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XCLife Summer 2012

The magazine for CrossCountry people

s y a d d e l l i Steam-f avourite

WORDSE AR C

WIN

MPETITION CO

 PAGE SEVEN

I TE S UR O

H

e n i g n e tank

LDREN’S F C HI AV

with children’s f

a OO-Gauge Class 220 Voyager in XC livery

 PAGE 15


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It’s a tough journey to our destination of greater efficiency

CAKE WONDERLAND: Donna Lockley with one of her novelty cakes – with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

by Andy Cooper MANAGING DIRECTOR, CROSSCOUNTRY

LAST year the McNulty report reminded us that our industry is still too costly. Whether we trust the international comparisons or not, the report pointed out that while rail travel has been growing, average costs have not fallen as you might expect given the railway’s high fixed costs. We need to accept that, move on and focus on initiatives which reduce the costs of our operation – by making sure we are doing the right things and doing them well. I am encouraged that, even in our fifth year of operation, we are still finding ways to get better value from the money we spend. But our railways are not just facing tougher challenges on costs. There is also a growing desire to toughen up how we are held to account for other things we do. Some of this of course stems from the deep-seated view of railways as a “public service” with significant public funding. But we see similar changes elsewhere today, for example, with more company shareholders deciding to use their muscle at AGMs. The snows in Kent in 2010 led to a strong focus on Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD). Our review of our arrangements suggested our processes were pretty good but there were things we could do better. We have taken action. But the reaction to the snow led to the industry-wide “PIDD” initiative, then attracting the attention of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), which led ultimately to a change to our Operators Licence, which allows enforcement action to be taken if in future we are found wanting. Last month Passenger Focus published its review of the way passengers are handled when they board a train without a valid ticket. We need to make it easy for people to choose and to buy the right ticket. One complaint is that some operators are not reasonable (or consistent) in their reaction to passengers who forget to buy a ticket, carry their ticket, bring their railcard or get on the wrong train. We have tried to address these problems – for example, with initiatives like our refund, if a railcard is held but left at home! Our aim remains to reduce conflict on board and deal reasonably with passengers. This provides the true incentive for us to innovate, and in truth we don’t need more rules to encourage us. You will have spotted that the ORR is demanding action from Network Rail (NR) to deliver the level of PPM performance by 2014, which it had committed to and for which it has been funded. It is falling short at the moment. We are working with NR on initiatives to help lift the threat of a fine, and instead use the funds they risk losing, to improve performance over the next two years. A tough approach but it might just help. Our business is very focused – we contract out some activities, leaving us to concentrate on delivering the core service we promise to customers. I believe that ability to focus so clearly on what matters in our business, helps us drive for service excellence and greater efficiency. The challenges we face are tough but we need no more incentive than to deliver our promises and build our reputation for offering great service on great journeys.

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XC Life Summer 2012

Donna’s delight is

the icing on the cake F

ROM Tutankhamun’s mask to a sports shoe with a stiletto heel... Donna Lockley chooses a variety of ingenious themes for her novelty cakes. The Birmingham Train Manager began by making celebration cakes for family and friends. She liked her new hobby so much that she attended an icing course at the Slattery School of Excellence in Manchester. Now she regularly takes commissions and answers requests from CrossCountry colleagues. She made the King Tut image for Craig Stuart, Birmingham RSM, to celebrate the birthday of his partner who loves Egypt. For Garry Blakeman, Retail Service Manager at Birmingham, she made the likeness of a train. “I ask people what theme they would like when they order a cake for a birthday, wedding or similar occasion,” said Donna. “For my designs I get my inspiration from the internet or magazines, and I use a range of coloured icings.”

BAKE LIKE AN EGYPTIAN: Donna’s King Tut cake.


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Slimline Sandra’s

healthy

eating

regime S

ANDRA McEvoy is inspiring her CrossCountry colleagues with her successful slimming campaign. The Bristol Train Manager has lost almost five stones after attending Slimming World classes for just over a year. With the aim of trimming a further 11lbs off her current 12 stone 3lbs weight, she has adopted a healthy eating regime at lunchtimes. Watched by admiring workmates, she unveils a series of Tupperware containers full of grapes, pineapples, risotto, Dairylea cheese triangles or jacket potatoes. “Quite a few people have started raiding my containers, and some have said they are thinking about joining Slimming World,” said Sandra, who was named Greatest Loser in her group at Burnham-on-Sea. “Since being a member I have learned about the value of so-called ‘free foods’ and ‘super free foods’ like pineapples, which are all low in calories.” Sandra appreciates the way her consultant Hayley at Slimming World made allowance for her shift work by not penalising her for missing a session. Since she began going to weekly meetings and adopted a diet plan, her confidence has increased and she is full of get-up-and-go. “Customers have noticed and one of them came and sat down beside me on the station to say he hardly recognised me,” she added. Giving Sandra moral support is Bristol Team Organiser Lara Thomas who encouraged her to join Slimming World and has lost 1.5 stones since she re-joined recently herself.

