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XCLife Spring 2012

The magazine for CrossCountry people

A

novel way to immortalise a station DSEARCH COM OR P W

WIN

ON ITI ET

VILLA GE

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a OO-Gauge Class 220 Voyager in XC livery

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National memorial to railway people who served their country by Andy Cooper MANAGING DIRECTOR, CROSSCOUNTRY

OUR railways have been part of UK life for many years and very often those who join the railway stay with us for a long time too. The commitment so often seen by railway people is often immense and reflects the pride in the job they do. Recognition for people who serve our industry well has always been an important part of railway culture – and when we say long service, we really mean long service! In the last century, the role of the railways during times of conflict was significant. Railway companies released many people for national service and those who stayed at home performed vital tasks keeping industry and supplies moving, often in very difficult circumstances. Many railway stations carry memorials listing railway people who served their country. There are numerous noted examples of heroism too – the railwaymen who died in 1944 moving a burning munitions train away from the town of Soham in Cambridgeshire. Going back further we can find, buried in the local churchyard, those who died in 1842 in a locomotive explosion at Bromsgrove. Indeed the outstanding courage of a few railway people has been recognised with awards of the Victoria Cross. Today the industry continues to support the nation’s Volunteer Reserve Forces and we have released people to serve in recent years. The contribution offered by the railway itself has sometimes been recognised too. I remember how the impressive railway logistics response in support of the Falklands Task Force in 1982 sealed a long-term freight contract with the Ministry of Defence. Recognition for the railway and its people is about to come again. The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas was conceived as “a living tribute to the war time generations of the twentieth century and as a gift to their memory for future generations to reflect upon and enjoy”. You can see it from our trains just south of Burton-on-Trent. More than 160 memorials have been established since the Arboretum opened in 2001 recognising the contribution made by organisations and people, both civil and military. There is presently no memorial to the role of the railways and its people in war and peace time and that is about to be put right. The British Transport Pensioners Federation has been leading an appeal to raise funds to create a permanent memorial at the Arboretum. They have been well supported by the industry, including CrossCountry, and especially by railway pensioners. Stonemasons Strongs Memorials based in Bloxwich near Walsall have been commissioned to carve the locomotive chosen as the memorial to represent the industry. Arrangements are now in hand for it to be unveiled on 22 May this year. Recognising excellence in what railway people do today is so very important. Remembering that others have given exceptional service in the past is important too. I hope that you will think of visiting the National Memorial Arboretum and exploring the stories it now holds.

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XC Life Spring 2012

Employee Engagement Advisor Kate Barnes at her office in Cannon House.

Kate embarks on

return journey K

ATE Barnes has started her second career journey with CrossCountry in the role of Employee Engagement Advisor working as part of the HR team in Cannon House. Kate’s experience in the rail industry covers a variety of front line, training and HR positions giving her a great understanding of some of the daily challenges which the railway faces. Her job involves giving support and advice to people across the business that can enhance engagement and motivation. Working closely with people and their managers enables Kate to follow up on the feedback,

suggestions and ideas from employees. Her role also includes responsibility for internal communications, championing the company’s vision and values and recognition programmes that will celebrate the many things being done well. Kate said: “I am delighted to return to CrossCountry in this exciting and varied role, and particularly looking forward to travelling around the network and working with CrossCountry people. “The industry has always been full of great people and being part of the CrossCountry team once again is a fantastic opportunity to work with some of the best.”

Chang’s parachute jump challenge CHANG Phatranuchit sent out a challenge to colleagues to accompany him on a parachute jump at an airfield in March, Cambridgeshire. He was joined by fellow Reading Retail Service Manager Marcin Zukiewicz, who jumped

from the same plane to make the descent. Chang said: “To jump from 12,000 ft was surreal but it was totally exhilarating. When I was at the door of the plane about to jump out I wondered whether I should be doing it but in the end it was fine – the views were great.”


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Train Manager Andy Hill pictured with Fraser Smith during his rail journey home after seeing his storybook hero Thomas the Tank Engine.

Thomas the Tank Engine fan Fraser

given VIP treatment on special rail trip A

young railways fan who is in danger of losing his sight was given VIP treatment by CrossCountry on his way back from meeting his storybook hero Thomas the Tank Engine. Fraser Smith, aged three, of Moray in north-east Scotland, who suffers from retinoblastoma, was returning from a visit to Thomas Land, Drayton Manor Park, in Staffordshire. His day was made extra-special when staff on the Tamworth to Edinburgh journey took him into the cab as a treat and then presented him with a series of

railway-themed gifts. Fraser, who has lost the sight in one eye and has diminished vision in the other, received a station whistle, a set of despatch flags, a passenger counter and four collector’s item models of CrossCountry trains. Train Manager Andy Hill said: “We upgraded Fraser to First Class and he was thrilled when I and Customer Service Manager Sarah Gould made the presentations to him. “We were only too happy to help make his

journey a trip to remember.” Retail Service Manager Theresa Daisley made sure that Fraser and his relatives enjoyed complimentary refreshments. Fraser’s trip was arranged by Logan’s Fund, a trust set up in memory of a victim of childhood cancer. Cameron Mackintosh, Chairman of Logan’s Fund, said: “We were delighted and touched that CrossCountry gave Fraser an extra special memory of his trip.”

Senior Conductor Ian pens period romance with a railway twist COVER STORY

IAN Gosling has breathed new life into the 1930s railway era in Leicestershire by writing a novel called Love At War. The Senior Conductor’s romantic tale tells of a locomotive fireman called Jack Bosworth who falls in love with a local girl. Their dramatic courtship is played out in 1938-1939 as the storm clouds of war gather and Jack has to fight off the attentions of a love rival. Ian, who is based at Leicester Centre, carried out extensive research into railway

Ian Gosling with some World War II memorabilia at Rothley station. The cover picture shows Ian with his novel manuscript at the station.

history to compile his 260-page book. In one scene Jack’s enemy, the former boyfriend of his girl Rachel, makes a bid to derail his train. Ian said: “My novel has taken four years to write and I have used many locations in Leicestershire as material. “I have combined two real villages, Rothley and Whetstone, near where I live, to create a fictional village called Whetley. I drew inspiration from the present station at Rothley which is now on a preserved steam railway.”

