with claustrophobia and talking to her I discovered she was a bereavement counsellor.

Just nearby, another passenger was very upset by the incident as she’d recently witnessed her brother pass away. I was able to pair the two together and they gave each other mutual support. Someone was looking on me kindly that day. I didn’t have any difficult passengers to deal with and help wasn’t far away. But by talking to people, I helped myself too. If you could change one thing about Northern, what would it be? I do miss navigation by the stars – it wouldn’t quite work on the railway though; you’d be there and back before you discerned anything! But in all seriousness, I do think the industry needs to electrify more lines. We need newer, far more modern and reliable rolling stock, with easier access for today’s passenger needs. That’s really what our customers want when talking with them. I think there’s been a 30% increase in passenger numbers on the Harrogate line since I started. That and seeing more of senior managers when things go wrong; being there to take some of the complaints from customers. I cannot fault the assistance and onward care given to me following the November incident though and I have thanked them. As a winner, you’ll be invited to the annual celebration event in the summer – what’s your tip for other people who want to get to the event? Be yourself, be professional, and treat people as you’d want to be treated yourself. Don’t be frightened to talk to people and make announcements keeping them fully in the picture. Do what you’re trained to do – keep focused on the job. You’re taught to involve passengers to help if you can, so that’s what I did.

JUST A REMINDER Just a reminder that we expect employees to stand on our services if there aren’t enough seats for customers.



Your questions answered

y Say e Your


“As part of Network Rail’s Northern Hub development, their website says that all Manchester to Huddersfield services will operate from Manchester Piccadilly. Can you expand on this and explain the implications for Manchester Victoria work content?”


“Can we see more stories from the cleaners? I always enjoyed reading those.”

Answer from Nic Whitefield internal communcations manager: "All stories are welcome but we need to know about them so we can share them! In the last issue (70, p9) I published an article on how to submit a story and pictures to be considered for the magazine. My top three tips are: tell me as soon as you know about something. You can call me on 01904 568650 or email your stories to


take a variety of photos and send them in their original file size (1MB+ for printable quality) and

2 3


tell me lots of facts and names of everyone involved.

I'd love to publish stories in your own words where possible so if you've got a journalistic urge, let me know!"

Rob Warnes, Performance and Planning Director responds:

“The industry is currently working on developing future service specifications to make use of the significant infrastructure investment in the North. We are involved in this process along with


the Department for Transport, PTEs, Network Rail and other operators, but at this stage no decisions have been made on what the service patterns will be on particular lines of route, or how train services will be resourced. Work to date focuses on ensuring that the detail of the infrastructure enhancements will enable the wider economic benefits of the investment to be fully realised. The industry is some way off determining exactly what trains services will operate in detail.”

“Could the company look at staff doing NVQs please?” Ian Francis, People Development Manager, replies: “In partnership with Tribal Group, an external qualification provider, we offer access to a range of fully accredited, national qualifications.

Successfully completing these can boost your confidence, support your career development and give you new skills. Each qualification is completed by distance learning, enabling you to fit the learning modules around your work and home commitments. Typically it will involve a couple of hours a week. Level 2 is the equivalent of a GCSE grade A-C. Level 3 is the equivalent of an A-level. The NVQ qualifications currently available are: Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service Knowledge


“Will I continue to receive Your Northern after I retire?”

Nic Whitefield, Your Northern editor, answers: “You wouldn’t do automatically, but if you would like to, then we will gladly add you to our list of people who receive a complimentary copy. Just get in touch before you retire either by emailing yournorthern@ with your name and address or by calling me on 01904 568650. You’ll receive the magazine so you can stay up to speed with life at Northern, but bear in mind some stories and employee offers won’t apply after you’ve retired.”

Your Want to

Say Say Live have...


Level 3 Certificate in Customer Service Knowledge Level 2 Certificate in Business Administration Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity Level 2 Certificate in Mental Health Awareness If you’d like to start studying one of these qualifications, simply complete the registration form available on the intranet at Your line manager can access this from work if you can’t. Remember, it's distance learning so you need to have the time and computer access to study for one or two hours at a time, in your own time. I’d also suggest speaking to your line manager to inform them of your studies – after all they may have some tips to share. Good luck with your studies!”

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

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