‘‘

Customers have noticed and one of them came and sat down beside me on the station to say he hardly recognised me...

SANDRA McEVOY

’’ Train Manager Sandra McEvoy pictured at Bristol station. Inset left, plenty of space in her old trousers – Sandra with colleague Lara Thomas who supported her during the slimming campaign.

Gary is walking his way to fitness and charity fundraising GARY Creak, Senior Conductor at Cambridge, has shed four and a half stones since stepping out on a walking spree. To date his most ambitious trek has been 23 miles from Ely to Cambridge, along the River Nene. Now he is planning to walk in the

World Heart Day event at Ferry Meadows, Nene Park in Peterborough later in the year. Gary will be raising money towards a Cardiopulmonary Bypass Machine for the Papworth Hospital Charity. He said: “Walking is a very good way of

keeping fit – I combine it with going to the gym three times a week. “It’s great to be able to fundraise for a good cause at the same time. I am taking part in the World Heart Day event because my father, who died five years ago, was treated at Papworth Hospital.” XC Life Summer 2012

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XC Life focuses on Reading Centre where staff are rising to the challenges posed

Ensuring right equipment is in place for staff AT the centre of the Reading operation are Jane Hyndman and Jo Taylor. Jane, who was born and bred in Reading, is Team Organiser and also supports regional managers. “I ensure front line staff have the right equipment in place to perform their duties to a professional standard,” said Jane. The mum-of-four has been on the railway since 1988, following in the footsteps of her father and older brothers. Jane’s husband, Harry, is the Senior Resources Manager at Cannon House and two of her sons are following in the family tradition. Train Manager Robert Hyndman, aged 22, and Retail Service Manager Joe Hyndman, aged 24, are both based at Reading. Customer Service Manager Jo, who has been temporarily responsibility for Bournemouth, looks after all grades at Reading together with the staff at the Service Centre alongside the station which will move into a new purpose-built building next Spring. Born in Hull, she began on the railways as a Revenue Inspector based in Leeds and then worked as a Customer Service

Manager in Birmingham before moving to Reading. She said: “At the moment one of my key challenges is to support the staff in dealing with the massive construction project that is going on around them at the station.” Jo has two sons Elliot, aged 20, and Harrison, aged 17, and in her spare time she is a group scout leader in Warwick.

Team Organiser Jane Hyndman, right, and Customer Service Manager Jo Taylor.

Members of the Service Centre Team, left to right, Lucasz Szozda, Howard Corrie, Max Hewitt, Ciaran Conroy and Papa G. Gomez.

Train Manager Jules Bacon books on for her shift.

Job with variety and many good friends... VARIETY and friendship – these are the best things about her job according to Reading Train Manager Jules Bacon. Jules, who lives in the suburb of Caversham, works trains to Bournemouth and Birmingham, sometimes going on to Guildford from Birmingham. On an early shift she can find herself booking on at 0400, passing on a First Great Western train down to Guildford and then working back on the 0602 from Guildford to Reading. “When I first started 14

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XC Life Summer 2012

years ago somebody said to me – If you last six months you will be on the railways for life,” said Jules. “You get used to the shift system, you meet a wide variety of people and you make friends because a lot of good people work on the railway.” The passengers Jules meets in her job range from commuters, people going on holiday, students from Reading and Oxford Universities and travellers returning laden with luggage from the cruise liners in Southampton.


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sed by the disruption of station remodelling including new track and platforms

Vital interchange location

on busy rail section R

EADING Centre is situated on one of the busiest sections of the country’s rail network just 20 miles to the west of London. Reading station is a vital interchange location with CrossCountry providing Train Managers for Voyagers travelling to Bournemouth and Birmingham. Catering staff work routes to Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol and Bournemouth. Such is the complexity of the track layout in and out of Reading station that it is currently being remodelled by Network Rail. With new track and platforms being built to improve passengers’ journeys, rail staff are having to cope with a degree of disruption as they go about their daily duties. “Everybody is taking it in their stride,” said Jo Taylor, Customer Service Manager. “At Reading we have a really dedicated team who are rising to the challenge.” Based at Reading Centre are Relaxing in the mess room are, foreground, Train Managers Guy Reed and Jules Bacon and, back, Bournemouth Train Managers Malcolm Jarrett, left, and Tony Hulson.

Service Centre Team Member Max Hewitt delivers supplies to a train at Reading station. Receiving the provisions is First Class Host Caroline Irving of Newcastle. 14 Train Managers, 10 First Class Hosts, 19 Retail Service Managers, one Revenue

Protection Inspector, two Service Centre Team Leaders and 12 Service Centre Team Members. “Reading staff are a friendly and welcoming bunch,” said Team Organiser Jane Hyndman. “I believe they all take pride in their roles within CrossCountry. There are frequent get-togethers and days out arranged throughout the year.”

