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The employee magazine of Arriva Trains Wales/Trenau Arriva Cymru

SPRING 2011

Leanne recognised for staying cool in

fire drama PAGE FIVE

Proud to have you on board


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It’s vital customers are kept informed at times of disruption By Managing Director

Tim Bell

THE last few months have been challenging for the business in more ways than one. A combination of rain, snow, freezing temperatures, industrial action, cable theft and the bedding-in of ERTMS, together with many random infrastructure events, has affected our operational performance. These issues have a significant impact on our customers and have a major impact on the future development and success of the business. With the recent level of disruption experienced, to ensure we meet our customer expectations, it is important that we keep our customers fully informed at times of disruption. If we do not, they will seek an alternative form of transport or use us less frequently. With this in mind, I am keen to improve further our flow of information to customers and staff. Some of the things that we are doing to achieve this include introducing customer information systems at all stations by the end of 2015, issuing Blackberrys to conductors and streamlining the flow of information from Control at times of disruption. We also plan to make better use of the internet and industry systems including continued customer service training. However, even though we are making significant investments in hardware and technology, the most consistent and well used link with the customer is face-to-face communication. So it is important at times of disruption that we make ourselves available to customers and proactively inform them of the reasons for delay to reassure them. We know from feedback that it is appreciated and we are good at doing it – customers are generally more patient and understanding when kept informed. On a positive note, I am pleased to advise you all that Arriva Trains Wales has been awarded the prize in the “Best Operational Performance: Right Time” category at the Golden Whistle awards. The accolade is given annually by the Institute of Rail Operators and Modern Railways. Our moving annual average for the year measured 88.4 per cent, the best for a Train Operating Company in UK Rail. Congratulations – you have all played your part in achieving this recognition. Finally, thank you to all those who have gone that ‘extra mile’ to deliver the daily plan over the last few months when every day seemed to bring a new challenge.

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ASPECT Spring 2011

Court action on railway offenders A

NUMBER of prosecutions have been brought by the British Transport Police following recent incidents on the Arriva Trains Wales network. A man who presented an invalid ticket at Colwyn Bay and then assaulted a member of staff, received a 12-month community order at Llandudno Magistrates Court and was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work. A male arrested for threatening staff at Cardiff Central has been sentenced to

eight week in prison. Meanwhile, a man seen urinating on the station at Pontypridd, who then became abusive to security officers, has received a 12-month conditional discharge for a public order offence. British Transport Police officers carried out a series of high-visibility patrols at railway stations across North Wales over a four-day period in February in a bid to target antisocial behaviour on the rail network.

New winter coat design trialled IAN Parry, Revenue Protection Assistant at Cardiff Central station, is pictured trialling the new design for a winter coat. The winter coat will be distributed towards the end of the year – slightly later than the arrival of the rest of the new uniform, which is scheduled for May.

Hollie wins bronze medal HOLLIE Arnold, the 16-year-old sponsored by Arriva Trains Wales in her bid to reach the 2012 London Paralympic Games, has won a bronze medal in the 2011 IPC World Championships in New Zealand. Hollie, of Llanbradach, who was born without her right hand and forearm, threw the javelin 32.45 metres in the final. She said:“I’m thrilled to have won a bronze as a member of Team GB and Arriva’s support in helping me to travel by train for training and physiotherapy has been a great help.”


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DOWN ON THE FARM:

Dave Oliver outside his Shropshire home – a converted 15th Century farmhouse.

Home on standby for

TV yoghurt ad D

AVE Oliver’s house is so “Olde Worlde” it’s on stand-by to feature in a national TV advert. The Shrewsbury conductor lives with his family in a converted 15th Century farmhouse in the grounds of the National Trust’s Benthall Hall, near Much Wenlock. The courtyard and barns are so attractive that they are in line to feature in one of the Müllerlight yoghurt adverts highlighting rural life near the

company’s Shropshire-based factory. The film-makers surveyed the property as a potential setting and only decided against shooting because a barn door opened the wrong way! “They wanted to film a milkmaid coming out of the barn, but on the day it did not quite pan out,” said Dave.“We are now on standby for the next advert.” Dave’s historic property, which at one time housed

coaches and horses for use in the Elizabethan hall, is subject to strict regulations preventing him from putting up a satellite dish or changing the windows. A footpath from the hall runs alongside the farmhouse, and Dave, his wife Claire and four-year-old son Tyler-Jon often see tourists peeping over their wall to take photos of the buildings. “We don’t mind because we love the atmosphere of the place,” said Dave.