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XC Life focuses on Plymouth Centre where staff face distinctive operational c

Bernadette returns to where her heart is... BERNADETTE Williams has returned to Plymouth depot after a spell in Birmingham – and feels as if she has returned home. “Plymouth is where my heart is,” said the Train Manager, who began life on the railways in 1997 as a senior stewardess. “I always felt as if I was on loan in Birmingham because I was born just a 10 minute walk from Plymouth station and I have a real attachment to the city. I also like the way that Plymouth Centre is a close-knit unit and we’re all one big family.” For Bernadette one of the main attractions of her job is getting to know people on the trains. The wide range of travellers to and from Plymouth – from members of the Armed Forces to students and people who work at the dental hospital – means that her on-board role is always varied. “Plymouth itself is a great place to be based,” she added. “The history and scenery are second to none.”

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XC Life Spring 2012

Pictured at Plymouth station are, left to right, Team Organiser Kim Ayres, Driver Team Manager Adrian Bartlett and Customer Service Manager Michelle Ryan. At the time of photo-call Dominic Gilbert was on paternity leave.

Team has a wealth of RAILWAY EXPERIENCE

Kim Ayres, right, and Michelle Ryan monitor the departure times on the platform information screen.

AT the centre of the Plymouth operation are Adrian Bartlett, Dominic Gilbert, Michelle Ryan and Kim Ayres. Driver Team Manager Adrian, who was born in Sidmouth Junction, East Devon and now lives in the Tamar Valley, has been on the railways all his working life from the time he left school in 1979. He is responsible for the training, assessment and welfare of the drivers along with his colleague Driver Team Manager Darran Lilly who also has responsibilities at Bristol. “We work closely with Network Rail through the Right Time Railway Group, Signal Sighting and regular voice communication joint assessments,” he said. Customer Service Manager Dominic Gilbert started out on the railways in 2002 as a Retail Service

Manager and progressed to his present role via Train Manager. “The biggest challenge in my job centres around time management but I have a good support mechanism around me,” said Dominic, who is a keen footballer in his spare time. Dominic’s wife Deborah has recently given birth to their second daughter Amelie. Customer Service Manager Michelle Ryan works alongside Dominic to look after the on-board crew. Michelle, who has been on the railways for 15 years, lives in Moorswater, Cornwall, and is currently using her spare time to renovate her 150-year-old cottage with her husband. Team Organiser Kim Ayres has been on the railways for 26 years with previous experience as a steward. In her spare time she makes greetings cards and has just taken on an allotment.


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l challenges – including sea waves lashing the line and three severe gradients

Location gives centre unique

character P

LYMOUTH Centre’s distinctive geographical location gives it a character that is unique in the CrossCountry network. As a semi-terminal station it is the starting-point for journeys to the North, North-East and Scotland. Its position on the Devon coast, close to the border with Cornwall, ensures it has a number of unusual operational features.

Plymouth is the only CrossCountry Centre from which staff work England’s most south-westerly rail route to Penzance. The north-easterly route out of Plymouth towards Exeter travels through Dawlish, where the rail line is well-known for its exposure to lashing waves in times of bad weather. A special safety system known as the Dawlish Sea Wall Protocol is activated whenever the route becomes Service impassable. Centre Team On-board Leader Martin crew have to Jones checks meet seasonal stock. challenges of increased volume due to holidaymakers, the large

Driver Andrew Chapman ready to take his train on to Penzance – one of the routes he drives regularly. student population in Plymouth and the location of HMS Raleigh, the naval training facility, and HMNB Devonport, the Royal Navy’s operating base, in the area. The CrossCountry Centre at Plymouth, situated on Platform 8 of Plymouth North Road Station, houses 46 drivers, 33 Train Managers, 20 RSMs and six First Class Hosts. The Service Centre,

which is situated just off the main concourse, is home to six staff. CrossCountry runs 16 northward services daily of which two or three are HSTs, with the rest Voyagers.

Plymouth FACTFILE: ■ North Road Station, which opened in 1877, is situated at the top of Armada Way, Britain’s first pedestrian-only shopping precinct. ■ The 771-mile journey from Aberdeen to Penzance, via Plymouth, is the longest run any train performs in the UK. ■ Most of the PlymouthPenzance line has semaphore signalling which works by changing the angle of a pivoted arm and is now rare in the UK.

Retail Service Manager Juliet Hodge booking on duty. Retail Service Manager Dale Hyatt, left, and First Class Host Colin Wardrop monitor the Centre Health and Safety Notice Board.

■ The South Devon Banks, on the line between Exeter and Plymouth skirting Dartmoor, contain three severe gradients – Dainton Bank, Rattery Bank and Hemerdon Bank. The first of these is the third steepest bank in mainland Britain. XC Life Spring 2012

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As a supplement to the XC Life focus on Plymouth on the previous pages, Driver DAVE HANNA tells us why he loves the city he has called home for most of his 49 years.

Dave Hanna pictured in Central Park, Plymouth – a place where he likes to relax.

Phil Bartlett with his new Pure One Flow Radio at Cannon House.