The Centre is situated on the second floor of Brook Henderson House on Blagrave Street diagonally across from the back entrance to the station. The accommodation, which has recently been re-decorated, contains two meeting rooms and a quiet/computer room as well as a messroom, booking on point and offices.

Reading FACTFILE: ■ Reading station is the ninth busiest station outside London. ■ The Malmaison Hotel, formerly the Great Western Hotel and built in 1844, is thought to be the oldest surviving railway hotel in the world. ■ The station concourse built in 1989 includes a shopping arcade named after Brunel.

■ T.E. Lawrence, who was known as Lawrence of Arabia, lost the 250,000-word first draft of his famous book Seven Pillars of Wisdom while changing trains at Reading station in 1919. ■ Five new platforms and a new passenger footbridge with escalators are being provided under the Reading station area redevelopment.

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First come, first play for soccer tournament AN appeal is going out for football teams of a maximum eight players to enter this year’s CrossCountry Cup. The company is again supporting the five-a-side tournament which will take place on 21 July from noon until 5pm The tournament will host 16 teams from across the network – and entrants will be accepted on a first come first served basis. All teams – with a minimum of five members – must come from the same depot or department and must work for a railway or Arriva bus company. There’s a charge of £24 per team and cheques should be sent to Pete Donnelly, payable to Goals Soccer Centre, at 93 Yateley Crescent, Great Barr, Birmingham, B42 1JH. Train Manager Pete said: “I would ask captains to email me to say that they would like to enter a team and that they have sent me a cheque with the name of their team and depot. “I will accept the first 16 team entries to enter and the entry fee is non-refundable. All team players must bring their own work photo ID with them on the day.” The deadline for entries is 14 July – or earlier if the places are taken.

Extra CCTV to improve safety FORWARD and rear-facing CCTV is to be fitted to the CrossCountry fleet. With installation scheduled to begin in July, the majority of Voyagers, HSTs and Turbostars should be equipped by the end of the year. The initiative demonstrates CrossCountry’s continued commitment to improving safety, accident investigations and railway security. The addition of technology to enable remote downloading of data from the cameras will enable footage to be viewed directly after the event without the need to get people to trains to download hard drives. The CCTV will enable CrossCountry to work more closely with Network Rail, BTP and others to improve the safety and security of the railway while helping to reduce delays.

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XC Life Summer 2012

As a supplement to the XC Life focus on Reading on the previous pages, Train Manager GUY REED tells us why he loves the town in which he was born and bred.

Guy Reed in Forbury Gardens with its iconic lion statue in the background.

THAMES TOWN with a

cosmopolitan

‘‘ feel I

was born in Caversham, a suburb of Reading, and I lived a mere five minutes’ walk away from the River Thames. As a child I spent hours playing football on a field by the river and in the summertime my family would take me on boat trips to Henley-on-Thames. It’s true to say that I had an idyllic childhood. After leaving school I became a bar manager in a pub alongside the river. Now I live slap bang in the middle of Reading, a two-minute walk away from the station. The town has a cosmopolitan feel and it’s a really good place for nightlife – there’s always something going on. We have a great football team, Reading Football Club (nickname The Royals), and this season we’ve finished top of the Championship.

I am looking forward to Premiership football next season! In the centre of town is the ruined Reading Abbey, built by Henry I between the Rivers Kennet and Thames. When I was young you could go round it to see where the monks lived. On the site of the Abbey’s outer court is Forbury Gardens with its iconic lion statue commemorating the loss of a British regiment at the Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan in 1880. Myself and my girlfriend, CrossCountry First Class Host Iwona Wojcik, sometimes go for a stroll in the park when the weather is good. Celebrities born in Reading include Kate Winslet, Ricky Gervais and Chris Tarrant. Other famous sons are Ken Barrington and Peter May, the England cricketers.

’’


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Andy on the footplate of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Andy Christie meets up with the Fat Controller at Kidderminster station. Andy checks for any fish in Thomas’s water tank.