Staff fundraise for cancer charity TEN staff in the travel centre on Chester station donned yellow clothing to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The fundraisers, one of whom wore a yellow wig, encouraged people buying tickets to purchase a daffodil tie pin at the same time.

They also prompted customers to buy yellow cakes they had made. Supervisor Linda Williams said:“We got the idea from the company intranet. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and this seemed a really imaginative way to raise money.”

Look out for Business Plan EVERY year Arriva Trains Wales prepares a Business Plan that shows how the company performed over the last year and what it proposes to do in the year ahead. Enclosed with the Spring issue of Aspect is a summary of this year’s Business Plan. Contents include information about the new staff uniforms as well as plans for staff welfare. Also detailed are planned improvements to the new timetable, rolling stock refurbishments and station improvements.

Club 55 is a hit THE Club 55 promotion offering bargain rail travel to people over 55 has once again proved a big success. A total of 45,200 tickets were sold between September and December 2010, bringing in revenue of £562,613.

ASPECT Spring 2011

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Campaign inspires winning outcomes T

HE Health and Wellbeing campaign is inspiring By Human Resources Director fitness success stories throughout Arriva Trains Wales. LYNNE MILLIGAN A growing number of employees are being prompted by either the Wellbeing Works website at www.wellbeingworks.com or by the Health and Wellbeing I QUIT: days to change their Paul Stern found lifestyle for the better. the impetus to stop smoking at a Health Paul Stern, IT Network and Wellbeing and Security Manager at session. St Mary’s House, found that a carbon monoxide breath test THE new uniform project is at the Health and Wellbeing reaching its final phase with the open day last June was just the trialling until March of the new impetus he needed to stop winter coat with its detachable smoking. quilted lining, to test whether it “It encouraged me to go to is warm enough through the the doctor and I haven’t winter and early spring (see smoked since taking pills he Page 2 of this issue of Aspect). prescribed,” said Paul. Two different lengths of coat Dave Kitt, Rhymney Driver, are being trialled – traditional who made the final decision to anorak length and a longer stop smoking after visiting the length for station staff. website, said:“There were Our “measuring team” has multiple reasons why I had to been out collecting sizes for the stop but it was Wellbeing order forms. Works that encouraged me to There are two reasons for this get advice from my doctor on – our wish to ensure that your how to quit using an Cycle To Work scheme and I items are the best fit when they ‘electronic cigarette‘.” hope to get more involved as a arrive from Dimensions and the Karl Johnson, Treherbert Health and Wellbeing need to keep stock holdings as Conductor, has lost three stone volunteer.“ low as possible. We have to be in weight after realising at a At the most recent event at careful with the costs, since the Health and St Mary's House, Indian Head new uniform is a lot more Wellbeing event Massage, blood pressure and expensive than our current one. that he needed to diabetes testing together with Please remember that AXA change his advice on how to stop ICAS, who provide our lifestyle. He said: smoking were on offer. employee assistance “I’ve really The winner of the raffle at programme, offer a benefited. I’ve the event, which was run with Lifemanagement™ service joined Lloyds Pharmacy and attended which offers all sorts of useful the by the British Heart assistance. Foundation, was Resource Their advisors are ready to Allocation Clerk Ann Richards take calls round the clock, who said: “The event made me and they cover a wide realise we need to look after variety of topics. One of our health and not take it for them told me recently: granted.” “We could be dealing with Staff are being encouraged an emotive divorce to obtain information about enquiry on one call then on leading a healthier the next be dealing with a client lifestyle from the who has had very little sleep in Health and weeks due to problems with Wellbeing noisy neighbours. The next Human stands at the call could be a consumer Resources Assistant SIM centres in issue.” Leanne Woodfin is Cardiff and Chester. This service is part of given an Indian Head Volunteers are now your programme, so use Massage at an event being sought to join the it if you need to. at St Mary’s Health and Wellbeing

Measuring team ensures uniforms are the best fit

House.

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ASPECT Spring 2011

Working Party. If you are passionate about the subject, and would like to help with the programme, contact the Steering Group, 3rd Floor, St Mary’s House, 47 Penarth Road, Cardiff CF10 5DJ.