ENTER Phil Bartlett’s house and you hear the sounds of the WPCV radio station broadcasting from Lakeland Florida. He’s able to listen to his favourite Country and Western singers direct from the USA using a Pure One Flow radio – bought using High Street shopping vouchers awarded by CrossCountry. Phil, who is one of nine train crew controllers in the Control office in Cannon House, received the vouchers as a reward for 10 years’ service. He was keen to remedy the DAB reception problems which he was experiencing at his home in South Staffordshire, and headed off to look at alternative radios. “I bought a Pure One Flow radio and I am thrilled with the result,” said Phil. “It allows my wife and I to listen to 97.5 WPCV radio and other streaming stations, by wifi connection without using a computer, as well as receiving normal FM and digital stations.” So keen are the couple on their music that they made a trip to Florida to watch a country star Easton Corbin give a concert – with a backstage meeting arranged by the Lakeland radio station. “It’s thanks to CrossCountry that we now have the perfect means of listening in,” added Phil. “The Pure One Flow is a wonderful investment, and it’s even better since it was my service award.”

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XC Life Spring 2012

Historic city with a ‘friendly feel’ P

LYMOUTH is really my adopted home because I was born in Milford Haven in Wales. My dad was in the Royal Navy and when I was three he was posted back to Plymouth. I have been here ever since. My earliest childhood memories are of Plymouth and I think of myself as a native! For a boy it was a good place to grow up, with the beaches close by and countryside on the doorstep. My parents settled in Stoke, near to the Dockyard, and I now live less than a mile away. I left Devonport Secondary Modern School in 1977. I was too young to start employment at 15 and went potato picking. At 16 I started my working life and was employed as a storeman for Liptons where I met my wife-to-be, Bev. After a couple of years I joined the railway at Plymouth working as a Trackman on the Permanent Way. In 1985 I successfully answered an

advertisement for Traction Trainees and subsequently became a Driver’s Assistant, Relief Driver and finally Driver. Following rail privatisation, seniority dictated that I had to stay with Great Western but I was able to transfer to CrossCountry that same year. There is a lot of history to be proud of such as the Hoe, the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America in 1620 and the strong naval tradition. Mind you, the sea does not agree with me. I only took the cross-channel ferry once and that was enough! However it’s the friendly feel of the place I like best – and this year is a celebratory year as Bev and I will both be 50 and will have been married for 30 years.

The famous Plymouth Hoe and Smeaton’s Tower looking out over Plymouth Sound.

Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/n2kmp

Vouchers hit the right note for country music fan Phil


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I had honey on toast... and no sticky beak

COLOURFUL DOUBLE ACT: Herbie, right, and Fred who is proving to be the “Victor Meldrew” of the parrot world.

I just don’t belieeeeeve it !

e r a s t o r r a p e u c s e r s ’ n y L Business

s e i d d u b best of H

ERBIE and Fred the Amazon Parrots have struck lucky after being fostered by Lyn Phillips. Already the unlikely duo – one is aged five, the other 55 – are feasting on breakfasts of buttered crumpets or toast with honey. As a special treat they both love a shower with a spray bottle, with the oldest of the two brightly-coloured rescue birds spreading his wings to get a full soaking. Lyn, a Retail Service Manager at Plymouth, is determined to give the parrots a second chance to enjoy themselves. She is fostering Red-Lored Amazon Herbie and Yellow Headed Amazon Fred through the Birdline parrot rescue charity. “I have researched their needs and I am learning all I can about them,” said Lyn. Shower time “They have already become for Fred – the best of buddies and are fine courtesy of a to be out of their cage in the spray bottle lounge for as long as they can get from Lyn. away with it.” Both of the parrots have their moments, and Fred is proving a “Victor Meldrew” character,

with Herbie Lyn Phillips ulder. on her sho

chewing through laptop cables and butting into conversations with “blah, blah, blah.” “They’re often a real laugh but I take their welfare very seriously,” added Lyn. “It’s vital the birds do not come into contact with chemicals, candles, air fresheners and certain foods.” The birds’ main diet is based on seeds, with fresh veg and fruit, though occasionally they might be given a treat of a few chips. ■ Anyone wishing to offer an unwanted parrot a home can visit www.parrot-rescue.org.uk

STATS PERIOD 9 (four weeks to 10/12/11) PERFORMANCE: 87.4% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 59.3%, XC 10.4%, other train operators 30.3% DELAY CAUSED BY XC: 13% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 88.5% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 16.825 (Yearly average 16,799: +4.44% year-on-year) Class 220 – 140,373 (Yearly average 55,253: +49.88% year-on-year) Class 221 – 26,429 (Yearly average 42,832: +32.64% year-on-year) HST – 90,329 (yearly average 23,962: +61.35% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: -0.68% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £11.47 (+5.5% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 71% (last year 81%) XC Life Spring 2012

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CrossCountry’s Marketing Department is working at the forefront of cutting edge communications to showcase services and bring in new revenue

Maximising digital technology to

connect with customers T

Partnership Manager Clare Shufflebotham with leaflets produced to publicise CrossCountry travel services to the Reading Music Festival.

CRM Manager Catherine Terry with an eye-catching email created for distribution to the customer mailing list.

Timetable Production Manager Rakesh Bansal changes a poster in Cannon House Reception.