COVER STORY

Andy teams up with steam hero Thomas M

ANY people have fond memories of the Thomas the Tank Engine books they read as youngsters. But very Using a few get the chance in later life to get radio headset to behind the controls of their childhood amplify his voice, railway hero. Andy narrates Andy Christie does – as the organiser a story to of Thomas the Tank Engine weekends for youngsters. the Severn Valley Railway. At the most recent event at Kidderminster station the CrossCountry Driver was master of ceremonies in an episode from the books which he had specially dramatised. Thomas was shown “drinking” water from the river but getting fish in his tank by mistake and suffering from boiler-ache – a scenario which featured props made by Andy from a recycled waste pipe, a dustbin and foam cut-outs. “As a boy I got to know the stories when my grandmother sat me on the fence by the railway adjoining her house in Bromsgrove and read them to me,” said Andy, who has been involved with the Severn Valley Railway for 20 years qualifying as a steam driver in 2008. “Now I find myself Events Organiser when we run Thomas weekends. It’s a bizarre feeling to be driving Thomas the Tank Engine for a ‘Day Out With Thomas’ event,” he added. “It with all the youngsters waving at me as I go by.” takes face painting to another level! Andy arranges the 3D plastic moulded faces “I and the Fat Controller use radio headsets via a which are used to bring the engines alive and turn PA system to amplify our voices in the pantomimes. them into characters from the books. We pride ourselves in offering one of the best “We use up to 16 faces on the locomotive fleet Thomas the Tank Engine weekends in the country.”

Business STATS PERIOD 12 (four weeks to 3/3/12) PERFORMANCE: 89.4% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 63%, XC 9%, other train operators 28% PERCENTAGE UNDER TARGET: 23.5% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 89.4% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 17.220 (Yearly average 18,072: +16.96% year-on-year) Class 220 – 51,151 (Yearly average 52,841: +17.26% year-on-year) Class 221 – 80,092 (Yearly average 42,667: +14.28% year-on-year) HST – 16,702 (yearly average 29,672: +124.53% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: -4.98% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £12.22 (+5.7% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 72% (last year 78%) XC Life Summer 2012

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FOCUS ON THE CROSSCOUNTRY DEPARTMENT KEEN TO SHED LIGHT ON ITS OPERATIONS TO AVOID PERCEPTION THAT ITS WORK IS A ‘BLACK ART’ DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND

Train planning is a crucial key

to Great Journeys goal T

Traincrew Diagramming Manager Donna Broomhall with a finalised CrossCountry timetable.

Traincrew Diagramming Manager Alan Hireson planning timetable changes.

Studying a platform plan for Birmingham New Street station is Senior Traincrew Diagramming Manager Jeff Anderson.

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XC Life Summer 2012

HE realisation of CrossCountry’s Great Journeys vision depends vitally on the contribution of the Train Planning Department. The 16-strong team based at Cannon House is responsible for drawing up Long and Short Term Timetables, producing traincrew and rolling stock diagrams and also absorbing the impact of track closures and railway remodelling projects. For some people the detailed and complex nature of the task might lead them to believe it is beyond comprehension – but Matt Pocock, Head of the Department, is determined to change that. He told XC Life: “There is sometimes a perception that train planning is a black art that is difficult to understand, so we are keen to improve the grasp across the business of the process together with the steps involved in producing the timetable, rolling stock and traincrew diagrams. These provide the crucial raw materials that allow us to realise the Great Journeys aspiration. “We have developed a Train Planning Awareness course and intend to make it available to managers across the business who want to increase their knowledge in this area. It’s my hope that we can increase engagement in the planning process so that people come forward with ideas to improve our timetable.” The key players in Train Planning are as follows: Andy Smith and Robbie Burgess, Long Term Planning Managers, who are

Department Head Matt Pocock, right, and Possession Strategy Manager John Cherrington review new track layout at Reading station.

responsible for the Long Term Timetable and the rolling stock workings needed to deliver it. They have to take into account CrossCountry’s 298 passenger trains per day, with another 200 empty stock movements. The team also look after CrossCountry’s Service Level Commitment with the Department for Transport which specifies the train services that the company must operate. They also act as the main point of contact for Network Rail for developing future projects that will affect the timetable. John Cherrington, Possession Strategy Manager, who handles the negotiation of Possessions – track closures – that Network Rail requires to maintain and enhance the network, particularly weekend engineering. Paul Boden, Senior Short Term Planning (STP) Manager and Adrian Knight, STP Manager, who are responsible for the Short Term Timetable planning process, amending train services and rolling stock diagrams around engineering works particularly at weekends. A busy bank holiday weekend can require them to re-write the timetable for up to 650 trains, with just three weeks to do it! The STP is finished 12 weeks before the trains will run so that the Marketing Team can publish the revised timetable and start selling advance tickets and booking reservations. Jeff Anderson, Senior Traincrew Diagramming Manager, along with Donna Broomhall, Mick Oxbrough, Colin

Pollard, Julian Fisher, Will Adderley and Alan Hireson, all Traincrew Diagramming Managers, produce the diagrams for all grades of traincrew for both the Long Term Timetable and the short term changes that are necessary. The input of service centres, the pressures of engineering works and the complexity of traincrew route knowledge all have to be factored in. Kirsty Jarvis and Richard Thackray, Train Planning & Diagramming Specialists, who have just joined Train Planning and, following an initial training programme, will be responsible for all aspects of train planning and diagramming. Given the complex nature of the timetable and the vastness of the CrossCountry network resulting in interaction with nearly every other train and freight operator somewhere on the journeys, the Train Planners face great challenges to path the trains in the timetables. “We also need to balance the requirements of customers with the rolling stock available, using passenger count information collected by on board staff, and information from the Revenue Team to understand which trains are busiest,” said Matt. “When it comes to weekend engineering works, this challenge intensifies as we may end up reducing frequency when there is limited capacity to fit our trains into the timetable, or journey times may become extended if trains run on diversion.”