There’s yet another chance to win an iPod! Just send in your suggestions about what you would like to see included in Health and Wellbeing events to the above address. All suggestions will be entered into a prize draw.

Advice line: THE AXA ICAS Employee Wellbeing programme offers life management (dealing with budgeting, debt, family care, legal and housing), telephone and face-to-face counselling and Wellbeing Works. Contact the service free on 0800 0727072, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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The winners of the Arriva Trains Wales annual Exceptional Contribution Awards pictured at the presentation evening at Park Inn hotel, Cardiff. Gold award winner Leanne Douglas is pictured centre (in the red dress) alongside Managing Director Tim Bell who presented the awards.

Crewe conductor earns

passengers’ praise A

Crewe conductor scooped the Gold accolade at Arriva Trains Wales’ Exceptional Contribution Awards for her calmness and professionalism when fire broke out on the undercarriage of her train. Leanne Douglas was the star of a special evening at the Park Inn hotel, Cardiff, which paid tribute to numerous staff who have impressed with their outstanding contribution over the past year. The audience heard how Leanne kept passengers on the 1550 Cardiff to Manchester train informed with tact and good humour while other Arriva Trains Wales staff, liaising with Network Rail, dealt with the emergency.

One customer contacted her manager afterwards to report:“Your conductor handled the crisis, which occurred on the approach to Hereford station, with reassuring professionalism, approachability and calm.” Another said:“I would like to compliment Ms Douglas for the way she wonderfully organised everyone’s onward travel to their final destinations.” Other staff receiving awards during the celebration evening included the ERTMS team, praised for their “contribution and dedication” to the project. Nigel Meekly, Fitter at Canton, was given an accolade for saving the life of a colleague who had collapsed in the mess room and

Mark Morris, Conductor at Carmarthen, was commended for restraining a violent and abusive passenger. Shrewsbury At Seat Catering Steward Brian Steen and Cardiff Conductor Alan Thomas were both praised for dealing with the aftermath of a major incident on the Moreton-on-Lugg level crossing.

Four staff receive community awards FOUR big-hearted Arriva Trains Wales staff have received Arriva Community Action Awards for making a difference in their community. David Clark, Assistant Permanent Timetable Manager, helps with fund-raising events in Cardiff for Cancer Research UK; Tracey Johnson, Conductor Admin Support at Chester, is on the management committee of the Frodsham Youth Association and works as

a volunteer for the youth club; Selina Richards, who works in Abergavenny ticket office, helps to raise money for the Jennifer Trust, a national charity for those like her 10-year-old nephew Jake who suffer from Spinal Muscular Atrophy; and Jane Pickwick, Recruitment Advisor, helps out as a volunteer in the Tenovus cancer charity shop in Mumbles. All four received bronze awards and were given £250 for their nominated charities.

Station hero AN army officer who saved Cardiff Central station from being destroyed by a 1,200lb bomb in World War Two has died aged 100. Following an air raid in May 1943, Major Hugh Jones organised an operation to safely defuse an unexploded device that went through a platform canopy and buried itself near the line.

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A

RRIVA Trains Wales’ ambitious makeover plans for its Class 158s are being turned into reality within the South Carriage Sheds facility at the LNWR workshops in Crewe. A major refurbishment programme, incorporating new livery and C6 heavy maintenance, is delivering completely refurbished toilets, new seating, carpets and re-designed vestibule and storage areas. The new seats provide a minimum of 25mm of extra leg-room, while the vestibules are being opened up to use space that was previously taken up by redundant storage areas. Meanwhile, newly-introduced cab cooling will result in an enhanced driver environment. Simon Taylor, LNWR Heavy Maintenance Manager, said: “We were given a performance specification by Arriva Trains Wales and artist’s impressions of the company’s aspirations.

Ambitious makeover will create

best Class 158s in UK Technician Gareth Morris pictured with laminated glass for the new passenger windows.

Class 175 bogies are removed from the undercarriage of the train on the Heavy Lift Road at Longsight – in preparation for cleaning and maintenance.