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XC Life Spring 2012

HE Marketing Department is working at the forefront of digital technology to bring in new revenue and enthuse the public about the services on offer from CrossCountry. At a time when economic circumstances make it difficult to generate new ticket sales, the team led by Louise Blyth is passionately committed to seeking new ways to reach potential customers and sell more smartly to existing travellers. Already big strides have been taken to make travel easier and increase the flow of information from CrossCountry to the travelling public. A newly-introduced smartphone App allows users to plan journeys, look up real time train information and buy tickets, including getting tickets on their mobile. Within the first six months the App has been downloaded 150,000 times and led to CrossCountry being shortlisted in the IT Excellence category of the Rail Business Awards. SMART WORKING: holding up three types of smartphone – Android, iPhone and BlackBerry – which can Meanwhile the unique Ten Minute download the new CrossCountry App are, left to right, Project Manager Scott Masters, Digital Marketing Reservations (TMR) service has been Assistant Rhea Skinner and Marketing and Communications Assistant Chris Thomas. rolled out on Voyagers, providing a text message service allowing carried out from their base next to Anytime and Off-Peak ticket the Communications and Revenue holders to reserve a seat on the day Departments at Cannon House. In of travel. “Both the App and TMR initiatives line with Train Operating Company practice they also produce and pave the way for us to have a much distribute key customer information more helpful relationship with our such as timetable booklets and customers, from the point of engineering work updates. planning the journey through to The members of the team, post-journey feedback” said Louise. reporting to Head of Marketing “They are great examples of Louise Blyth, are Digital and CrossCountry breaking down norms Marketing Communications and doing something everyone else Manager Dean Thorp, Digital said could never happen. Our future plans include enhancing our website Marketing Assistant Rhea Skinner, Timetable Production Manager to make it more relevant to Rakesh Bansal, Customer individual customers, and focusing Communications Manager Ben Hall, more on the business traveller than Customer Relationship Marketing we have previously.” Manager Catherine Terry, Project The Marketing Department’s Manager Scott Masters, Partnership ongoing work of showcasing the Manager Clare Shufflebotham and company’s services through public Digital and Marketing Communications Marketing and Communications relations, social media, customer Manager Dean Thorp views CrossCountry’s Assistant Chris Thomas. communications and advertising is newly-enhanced website.

The Marketing Department welcome your feedback and suggestions – contact them at marketinggroup@crosscountrytrains.co.uk

‘‘

Both the App and TMR initiatives pave the way for us to have a much more helpful relationship with our customers. Louise Blyth, HEAD OF MARKETING

’’

Customer Communications Manager Ben Hall with one of the CrossCountry advertising posters at Birmingham New Street station.

XC Life Spring 2012

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CrossCountry’s Marketing Department is working at the forefront of cutting edge communications to showcase services and bring in new revenue

Maximising digital technology to

connect with customers T

Partnership Manager Clare Shufflebotham with leaflets produced to publicise CrossCountry travel services to the Reading Music Festival.

CRM Manager Catherine Terry with an eye-catching email created for distribution to the customer mailing list.

Timetable Production Manager Rakesh Bansal changes a poster in Cannon House Reception.

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XC Life Spring 2012

HE Marketing Department is working at the forefront of digital technology to bring in new revenue and enthuse the public about the services on offer from CrossCountry. At a time when economic circumstances make it difficult to generate new ticket sales, the team led by Louise Blyth is passionately committed to seeking new ways to reach potential customers and sell more smartly to existing travellers. Already big strides have been taken to make travel easier and increase the flow of information from CrossCountry to the travelling public. A newly-introduced smartphone App allows users to plan journeys, look up real time train information and buy tickets, including getting tickets on their mobile. Within the first six months the App has been downloaded 150,000 times and led to CrossCountry being shortlisted in the IT Excellence category of the Rail Business Awards. SMART WORKING: holding up three types of smartphone – Android, iPhone and BlackBerry – which can Meanwhile the unique Ten Minute download the new CrossCountry App are, left to right, Project Manager Scott Masters, Digital Marketing Reservations (TMR) service has been Assistant Rhea Skinner and Marketing and Communications Assistant Chris Thomas. rolled out on Voyagers, providing a text message service allowing carried out from their base next to Anytime and Off-Peak ticket the Communications and Revenue holders to reserve a seat on the day Departments at Cannon House. In of travel. “Both the App and TMR initiatives line with Train Operating Company practice they also produce and pave the way for us to have a much distribute key customer information more helpful relationship with our such as timetable booklets and customers, from the point of engineering work updates. planning the journey through to The members of the team, post-journey feedback” said Louise. reporting to Head of Marketing “They are great examples of Louise Blyth, are Digital and CrossCountry breaking down norms Marketing Communications and doing something everyone else Manager Dean Thorp, Digital said could never happen. Our future plans include enhancing our website Marketing Assistant Rhea Skinner, Timetable Production Manager to make it more relevant to Rakesh Bansal, Customer individual customers, and focusing Communications Manager Ben Hall, more on the business traveller than Customer Relationship Marketing we have previously.” Manager Catherine Terry, Project The Marketing Department’s Manager Scott Masters, Partnership ongoing work of showcasing the Manager Clare Shufflebotham and company’s services through public Digital and Marketing Communications Marketing and Communications relations, social media, customer Manager Dean Thorp views CrossCountry’s Assistant Chris Thomas. communications and advertising is newly-enhanced website.

The Marketing Department welcome your feedback and suggestions – contact them at marketinggroup@crosscountrytrains.co.uk

‘‘

Both the App and TMR initiatives pave the way for us to have a much more helpful relationship with our customers. Louise Blyth, HEAD OF MARKETING

’’

Customer Communications Manager Ben Hall with one of the CrossCountry advertising posters at Birmingham New Street station.

XC Life Spring 2012

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New starters, long service & leavers A warm welcome to the following who have recently joined the company: Sarah Rumble, Retail Service Manager; Les Sibbald, Retail Service Manager; Max Hewitt, Service Centre Team; Craig Pearson, Revenue Protection Officer; Kimberley Bracher, Train Manager; Samantha Knights, Conductor; Terence Wood, Conductor; Matthew Pocock, Head of Train Planning and Strategic Timetable Development; Siobhan Dunne, Call Centre Consultant; Kate Barnes, Employee Engagement Advisor; Chris Thomas, Marketing and Communications Assistant; John Cole, Service Centre Team; Richard Saunders, Service Centre Team; Thomas Brydon, First Class Host; Brian Mills, Retail Service Manager; Adam Donoghue, Retail Service Manager; Sean McKee, First Class Host; Liam Gormley, Retail Service Manager; Mark Nevins, First Class Host; Charlotte White, Call Centre Consultant.