The December 2012 timetable is currently being planned with Network Rail. Challenges include planning for Reading station remodelling, where the track layout changes a number of times through the course of the timetable. “In partnership with Network Rail we are incrementally working to find better, faster paths for our trains, but this is a gradual process given the complexity involved,” Matt added. Other upcoming changes include taking account of the Olympics in the May 2012 timetable – CrossCountry will be operating trains to serve Weymouth and will also operate a shuttle Creating service between revised driver Bournemouth and diagrams is Weymouth. Traincrew Diagramming Manager Colin Pollard.

XC Life Summer 2012

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FOCUS ON THE CROSSCOUNTRY DEPARTMENT KEEN TO SHED LIGHT ON ITS OPERATIONS TO AVOID PERCEPTION THAT ITS WORK IS A ‘BLACK ART’ DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND

Train planning is a crucial key

to Great Journeys goal T

Traincrew Diagramming Manager Donna Broomhall with a finalised CrossCountry timetable.

Traincrew Diagramming Manager Alan Hireson planning timetable changes.

Studying a platform plan for Birmingham New Street station is Senior Traincrew Diagramming Manager Jeff Anderson.

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XC Life Summer 2012

HE realisation of CrossCountry’s Great Journeys vision depends vitally on the contribution of the Train Planning Department. The 16-strong team based at Cannon House is responsible for drawing up Long and Short Term Timetables, producing traincrew and rolling stock diagrams and also absorbing the impact of track closures and railway remodelling projects. For some people the detailed and complex nature of the task might lead them to believe it is beyond comprehension – but Matt Pocock, Head of the Department, is determined to change that. He told XC Life: “There is sometimes a perception that train planning is a black art that is difficult to understand, so we are keen to improve the grasp across the business of the process together with the steps involved in producing the timetable, rolling stock and traincrew diagrams. These provide the crucial raw materials that allow us to realise the Great Journeys aspiration. “We have developed a Train Planning Awareness course and intend to make it available to managers across the business who want to increase their knowledge in this area. It’s my hope that we can increase engagement in the planning process so that people come forward with ideas to improve our timetable.” The key players in Train Planning are as follows: Andy Smith and Robbie Burgess, Long Term Planning Managers, who are

Department Head Matt Pocock, right, and Possession Strategy Manager John Cherrington review new track layout at Reading station.

responsible for the Long Term Timetable and the rolling stock workings needed to deliver it. They have to take into account CrossCountry’s 298 passenger trains per day, with another 200 empty stock movements. The team also look after CrossCountry’s Service Level Commitment with the Department for Transport which specifies the train services that the company must operate. They also act as the main point of contact for Network Rail for developing future projects that will affect the timetable. John Cherrington, Possession Strategy Manager, who handles the negotiation of Possessions – track closures – that Network Rail requires to maintain and enhance the network, particularly weekend engineering. Paul Boden, Senior Short Term Planning (STP) Manager and Adrian Knight, STP Manager, who are responsible for the Short Term Timetable planning process, amending train services and rolling stock diagrams around engineering works particularly at weekends. A busy bank holiday weekend can require them to re-write the timetable for up to 650 trains, with just three weeks to do it! The STP is finished 12 weeks before the trains will run so that the Marketing Team can publish the revised timetable and start selling advance tickets and booking reservations. Jeff Anderson, Senior Traincrew Diagramming Manager, along with Donna Broomhall, Mick Oxbrough, Colin

Pollard, Julian Fisher, Will Adderley and Alan Hireson, all Traincrew Diagramming Managers, produce the diagrams for all grades of traincrew for both the Long Term Timetable and the short term changes that are necessary. The input of service centres, the pressures of engineering works and the complexity of traincrew route knowledge all have to be factored in. Kirsty Jarvis and Richard Thackray, Train Planning & Diagramming Specialists, who have just joined Train Planning and, following an initial training programme, will be responsible for all aspects of train planning and diagramming. Given the complex nature of the timetable and the vastness of the CrossCountry network resulting in interaction with nearly every other train and freight operator somewhere on the journeys, the Train Planners face great challenges to path the trains in the timetables. “We also need to balance the requirements of customers with the rolling stock available, using passenger count information collected by on board staff, and information from the Revenue Team to understand which trains are busiest,” said Matt. “When it comes to weekend engineering works, this challenge intensifies as we may end up reducing frequency when there is limited capacity to fit our trains into the timetable, or journey times may become extended if trains run on diversion.”