Class 175s overhaul will refresh interiors and improve reliability

Expert team “We have translated these through our design partner into Arriva Trains Wales-approved, workable designs Work which will benefit passengers and is underway on train crew alike.” modifications to The £7.5 million project is being the side-seating rail realised by a team of 25 artisan following strip-out staff including specialist vehicle of the carriage refurbishment experts, heavy interior. maintenance fitters and electricians, and painters. Following a controlled strip-out of customers, these will be open, light saloon interiors and redundant and airy, with more useable equipment, a deep clean gets passenger features such as the underway. Wiring looms are installed two-perch seating areas and cycle for the new electrical system and storage complimented by modern side seating rails modified. lighting,” said Simon. All passenger windows are being At-seat power is being provided at replaced by laminated glass, and two all table locations with four new dedicated bike storage points are tip-up seats being installed at the being provided next to the toilet in wheelchair spaces in the 52 car the 57 car. saloon. “Whereas previously the 52 car to The refurbishment of all the Class 57 car vestibule areas were a 158 units, which also incorporates a claustrophobic walkway for

Electrician Peter Cronin works on the electrics for the new cooling system in the cab. new advanced Passenger Information System, is scheduled to be completed by autumn next year. Matt Prosser, Arriva Trains Wales’ Head of Engineering, said:“This work will transform the customer and staff experience on our Class 158s and bring significant improvements for our disabled customers. The refurbishment, which also improves the safety of the trains, is to a very high standard – ours will be the best Class 158s in the country.”

Stylish new carpets and seats will be a feature of the standard class interiors.

A computer-generated image of the new-look on board environment.

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ASPECT Spring 2011

Light and airy vestibules with room for cycle storage.

A DEDICATED team of 38 technicians at the Manchester Traincare Centre at Longsight is pulling out all the stops to give Arriva Trains Wales’ Class 175 trains a thorough makeover. Not only are the 11 two-car units and the 16 three-car units receiving their 10-Year Heavy Overhaul, but they are also undergoing a series of reliability modifications and an interior refresh. Key advances include: ■ Underframe wiring improvements and the replacement of protective trunking, which previously acted as a leaf-trap, by a secondary flexible conduit. ■ Fitting of alternators with improved insulation material made of resin, which has helped the first trains back in service run without a hitch during the worst winter for many years. ■ New Axminster carpets to an Arriva Trains Wales design and floor fabric outside the disabled toilets in vestibules, which has a ridged component to absorb dirt from shoes and protect the carpet inside. Vestibule walls and ceilings are being filled, sanded and spray-painted. The overhaul includes work on bogies, cooler groups, couplers and auxiliary drives. More reliable solid-state AWS receivers are being fitted, and gangways are being upgraded with new silicon-strengthened bellows inside the original frame. For the interior refresh, the carriages are suspended above the Heavy Lift Road at the Traincare Centre with their bogie frames removed. Then they are stripped back inside and a deep clean takes place. Floor boarding is replaced wherever necessary and interior upholstery is sent away to be revamped in fire-retardant new livery. Nigel Sanderson, Special Projects

The interior shell of a Class 175 after being stripped down.

A Class 175 after the makeover.

Manager, said:“We have grouped a number of periodic tasks together and aligned them with the 10 Year Overhaul, so that we only have to stop each train once. There will be huge safety and efficiency benefits from the work we are carrying out.” Matt Prosser, Arriva Trains Wales’ Head of Engineering, said:“The work at Longsight is providing a much-improved environment for our customers, improving reliability with the aim of ensuring Class 175s are among the best-performing DMUs in the country, and improving the safety of the trains.” The programme, which began in July last year, is scheduled to reach completion by May.

ASPECT Spring 2011

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A

RRIVA Trains Wales’ ambitious makeover plans for its Class 158s are being turned into reality within the South Carriage Sheds facility at the LNWR workshops in Crewe. A major refurbishment programme, incorporating new livery and C6 heavy maintenance, is delivering completely refurbished toilets, new seating, carpets and re-designed vestibule and storage areas. The new seats provide a minimum of 25mm of extra leg-room, while the vestibules are being opened up to use space that was previously taken up by redundant storage areas. Meanwhile, newly-introduced cab cooling will result in an enhanced driver environment. Simon Taylor, LNWR Heavy Maintenance Manager, said: “We were given a performance specification by Arriva Trains Wales and artist’s impressions of the company’s aspirations.

Ambitious makeover will create

best Class 158s in UK Technician Gareth Morris pictured with laminated glass for the new passenger windows.