RSM Steve Greenaway with a tray of freshly baked cookies at the Birmingham New Street service centre.

Congratulations to the following who have received long service awards: 25 YEARS Michael Barker, Plymouth Train Manager; Adrian Compton, Plymouth Train Manager; Steven Hudson, Bristol Train Manager; Andrew Fudge, Birmingham Resource Centre. 10 YEARS Alan MacPherson, Edinburgh Driver; Paul McCann, Edinburgh Driver; Stewart Hunter, Edinburgh Driver; Eileen Brown, Team Organiser; Jane Crombie, Edinburgh Train Manager; Liz Ahrens, Reading Retail Service Manager; John Breach, Bournemouth Driver; Andy Sheehan, Bournemouth Driver; Steve Langley, Bournemouth Driver; Gill Thomson, Regional Manager LNE and Scotland; Martin Bloomfield, Regional Driver Manager, LNW; Paul Hopkins, Birmingham Service Centre; Simon Chaperon, Leicester Driver; Mark Young, Edinburgh Driver; Grant Laing, Edinburgh Driver; Lynn Heath, Operations Performance; Clare Davies, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Matt Hooper, Bristol Train Manager; George Pugh, Newcastle Train Manager; Steve Straughan, Newcastle Train Manager; David Brereton, Newcastle Train Manager; Ian Manktelow, Stations Customer Service Manager; Ed Orwin, Newcastle Train Manager; Jack Smith, Newcastle Train Manager; Joanne Lydon, Newcastle Train Manager; Graham Hodgson, Newcastle Train Manager; Brian Johnson, Newcastle Train Manager; Roy Watson, Newcastle Train Manager; Ferdinand Vendil, Edinburgh Station Staff; Richard Niven, Edinburgh Driver; Justine McLeay, Bristol Driver; Grant Henderson, Edinburgh Retail Service Manager; Simon Turner, Derby Driver; Christopher Longhurst, Customer Service Manager; Steven Elliott, Newcastle Train Manager; Lee Irving, Newcastle Train Manager; Geoff Hawkins, Newcastle Train Manager; Dave Ramshaw, Newcastle Train Manager; Mandy Miller, Birmingham Station Staff; Saltes Rahman, Birmingham Train Manager; Maggy Doonan, Edinburgh First Class Host; Charlie Letham, Edinburgh Retail Service Manager; Phil Potter, Bournemouth Retail Service Manager; Kevin Smith, Birmingham Train Manager; Laura Pennyfeather, Birmingham Train Manager; Andy Biggs, Birmingham Train Manager; Andy Mitchell, Birmingham Train Manager; Tony Plumley, CrossCountry Fleet; Neil Shelton, Derby Driver; Joe Healey, Edinburgh Train Manager; Tony Hulson, Birmingham Train Manager; Garry Blakeman, Birmingham Customer Services Advisor; Douglas Sopp, Bournemouth Retail Service Manager; Allan Dale, Bournemouth Retail Service Manager; Allen Wright, Bournemouth Train Manager; Michael Flynn, Leicester Driver; Eunice Fraser, Edinburgh Station Staff.

BEST wishes to the following staff who are retiring: Stephen James, Birmingham Driver (49 years service); Stewart Howells, Birmingham Driver (49 years service); Steven Cave, Leicester Driver (47 years service); Anthony Robinson, Birmingham Driver (34 years service); Michael Menzfeld, Edinburgh Train Manager (32 years service).

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XC Life Spring 2012

Steve’s new role is

an eye-opener R

ETAIL Service Manager Steve Greenaway knows all about the sterling work performed behind the scenes by CrossCountry’s service centre staff. Steve has become one of them himself by volunteering for a sixth-month secondment to the team at Birmingham New Street. Seeing from the inside how the job involves varied tasks including baking pastries, putting orders into boxes and then taking them up to the platforms has given him a new insight into the role. “It’s been a bit of an eye-opener,” said Steve. “Starting at 0500 if you’re

on the early shift, you have to take as many as 60 loads per day up to the platforms. “You have to keep your eye on train arrivals and are often required to take the order from one platform to another if there’s a late change. “When I go back to my on-board job I will definitely appreciate the key role of the service centre staff more.” Steve and five other volunteers stepped in to help with extra service centre workload at New Street due to the closure of the tunnels underneath the platforms during the station remodelling.

Effective operational arrangements CROSSCOUNTRY is working with Network Rail to decide on the most effective operational arrangements for the electrification of the Western Route. The first stage is scheduled to go from London Paddington to Newbury, Oxford and Bristol by December 2016. While Airport Junction to Maidenhead will be constructed by the Network Rail Crossrail teams, and Reading station will be delivered during existing

access by the current remodelling team, other areas will be delivered by Electrification Teams. Network Rail plans to use an ergonomic High Output Train to construct overhead line equipment. “This should result in less access requests for operators and allowing us to do what we do best – run trains,” said CrossCountry’s Production Projects Manager Joanne Higgs.


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Vital help for KENYAN SCHOOL CrossCountry employee is raising funds to help set up a modern water supply for a school in Kenya. Malcolm Seymour and his wife Val first visited Mwokoeni Children’s Centre and Primary School when on a safari trip three years ago. They heard how Head Teacher John Oondo is planning an electrical pump and storage tanks to benefit both the school and the surrounding village of Bombolulu – population 10,000 – near Mombasa. Plymouth Train Manager Malcolm is raising awareness of the project which will help combat water shortages in an area regularly hit by malaria and cholera. “We have visited the school four times and we have become very involved with the appeal,” he said. “The school has a bore hole but a pump system costing £3,600 would guarantee a constant supply

A

and allow them to sell the water to villagers, raising money to run the school, pay the staff and support children who have moved on to higher education. “The school of 200 children together with the centre for destitute youngsters provides a really valuable service in an area of great need, with little support from the government. It is run on Christian principles with support from other faiths.” Malcolm is hoping CrossCountry colleagues might be willing to donate to the water project, and Plymouth Customer Service Manager Dominic Gilbert has already committed to doing a parachute jump to raise funds. ● Anyone wishing to lend support should contact Malcolm at malcolm890seymour@ btinternet.com.