The December 2012 timetable is currently being planned with Network Rail. Challenges include planning for Reading station remodelling, where the track layout changes a number of times through the course of the timetable. “In partnership with Network Rail we are incrementally working to find better, faster paths for our trains, but this is a gradual process given the complexity involved,” Matt added. Other upcoming changes include taking account of the Olympics in the May 2012 timetable – CrossCountry will be operating trains to serve Weymouth and will also operate a shuttle Creating service between revised driver Bournemouth and diagrams is Weymouth. Traincrew Diagramming Manager Colin Pollard.

XC Life Summer 2012

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New starters, long service & leavers A warm welcome to the following who have recently joined the company: Elliott Gandy, Traincrew Payroll Manager, Birmingham Resource Centre; Skylar Whiting, Reading Retail Service Manager; Andrew Alexander, Reading Retail Service Manager; Philip Robinson, Newcastle First Class Host; Ian Harding, Plymouth Retail Service Manager; Kat Murray, Birmingham Senior Conductor; Daniel Cogswell, Birmingham Senior Conductor; Daryl Bennett, Bournemouth Train Manager; John Moon, Newcastle First Class Host; Jan McConnell, Reading Retail Service Manager; Gareth Blevins, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Ben Partington, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Anna Malec, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Luke Swingle, Birmingham Service Centre Team Member; Joanne L’Anson, Plymouth Retail Service Manager; Emma Benson, Manchester Retail Service Manager; James Clark, Call Centre Consultant, Customer Relations; Stuart Taylor, Call Centre Consultant, Customer Relations; Brett Howell, Birmingham Driver; Stacy Greenaway, Birmingham Service Centre Team Member; Simon Hill, Business Analysis Manager, Revenue; Helen Laidlaw, Call Centre Consultant, Customer Relations; Bryan Lunt, Birmingham Driver; Stephen Johnson, Leicester Driver.

Congratulations to the following who have received long service awards: 40 YEARS Leroy Richards, Birmingham Driver; Brian Chiddle, Derby Driver; Gary Beeley, Birmingham Driver. 25 YEARS Andrew Harris, Plymouth Train Manager; Darren Chiles, Birmingham Driver; Joseph Hand, Birmingham Driver; Duncan McColl, Birmingham Senior Conductor; Rakesh Bansal, Marketing; Trudie Gandy, Birmingham Resource Centre. 10 YEARS David Mercer, Birmingham Train Manager; Joanne Greenaway, Birmingham Train Manager; Sam Kent, Bristol Train Manager; Ian Bailey, Bristol Train Manager; James Alexander, Bristol Retail Service Manager; Omar Zaman, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Ian Hudson, Birmingham Train Manager; Kenneth Cooper, Bristol Train Manager; Lucy Richards, Bristol Retail Service Manager; John Griffiths, Bristol Retail Service Manager; Fiona Hewston, Finance; Ian Farnfield, Leicester Driver; Gary Hall, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Lucy Chesterfield, Birmingham Train Manager; Ashley Gillies, Edinburgh Train Manager; Roger Brown, Reading Train Manager; Linda Stephenson, Bournemouth Train Manager; John Daley, Bournemouth Retail Service Manager; Ruth Fox, Birmingham Senior Conductor Manager; Andrew Hayward, Plymouth Train Manager; Caroline Teggin, Bournemouth Team Organiser; John Shackleford, Bristol Train Manager; Nicola Anderson, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; Gary Nevins, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; Mike Wingfield, Birmingham Train Manager; Denis Giulianotti, Manchester Train Driver; Sue Pitchford, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Edward Williams, Fleet; Julie Johnson, Newcastle Retail Service Manager;