Class 175 bogies are removed from the undercarriage of the train on the Heavy Lift Road at Longsight – in preparation for cleaning and maintenance.

Class 175s overhaul will refresh interiors and improve reliability

Expert team “We have translated these through our design partner into Arriva Trains Wales-approved, workable designs Work which will benefit passengers and is underway on train crew alike.” modifications to The £7.5 million project is being the side-seating rail realised by a team of 25 artisan following strip-out staff including specialist vehicle of the carriage refurbishment experts, heavy interior. maintenance fitters and electricians, and painters. Following a controlled strip-out of customers, these will be open, light saloon interiors and redundant and airy, with more useable equipment, a deep clean gets passenger features such as the underway. Wiring looms are installed two-perch seating areas and cycle for the new electrical system and storage complimented by modern side seating rails modified. lighting,” said Simon. All passenger windows are being At-seat power is being provided at replaced by laminated glass, and two all table locations with four new dedicated bike storage points are tip-up seats being installed at the being provided next to the toilet in wheelchair spaces in the 52 car the 57 car. saloon. “Whereas previously the 52 car to The refurbishment of all the Class 57 car vestibule areas were a 158 units, which also incorporates a claustrophobic walkway for

Electrician Peter Cronin works on the electrics for the new cooling system in the cab. new advanced Passenger Information System, is scheduled to be completed by autumn next year. Matt Prosser, Arriva Trains Wales’ Head of Engineering, said:“This work will transform the customer and staff experience on our Class 158s and bring significant improvements for our disabled customers. The refurbishment, which also improves the safety of the trains, is to a very high standard – ours will be the best Class 158s in the country.”

Stylish new carpets and seats will be a feature of the standard class interiors.

A computer-generated image of the new-look on board environment.

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ASPECT Spring 2011

Light and airy vestibules with room for cycle storage.

A DEDICATED team of 38 technicians at the Manchester Traincare Centre at Longsight is pulling out all the stops to give Arriva Trains Wales’ Class 175 trains a thorough makeover. Not only are the 11 two-car units and the 16 three-car units receiving their 10-Year Heavy Overhaul, but they are also undergoing a series of reliability modifications and an interior refresh. Key advances include: ■ Underframe wiring improvements and the replacement of protective trunking, which previously acted as a leaf-trap, by a secondary flexible conduit. ■ Fitting of alternators with improved insulation material made of resin, which has helped the first trains back in service run without a hitch during the worst winter for many years. ■ New Axminster carpets to an Arriva Trains Wales design and floor fabric outside the disabled toilets in vestibules, which has a ridged component to absorb dirt from shoes and protect the carpet inside. Vestibule walls and ceilings are being filled, sanded and spray-painted. The overhaul includes work on bogies, cooler groups, couplers and auxiliary drives. More reliable solid-state AWS receivers are being fitted, and gangways are being upgraded with new silicon-strengthened bellows inside the original frame. For the interior refresh, the carriages are suspended above the Heavy Lift Road at the Traincare Centre with their bogie frames removed. Then they are stripped back inside and a deep clean takes place. Floor boarding is replaced wherever necessary and interior upholstery is sent away to be revamped in fire-retardant new livery. Nigel Sanderson, Special Projects

The interior shell of a Class 175 after being stripped down.

A Class 175 after the makeover.

Manager, said:“We have grouped a number of periodic tasks together and aligned them with the 10 Year Overhaul, so that we only have to stop each train once. There will be huge safety and efficiency benefits from the work we are carrying out.” Matt Prosser, Arriva Trains Wales’ Head of Engineering, said:“The work at Longsight is providing a much-improved environment for our customers, improving reliability with the aim of ensuring Class 175s are among the best-performing DMUs in the country, and improving the safety of the trains.” The programme, which began in July last year, is scheduled to reach completion by May.