Fond farewell after 50 years on railways COLLEAGUES threw a special retirement party for Dennis Robinson at a venue dear to the Manchester Driver’s heart. The send-off took place in the refreshment room of Bury station on the East Lancs Railway where he has spent much of his spare time. To mark his 50 years on the railways CrossCountry friends past and present had commissioned a Bachmann model of a BR Class 9F loco as a leaving present. “Dennis worked on this steam engine at Lower Darwen in his early days as a fireman so it seemed a fitting present,” said Driver David McCumskey. Driver Team Manager Neil Wignall – who is pictured right making the presentation to Dennis at the farewell party – said: “Dennis always acted in a professional manner and was highly regarded by all who had the pleasure to work with him.”

Malcolm Seymour and his wife Val pictured in Kenya with children from the Mwokoeni Children’s Centre and Primary School. Inset, John chats with Head Teacher John Oondo.

Business STATS PERIOD 10 (four weeks to 7/1/12) PERFORMANCE: 87.3% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 59.1%, XC 10.1%, other train operators 30.8% DELAY CAUSED BY XC: 34.4% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 89.3% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 28,162 (Yearly average 18,432: +19.59% year-on-year) Class 220 – 62,824 (Yearly average 58,127: +51.35% year-on-year) Class 221 – 44,453 (Yearly average 42,815: +25.63% year-on-year) HST – 57,809 (yearly average 27,929: +102.00% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: -2.63% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £11.22 (+4.4% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 70% (last year 61%) XC Life Spring 2012

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Right Royal

Recipes CrossCountry’s very own Royal chef Jules Bacon, who was once cook to the Queen Mother at the Royal Lodge, offers you a recipe for a tasty seasonal dish.

Navarin of Lamb with turned spring vegetables. INGREDIENTS: 1.5 lbs stewing lamb 1/2 lb button onions 1/2 lb turned carrots 1/2 lb turned turnips 1/2 lb turned potatoes 1 bouquet garni – can be purchased from any supermarket 1 pint lamb stock 1oz flour 1 crushed clove of garlic 3/4 oz tomato puree 1/4 lb mixed diced celery, carrot and onion 1 bay leaf 1 sprig thyme

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METHOD Cut four neck cutlets and eight pieces of breast of lamb into 2.5 ins x 2.5 ins cubes free from fat. Put the dripping in a braising pan and saute the lamb cubes till golden brown. Add the mixed diced celery, carrot, onion, sprig of thyme and bay leaf to the meat and colour. Pour off the fat and dust with the flour and place in the oven to brown. Remove from the oven and add the tomato puree plus the chopped garlic and moisten with the stock. Bring to the boil and skim: then add the bouquet garni. Simmer undercover in a moderate oven for 1.5 hours. Sauté the button onions, carrots and turnips in butter to a golden brown colour and blanch the potatoes. Remove the meat from the pan and place in a clean pan. Add the sautéed veg and the turned blanched potatoes. Strain the sauce and correct the seasoning consistency and colouring. Dilute with a little stock if necessary. Add the sauce to the meat and vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer until the meat and veg are tender. Remove the fat and serve.

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Naz Hussain pictured walking in Wales in training for his trip to the sacred mountain in the Punjab.

Mountain climb fulfils

Naz’s childhood dream N

AZ Hussain has fulfilled his childhood dream of climbing a sacred mountain in his native Punjab. The Birmingham Driver made the ascent of 3,200-foot Tilla Jogian, the “Hill of the Saints,” in the Jhelum District of Pakistan during a visit to his family. While growing up he was fascinated by the legends linked with the mountain, including one on a Romeo and Juliet theme, and he has since nursed an ambition to tackle the climb. Naz started out at daybreak with a group of friends including his brother-in-law and journeyed by jeep along a rocky road for 20 miles to reach the base. They then made the three-and-a-half hour ascent

of the mountain which is shaped like a camel’s back and is dotted with Hindu temples. “It was a wonderful climb, peaceful and quiet along verdant slopes,” said Naz. “From the top there are great views of the Himalayas. “It was a childhood dream to climb the mountain. When I returned my family said – you have conquered Tilla Jogian today!” Naz is a seasoned walker, having climbed Snowdon five times and completed a number of treks in Scotland. He raises money for the Eye Care Project run by his brother-in-law, an eye specialist, and each year sends at least enough cash to Jhelum to pay for a free eye operation. BACK AT WORK: Naz pictured at Birmingham New Street station.

Business STATS PERIOD 11 (four weeks to 4/2/12) PERFORMANCE: 90% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 59.3%, XC 11.5%, other train operators 29.1% DELAY CAUSED BY XC: 20.2% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 89.4% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 15,855 (Yearly average 18,441: +21.94% year-on-year) Class 220 – 34,139 (Yearly average 53,870: +28.76% year-on-year) Class 221 – 40,792 (Yearly average 42,891: +20.28% year-on-year) HST – 13,291 (yearly average 28,717: +117.15% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: +6.34% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £10.96 (+1.0% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 67% (last year 71%)