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XC Life Summer 2012

Anthony Rimmington, Leicester Driver; Vaughan Kearney, Leicester Senior Conductor; Chris Bligh, Plymouth Train Manager; Roger Davis, Birmingham Train Manager; Tim Pogson, Leeds Train Manager; Stephen Dodd, Birmingham Train Manager; Mark Lawrence, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Emma Davis, Bournemouth Train Manager; Paul Wright, Newcastle Train Manager; Alison Nash, Leicester Senior Conductor; Shawn Collier, Leicester Senior Conductor; Reehan Saeed, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; David McCumskey, Manchester Driver; Paul Wan, Manchester Driver; Andrew Heakin, Manchester Driver; Karen Glancy, Newcastle Train Manager; Suzanne Fenwick, Newcastle Train Manager; Mohammed Raqeeb, Edinburgh Station Staff; Andrew Neale, Leicester Driver; Fayona Mesquitto, Finance; Mark Johnson, Leicester Driver; David Carlisle, Leicester Driver; Michael Poultney, Leicester Driver; Nigel Burford, Leicester Driver; Rachel Johnson, Newcastle First Class Host; Lesley Taylor, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; Craig Stuart, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Christopher Pedley, Reading Train Manager; Stevie Gorman, Edinburgh Driver; Karen Gardner, Newcastle Team Organiser; Richard Swain, Leicester Driver; Darren Reid, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; David Price, Birmingham Train Manager; Michelle Nicholson, Birmingham Train Manager; Rob Kendrick, Birmingham Train Manager; Johnny Pritchard, Birmingham Train Manager; Andrew Macallister, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; Michelle Douglass, Newcastle Retail Service Manager; Katherine Ginnelly, Newcastle Train Manager; Mark Sheen, Birmingham Train Manager; Susan Busby, Birmingham Retail Service Manager; Katrina Mortimer, Leeds Retail Service Manager; Marlon Hawksworth, Bristol Driver; Julia Javan, Newcastle Train Manager; Craig Henderson, Newcastle Train Manager; Alan Dickinson, Manchester Train Manager; Brian Spurling, Plymouth Driver; Daniel Edwards, Plymouth Service Centre; Anthony Taylor, Edinburgh Train Driver; Mark Gillies, Edinburgh Driver; David Bennett, Edinburgh Driver; Andrew Moffat, Edinburgh Driver; John Owenson, Edinburgh Driver; James McMillan, Edinburgh Station Staff; Anthony Scotto, Birmingham Train Manager; Andrew Sear, Birmingham Train Manager; Laura Bates, Birmingham Train Manager; Gillian Nevins, Leeds Train Manager; Mark Ackroyd, Leeds Train Manager; Nicholas Burr, Bristol Senior Conductor; Louise Ellard, Edinburgh Train Manager; Marion Scott, Edinburgh Train Manager; Peter Rowland, Bristol Train Manager; Lyndon Fitzpatrick, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Brian McCann, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Lyndsey Hughes, Manchester Retail Service Manager; Dominic Gilbert, Regional Manager GW and Southern; Andrew Singh, Leicester Driver; Robert Collins, Birmingham Resource Centre; Dilawer Patel, Leicester Senior Conductor; Russell Broad, Leicester Senior Conductor; Carmen Eidan, Birmingham Train Manager. Apologies to Keith Jerrom, Cambridge Senior Conductor, who was missed out on the 10 years’ service list in the last issue.

Best wishes to the following member of staff who is retiring: Alan Tregenna, Birmingham Driver (48 years service).

n i W top music festival weekend tickets

CROSSCOUNTRY employees are being offered the chance to win a pair of full weekend tickets with camping to the 2000 Trees Music Festival at Upcote Farm just outside Cheltenham. The festival of new and underground music takes place between July 12-14. Festival goers should take tents and will be taken to and from the venue by official shuttle bus from Cheltenham Spa station. The tickets are being offered by Big Green Coach, a specialist ticket and travel company dedicated for music events. This summer they are operating executive coach services to a number of festivals and concerts including Knebworth House for a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. To enter, simply answer the following questions: 1 Which of these bands can you see this ●

summer at Knebworth House? Steps, S Club 7 or Red Hot Chili Peppers.

2 Near which centre of population is the ● 2000 Trees festival? Plymouth, Cheltenham or Newcastle?

3 Who won “British Album of the Year” at ● the 2012 BRIT Awards? Adele, One Direction or Mumford & Sons.

Write down the correct answers and send with your name, job title, contact number and email address to Kate Barnes, Employee Engagement Advisor, CrossCountry, 5th Floor, Cannon House, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 6BS. Closing date is Wednesday June 20. First correct answers out of the hat will win. For more details go to biggreencoach.co.uk


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PROUD DESCENDANT: Heather Smith at the memorial in Whickham Churchyard to her ancestor William Shield who is believed to have written the music to Auld Lang Syne.

They play our tune on

New Year’s Eve H

EATHER Smith has an extra-special reason to celebrate when New Year’s Eve comes around. The music for Auld Lang Syne may have been written by her ancestor, the celebrated North-East composer William Shield. Every December 31 when the Newcastle Retail Service Manager hears the strains of the traditional song she turns to her mother and says: “They’re playing our tune.” Heather’s family comes from Swalwell near Gateshead where Shield, the eminent 18th century Master of the King’s Musick, grew up. Her mother’s maiden name was Shield and Heather often visits nearby Whickham Churchyard where there is a memorial to her musical ancestor. Support for William Shield’s claim to Auld Lang

Syne was strengthened when an academic analysed his 1781 light opera Rosina and was shocked to discover the famous tune. Poet Robbie Burns wrote the words to the New Year anthem seven years later in 1788 – and some believe that he paired them with Shield’s already well-known melody, although the tune may have been based on a traditional air. “It’s always been a big story in our family and a local historian has confirmed our connection,” said Heather. “We are all really proud of our forbear – he wrote music which is known across the entire world. “I lived in Swalwell until I was aged two and I have never moved out of the area. My niece got married last year in the church at Whickham where William Shield is commemorated.”