ASPECT Spring 2011

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S A F E T Y

Steve Beavan, ERTMS Driver Trainer, at the controls of the ERTMS simulator in Machynlleth where drivers are being trained in preparation for the roll-out of the ground-breaking technology.

matters By Operations and Safety Director

Peter Leppard

Smooth intro for ERTMS T

HANKS to all of you who have made the introduction of ERTMS (the new cabsignalling system) between Harlech and Pwllheli as smooth as it has been. Yes, it has had a few teething issues (inevitable when introducing ground-breaking technology for the first time) but not as many as there might have been. As everyone has become more used to using it, ERTMS has now started to be part of day-to-day life on this part of our network. We will move on soon to extending the system to the rest of the Cambrian. Meanwhile, our 2011 Safety and

Environment Plan is now on the company intranet. Please have a browse – it includes lots of interesting themes which we plan to progress this year. Last year was a disappointing one for Category A SPADs. We had 15, compared with seven in 2009 (though we had 14 in 2008). Our total of 15 means that, per million train miles, we were, out of 28 passenger train operating companies, better than six but worse than 21. I want 2011 to be a year when we do better than that – and indeed 2009’s result shows that we can do better. January 2011 got us off to a good start, with no SPADs recorded.

Let’s keep it that way! Better news during 2010 was that we achieved two new awards for environmental management. We achieved the Carbon Trust Standard (CTS) for our Customer Service and Fleet organisations. The CTS recognises organisations for achieving real carbon reduction and committing to making further reductions year on year. We were also awarded certification under the international standard ISO 14001 for Environmental Management Systems at Canton, Machynlleth and Holyhead maintenance depots. Well done to all those involved!

A tidy show for Cambrian Lines stations CAMBRIAN Lines stations swept the board at the 2010 Keep Wales Tidy Awards. Machynlleth station scooped the title of Wales’ Best Kept Staffed Station, while Harlech was given the accolade of Wales’ Best Kept Unstaffed Station. Meanwhile, Borth station was shortlisted in the Best Kept Unstaffed Stations category, along with Harlech and Chirk. Shortlisted in the Best Kept Staffed Stations category were Machynlleth, Bangor and Wrexham General. Held at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, the awards were presented by Welsh Assembly Government Environment Minister Jane Davidson AM.

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ASPECT Spring 2011

Minister views regeneration project WELSH Assembly Government (WAG) Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones paid a visit to Swansea station to examine the progress of the ongoing regeneration scheme, which is part-funded by WAG as a contribution to the National Stations Improvement Project (NSIP). With the first two phases completed, work is currently underway on the new customer

information facility and the relocation of Rail Gourmet to permanent offices to allow the creation of a new waiting room and toilets. The improvements are due for completion by the end of August. Also on the NSIP front, 12 customer information screens have recently been installed at 12 stations, CCTV has been provided at three stations and the Chester station

project has been completed. ● Pictured above, Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones (front left) meets Peter Northcott, Head of Stations, and Catherine Casey, NSIP Project Manager, during his visit to Swansea station. Mr Jones is being shown a computer simulation of the station regeneration project. He was also given a guided-tour to show progress to date.


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New lift boosts

station access T

HE new lift at Cardiff Central station is now up-and-running, providing access for passengers with impaired mobility as well as those travelling to and from Ebbw Vale with heavy luggage or small children. The facility, delivered with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government, was officially opened by Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones who unveiled a commemorative plaque. Mike Bagshaw, Commercial Director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “The new lift offers passengers step-free access to Platform Zero. The initiative is part of our wider plan to improve access to our trains and stations.”

Meanwhile the information desk recently established at Cardiff Central is proving a big hit with customers. ● Pictured above at the opening ceremony are

Ieuan Wyn Jones, right, Commercial Director Mike Bagshaw, centre, and Station Manager Wayne Cresswell. Right, a view of the lift which is an attractive addition to the station foyer.

Running for charity

Ex Minister takes a great rail journey for television THE second series of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys, broadcast recently on BBC2, featured staff and trains operated by Arriva Trains Wales. The trains looked at their best and the viewing public was left in no doubt about the attractions of a journey by rail in the Borders and North Wales. Broadcaster and former Government Minister Michael Portillo – pictured right – was on a mission to compare today’s rail travel with the experience described by the Victorian publisher George Bradshaw. He stopped along his railway route to point out local landmarks, reading out their description in Bradshaw’s Tourist Handbook. Ben Davies, Stakeholder Relations Manager, said:“The programme was brilliant for Welsh tourism and rail travel. It was a fantastic advert for our trains and will hopefully encourage people to make the same journey. At Deganwy in the Conwy estuary we were given a reference by a mussel fisherman who revealed that he sets his clock by the Arriva Trains Wales network.” Travelling up from Hereford via Shrewsbury

and Chester to Holyhead, the former politician took in the Conwy Valley Line where he met Larry Davies, Community Rail Officer. Larry said:“I appeared on the programme, talking about my role and the Arriva Trains Wales station adoption scheme. Mr Portillo was very interested in the history of the area.” Tom Daley, who was conductor when Mr Portillo travelled from Flint to Llandudno, and a few days later to Llanfair PG, said:“It was a fascinating programme showing how things have changed since Bradshaw’s day.” The production company, Talkback Thames, has sent its thanks to Arriva Trains Wales for its co-operation.