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XClassified

AWARD RECOGNISES

Red Cross work J

ASON Waddington played a key role in co-ordinating the emergency services’ response to a “gas explosion” in West Yorkshire. Luckily it wasn’t for real – Jason was acting in his role as a volunteer for the Fire and Emergency Support Service. The Leeds Train Manager is an established member of the organisation which is administered by Red Cross staff in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. During the simulation exercise he acted as a rest centre manager Red Cross liaising with police, volunteer Jason fire, ambulance and Waddington proudly the local authority holds aloft his Arriva from a position in Community Action the control room Bronze Award. – situated for the day in North Allerton community centre. Jason has just been awarded an Arriva Community Action Bronze Award for his ongoing participation in the Red Cross scheme. “I have recently taken on a training role, helping other volunteers to learn the ropes,” he said. “As well as being on call by pager for fire and emergency incidents in West Yorkshire when I am off-duty on the railways, I am also on the national register for major incidents. “I was on stand-by for the Carlisle floods, for instance. It is very satisfying to be able to help others, and there’s also some overlap with my job at CrossCountry. I am dealing with customers in tricky situations on a daily basis, and this helps if I am required to help disaster victims to calm down.” In one of his real-life disaster situations, Jason helped provide hot drinks, snacks and support to evacuees after a fire in a garage in Bradford city centre.

The section is open to anyone who has something to sell, rents out holiday accommodation, runs a mobile disco, is organising a football match or an excursion to celebrate a birthday, wanting to let people know about a night out... or is simply looking to place an appeal for a specific item. To place an advert here contact us at: – communications@crosscountrytrains.co. uk or ron.quenby@btconnect.com

BASS GUITAR Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray Bass guitar, with two band active EQ and Humbucking pickup. Schaller BM tapered-post tuners, three colour sunburst ash body. Maple neck and finger board. A classic instrument in fine condition, pictures available. Offers in the region of £995. Call Neil Wignall on 07887 896925 for more information.

DISCOUNT RATES FOR HAIR AND PHOTOS CrossCountry staff will receive a discount if they book hairdressing and photography services from two firms whose websites were created by Leeds RSM Alex Wild. Iconic Look, a mobile hairdresser’s in Yorkshire, offers women a personalised look, hair colouring or hair extensions with details at www.iconiclook.co.uk. A wide range of professional photography services including portrait, advertising, modelling, corporate and travel are available at peterhowarthphotography.com, a Leeds-based photographic business.

‘‘

It is very satisfying to be able to help others, and there’s also some overlap with my job at CrossCountry.

JASON WADDINGTON

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Announcements with a dash of flair... A CrossCountry Train Manager has been praised for the second time in the national press for the creative quality of his announcements. Bristol-based John Shackleford is well known among passengers for his positive presentation of the stops along the route. He salutes “Tranquil Torquay,” “Prestigious Plymouth,” “Charismatic Cheltenham,” “Delectable Dawlish” and the “Educational seat of excellence we know as Exeter.” One group of customers texted in to the free morning newspaper The Metro’s Good

CrossCountry staff are invited to advertise for free in this quarterly ‘small ads’ column.

Deed Feed to say how impressed they were. Calling themselves Happy Commuters, South-West, the passengers wrote: “Many thanks to the Train Manager who wishes the ‘Wheels of Friendship’ to travel with us through Titillating Tiverton, Tantalising Taunton and Brunel’s Bustling Bristol Temple Meads.” Some time ago John’s announcements were praised in The Times newspaper by a travel correspondent. John said: “A lot of customers seem to appreciate them. I try to be informative but light-hearted.”

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – holiday home to rent Five-bedroom villa with pool/spa. Close to Disney Parks. Located on secure resort community with superb clubhouse facilities. XC employee-owned. Tel. 07875 468655 or visit www.floridadisneymoments.com.

VINTAGE 500 SERIES AMERICAN DIAL TELEPHONE This phone, which has a loud ring, is the type on show in Kojak, the Rockford Files and movies from the 1960s and 1970s. It was made in North America in the 1960s and has been refurbished so that it is now compatible with current BT and most cable phone systems. Simply plug into an existing socket. It sells on Pedlars.co.uk for £115 (check the website if you want to see what it looks like) but it’s on offer for £40. Contact Will Adderley on 0121 200 6173 or email william.adderley@crosscountry trains.co.uk

THESE ADVERTS ARE ALSO INCLUDED IN THE SOCIAL SECTION OF THE CROSSCOUNTRY INTRANET SITE, WHICH IS AVAILABLE AT ALL CENTRES. XC Life Spring 2012

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Ask me another MILLIE MORRIS, First Class Host, tells us about herself. Millie, aged 47, is married to husband Ker and has a daughter, Jodie, and two grandsons. At the moment I am… enjoying my role as a First Class Host based in Bristol Centre. As well as making hot drinks and serving food I make a point of chatting to my customers and giving advice where required. The best thing about my job is… making new friends and meeting lots of different characters. I try to establish a rapport with my regulars. The most unusual thing that has happened to me at work since I started in 2004 is… the discovery of a blow-up lifesize model of a man which had been left behind by a hen party! My most valuable possession is… my home. If I have time to myself… I will read and socialise with friends. I enjoy time with my best friend, Lyndsey. My favourite music, books and films are… music from the seventies and eighties, thrillers by Dean Koontz, and the films Mamma Mia and Sweet Home Alabama. The famous people I would invite to a dinner party are… George Clooney – there would be no need to invite anyone else! When I was a child I wanted to be… a police lady.

Millie Morris pictured outside the iconic frontage of Bristol Temple Meads station.

The best bit of advice I was ever given… don’t take life too seriously. Enjoy your loved ones. My favourite place in the world… being at home.

Company scoops top award for second successive year CROSSCOUNTRY has been recognised as a leading train operator through the award of a “Golden Whistle” for Best Operational Performance. It’s the second year in succession that the company has received the accolade,

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which is given annually by the Institution of Railway Operators in conjunction with Modern Railways magazine. “This success is testimony to the excellent performance, dedication and

attention to detail by everyone at CrossCountry,” said Philip Meikle, Head of Performance. “The fact that the Golden Whistle is awarded by industry colleagues should make everyone in the company proud.”