ELAINE Hiscox is set to run in the London Marathon to raise money for children with leukaemia. Elaine, who works in the ticket office at Aberdare, originally took up running to lose weight but is now covering 40 miles a week as part of her training schedule. Running is in her family – her son has represented Wales and her husband Darren came 35th in the London Marathon in 1998 (See back page article on Darren).

Recognition BEN Davies, Stakeholder Relations Manager, has been awarded lifetime membership of the Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society in recognition of his support over the years for railways in North Wales.

ASPECT Spring 2011

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five

minutes with Karen Kinder Karen, Station Manager for North Wales and Chester, lives in Gresford, near Wrexham. Here she takes time out of her busy day to answer our questionnaire. What are you doing at the moment? Until December 31 last year I was station manager for Chester but I have now inherited North Wales stations as well. What is the best aspect of your job? That no two days are the same. Some can be more challenging than others, and I usually end up learning something new. I am currently enjoying the process of getting to know my new staff. What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you in work? I was the station announcer on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral. I had to announce the two minutes' silence on the concourse. It was an extremely eerie day and I will never forget it. Which famous people alive or dead would you invite to a dinner party? Nelson Mandela for his intellect. Prince William and Richard Gere for eye candy. Barry White and Phil Collins for entertainment.

Karen Kinder – out and about on the ATW network.

How do you relax? Spending time with my family and most importantly having precious moments with my grandchildren Jack, aged two, and Holly, aged four months.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? I wanted to be an air hostess but I was scared of flying. I also hoped to be an infant school teacher.

Favourite films/CDs? They have got to be “chick flicks” – the sadder the better, to bring a tear to my eyes. My favourite film of all time is Ghost. Favourite albums are But Seriously, by Phil Collins, Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield and any album by the Stereophonics.

Your favourite place in the world? One of my daughters got married on a tiny beach on the coast of Queensland in Australia, three years ago. Being there at Airlie Beach was the most magical time of my life. If Arriva Trains Wales operated there I would be off like a shot.

What would you like to be doing in five years’ time? To actually be able to pronounce the longest Welsh place name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllll antysiliogogogoch. Best bit of advice you have ever been given? My dad told me many years ago:“Treat other people as you would want to be treated yourself.” He also used to say:“It’s nice to be nice.”

Renovated station offices to house village museum WORK is underway at Borth station to renovate the old booking office in readiness for the development of a community facility and a station museum. The museum is intended to house collections on various themes

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ASPECT Spring 2011

including village history, railway and industrial heritage, natural history and environment. The refurbishment of the building, subleased from ATW, is being funded from various sources including Borth Station Volunteers, the Railway

Heritage Fund and Cambrian Railways Partnership. The museum will be staffed by volunteers. Anyone wishing to contribute to the project should email Station Adopter George Romary at member@gromary.freeserve.co.uk


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New York wedding after Meirion finds

love online A

Valley Lines driver is looking forward to a New York wedding after meeting his wife-to-be on Facebook. Meirion Thomas Jones fell in love with American Nora Tester after they got chatting online and arranged to meet. The couple quickly realised they were soulmates – and after their wedding in the Big Apple, they plan to live together in Meirion's house in Treherbert. Meirion is delighted at the prospect of marrying his intended in New York’s City Hall on April 21. He said: “We got chatting online and swapped details. We hit it off over the phone

and I fell in love with Nora’s personality.” Meirion soon made a visit to New York and they shared a romantic carriage ride round Central Park in a snowstorm. Nora, who works in customer services for a pharmacy, reciprocated with a trip to Wales last May. “We found we were interested in the same subjects, and both enjoyed music and cinema,” he added. Meirion invites any staff who might be in New York on his wedding day to attend the ceremony, which will be followed by a reception in the Best Western Gregory Hotel, Brooklyn.

ROMANCE IN THE CITY OF LOVE: Meirion Jones with his fiancée Nora Tester pictured in front of the Eiffel Tower during a trip to Paris.

WIN £50 M&S voucher in country houses wordsearch INSPIRED by Dave Oliver's house in the grounds of a National Trust property, our wordsearch in this issue is on the theme of country houses. A £50 Marks & Spencer voucher is on offer for the first person whose name is drawn out of the hat. Entries should be no later than April 15 2011.

GILT KEYS CHEST CHINA SOLAR CLOSET PEWTER SCREEN SILVER TESTER

THRONE BUTTERY CARVING LIBRARY STATUES CERAMICS PORTRAITS SIDEBOARD TULIP VASE CANDELABRA

The competition is open to Arriva Trains Wales employees only. Simply ring the words in the grid, cut it out and send it with your name, address and phone number to: Geraint Morgan, Community Affairs Manager, Arriva Trains Wales, St Mary’s House, 47 Penarth Road, Cardiff CF10 5DJ.

CHANDELIER FOUR-POSTER TAPESTRIES HARPSICHORD STATELY HOMES LACQUER CABINET

The Colin Montgomerie caption competition in the last issue was won by Driver Donna Soper of Pontypridd who suggested:

S T A T U E S A Y R A R B I L S

E R S H F S I D E B O A R D T E

I E H R C M T S R O M S E A H T

R T I O L E A S T I A R T R O P

T S E N A V R T O T I E V U G I

S O B E P O N A N L L P C C A B

E P T I N L A U M Y A A R L S R

P R L B E K J R H I R R E O L E

A U I R E N I O B V C O V S A I

T O G Y R A M R I A E S L E N L

E F S O C E N N E V L F I T O E

S A O Z S W G I P T Y E S H O D

T Y R E T T U B H U W E D E Z N

E P E X O A H R I C H E X N M A

R I U B G D R O H C I S P R A H

“So glad these jackets are waterproof but so wish my underpants were too.” ASPECT Spring 2011

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Airgun ace is world-class shooter ACE airgun target shooter Steve Chubb travels round the world to compete at the highest level in the sport. The Rhymney driver, who came 11th in the world in 1999, has recently been featured on the front cover of the top-selling Air Gunner magazine. Steve, who owns a PCP rifle and is a member of the Nelson Rifle Club in the Valleys, said:“I took up the sport 27 years ago when my career as a miner came to an end. “It’s highly-competitive and a great way of seeing different countries. “My own club is one of the best in the country and I practice every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning on designated ground. “My pre-charged pneumatic rifle has very low recoil and can fire up to 100 shots per charge. “It cost me £1,500 and is highly-accurate.”

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: Darren Hiscox on a training run in the foothills of the Rhigos mountains near his home at Aberdare.

Mountain runner

hits new heights D

ARREN Hiscox ran up a mountain in the snow last Christmas – but for him, it was nothing out of the ordinary. The Rhymney driver is one Wales’ highest-achieving long distance runners and he has honed his running skills through some of the world’s most challenging terrain. The member of Bridgend Athletics Club has even run up the Matterhorn in Switzerland as a member of the Great Britain team. So his trek up Pen y Fan in midwinter was no unusual challenge. “My main aim was to see the wreckage of a light

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aircraft which had recently crash-landed,” said Darren. With him on the Yuletide yomp was fellow Rhymney driver Sean Birch, also a marathon runner, who said:“Darren’s running skills are phenomenal. “Since I have been training with him I have knocked a substantial amount off my time.” Darren, who has finished 20th in the World Fell Running championships and been a member of the Welsh mountain running team in the World Championships, said:“I train every day in the forest trails round Aberdare where I live.”

Sean aims to regain title TOP bodybuilder Sean Furlong is in training to regain his title of Mr Wales. The Valley Lines conductor has been “bulking up” on double calories as he aims to scoop the title by winning in the qualifying rounds for the British title. Sean said:“Hopefully I will then go on to do well in the British finals.”

Have you got news for us? IF you have a story for Aspect please contact Community Affairs Manager Geraint Morgan on 02920-720521. You can also contact him via email: geraint.morgan@ arrivatw.co.uk

Aspect Spring 2011  

The employee magazine of Arriva Trains Wales/Trenau Arriva Cymrue