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WIN a model Voyager in our

Home move journey challenge

FOUR prizes including a collector’s item model are on offer in our wordsearch for the Spring issue. The theme is villages and hamlets, to reflect our story about Ian Gosling and his novel set in rural Leicestershire. A Bachmann model of an 00 Gauge Class 220 four-car Voyager, painted in CrossCountry livery, is on offer together with three High Street vouchers. Entries should arrive no later than 30 April. Only CrossCountry employees are eligible to enter. Simply ring the words in the grid, cut it out and send it with your name, address and phone number to: Kate Barnes, Employee Engagement Advisor, CrossCountry, 5th Floor, Cannon House, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 6BS.

JANETTE Bradbury’s job transfer from one Centre to another led her to undertake a 136-mile journey by road in the depths of winter. The Customer Service Manager’s house move from Manchester to Cambridge took place between Christmas and New Year. “We drove our own removal vehicle and it was a tough journey through ice-cold rain,” she said. “However I am now settled in my new home and thoroughly enjoying my new job. Everybody has been really welcoming and I couldn’t have had a warmer reception.” Janette, previously in the CSM role at Manchester, is now looking after Senior Conductors and Revenue Protection Inspectors in Cambridge and Leicester, from her base at Cambridge Centre.

village themed wordsearch

Please indicate the prize you would like to win in order of preference by putting numbers in the boxes. If the top choice is the model train, write 1 in the box. For your second choice write 2 etc. OO GAUGE CLASS 220 VOYAGER £20 CURRYS/PC WORLD VOUCHER £20 VUE CINEMA VOUCHER £20 PIZZA HUT VOUCHER

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THE WINNERS IN LAST ISSUE WERE: Lee Davis, Class 220 fourcar Voyager, Julian Fisher, £20 Currys voucher; Steve Awford, £20 Pizza Hut voucher; Rob Spears, Vue Cinema voucher.

KEIG MORE REED BOWES CORFE TOWIE BIBURY DENHAM FOXTON GOADBY BRAEMAR COOKHAM DOWNHAM HAWORTH HOLT END MITFORD GRASMERE THARSTON CRANBORNE ERMINGTON MOUSEHOLE BEDDGELERT BORROWDALE HUTTON-LE-HOLE CHURCH MINSHULL HAMPTON-IN-ARDEN

Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

H U T T O N L E H O L E R A I B

A S Q U F I N O T G N I M R E O

M I T F O R D I R L O S O D U R

P A H E X O C H O J I A D L Y R

T W A R T F E I W O T G D I R O

O I R C O O K H A M E R U B A W

N Y S O N M H E H L Y B I G Y D

I M T S A A O F E D X R R M E A

N E O H R H C R P I E A E H S L

A R N E Y N T M O U S E H O L E

R E U G R W K A S M A M R L U V

D W D O U O O E E R U A S T H E

E O I A B D W R I O V R E E C F

N H B D I O E Y R G T R H N A R

C R A N B O R N E S O E A D F O

A W L L U H S N I M H C R U H C

New job is cutting cost of travelling JOINING CrossCountry has saved Steve Bird an 83-mile journey to get to work. The Driver lives at Market Harborough and faced a road trip to the London area on a regular basis when he was with East Midlands Trains. After changing TOCs he is finding that his current base at Leicester Centre is far more convenient – and saves him a substantial amount in fuel costs. “It was a bit of a challenge to get down to London St Pancras to book on when I worked for my previous train company,” said Steve. “Now I can either get a train to come in to work or drive in. “I’m saving all the time on petrol and travelling costs, especially relevant in these days of high fuel prices.” XC Life Spring 2012

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PUTTING IN THE EFFORT: Matt Stratford coaches two budding golfers at Knowle Golf Club, Bristol.

Matt chips in to coach

budding golfers M

ATT Stratford lives five minutes away from a golf club – so he’s well placed to chip in with their youth coaching scheme. The Bristol Train Manager is well known as a member of Knowle Golf Club where he plays off a handicap of six and is twice winner of tournaments. After passing on his knowledge to his sevenyear-old son Samuel he has now joined the club’s initiative to teach local youngsters. “I jumped at the chance because I think it’s a wonderful way of keeping young people off the streets,” said Matt.

“Rather than sitting at a computer all day they can be learning the etiquette and sportsmanship that goes with golf. I teach them to play by the rules and emphasise that fair play is paramount.” Around 40 budding golfers from three surrounding housing estates turn up for the coaching on a regular basis. Matt added: “I usually teach the smaller youngsters aged six or seven. A lot of them have potential – the club’s scheme has already produced a 10-year-old girl who was selected to play in a high profile tournament in America.”

John’s two hour scenic cycle to work JOHN Bedford lives further away from his Centre than any of his colleagues – but he still cycles in to work. The Manchester Driver bikes in from his home in Nantwich three or four times a week on average. Keen cyclist John, who owns

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six bikes, enjoys the sport because it keeps him fit and allows him to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. “My journey from home, which can take up to two hours, takes in scenic views around Sandbach and Holmes Chapel,” he said.

Kerry hot

foots it

for charity KERRY Cross walked over hot coals at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit to raise £780 for the Little Heroes Cancer Trust. The Leeds Customer Service Manager received hints on how to approach the fire walk during a seminar before the pub challenge at The Scotland in Birstall, West Yorkshire. “It was quite nerve wracking,” said Kerry. “The heat was intense – you certainly had to keep moving.”

Call us with your stories IF you have a story for the staff magazine please contact Ron Quenby on 07966 424382 or at ron.quenby@btconnect.com

Published by CrossCountry. Telephone 0121 2006038. communications@crosscountrytrains.co.uk


XC Life Spring 2012