Eric’s secret link with Corrie’s Rovers Return ERIC Fleming has an unusual connection with the nation’s favourite soap Coronation Street. The Derby Driver used to work in a glass factory and he helped to make the stained glass windows for the “snugs” in the Rovers Return Inn.

Eric’s contribution to the most iconic premises on the Street happened 29 years ago. “I am proud to have made the windows,” he said. “It happened when I worked for a firm in Reddish near Stockport as a teenager.”

Business STATS PERIOD 13 (four weeks to 31/3/12) PERFORMANCE: 92.4% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 59%, XC 12.5%, other train operators 28.5% PERCENTAGE UNDER TARGET: 12.2% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 89.6% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 18,882 (Yearly average 17,822: +13.3% year-on-year) Class 220 – 37,413 (Yearly average 50,460: + 9.8% year-on-year) Class 221 – 40,237 (Yearly average 43,061: +19.43% year-on-year) HST – 18,800 (yearly average 29,324: +119.19% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: +5.14% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £12.15 (+6.7% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 71% (last year 74%) XC Life Summer 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 mouth-watering dish.

Cherry and Frangipane Tart INGREDIENTS: 2 tins of black cherries, pitted and drained (for the Sweet Pastry) 8oz plain flour 4oz butter 3oz caster sugar 1 large egg (for the Frangipane) 4oz butter 4oz caster sugar 2 eggs 4oz ground almonds 1oz plain flour almond essence

1

2

3

METHOD Crumb the flour and butter together, then add the sugar. Add the egg and a little milk to bind together to make a soft dough. Line a flan dish with the pastry then place some greaseproof paper on top of the pastry. Place baking beans on top of the paper (to weigh the pastry down) then bake this in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees – this is called baking blind. After 20 minutes remove from oven. Also remove the greaseproof paper and beans. Leave to cool. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one by one. Add the ground almonds and flour and mix together. Add 3 to 4 drops of almond essence and mix in. Pour the Frangipane into the pastry case and spread evenly. Scatter the drained cherries all over the Frangipane – make sure they are evenly spread. Place the tart in the oven at 180 degrees for a further 20 minutes until golden brown. Take out and leave to cool. When completely cool sprinkle a little icing sugar over the tart and serve with fresh cream.

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IN THE MOUNTAINS OF ANDALUCIA: Pictured, left to right, Paul Freeman, CrossCountry Driver; Tony Robinson, retired CrossCountry Driver; Nicola Prestage, CrossCountry Train Manager; Adrian Dulson, London Midland Driver; Paul Bridges, CrossCountry Driver; Mark Sadler, CrossCountry Train Manager; and Andy Sear, CrossCountry Train Manager.

Group take a walk on the

wild side S

EASONED walkers from CrossCountry ventured into one of Europe’s wildest landscapes for their latest adventure. Fourteen current and retired staff were in a party that travelled to a village near Ronda, in the heart of Andalucia in southern Spain. The limestone ridges and rocky gorges in the region are notorious for their lack of consistent signposts and marked paths. Led by Birmingham Train Manager Andy Sear members of Birmingham New Street Walking Club took on three walks of varying lengths and difficulty. The easiest was a nine kilometre stroll down the Guardiaro Valley following the river and railway line. But only the hardiest members of the group completed a 27-kilometre hike taking in the village of Cortes de la Frontera. The walkers were impressed by the Serrania del Rondo region which is dotted with Pueblos Blancos or white villages of Moorish origin. “One of our walks took us higher than 3,000 feet,” Andy said. “We never saw a soul and the views were superb. Highlights included caves, vultures and a remote valley.” ● Birmingham New Street Walking Club always welcomes new members. At least one walk per month is arranged, varying in distance and difficulty.

You can view all the photographs in this issue, and many others we didn’t have room for, in the picture gallery on the CrossCountry intranet site.

Business STATS PERIOD 1 (four weeks to 28/4/12) PERFORMANCE: 90% DELAY CAUSE: Network Rail 61.5%, XC 8.5%, other train operators 30% PERCENTAGE UNDER TARGET: 10.3% AVERAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE LAST YEAR: 89.6% FLEET MILES BETWEEN FAULTS: Class 170 – 17,582 (Yearly average 17,636: +11.49% year-on-year) Class 220 – 51,579 (Yearly average 49,659: +3.52% year-on-year) Class 221 – 40,215 (Yearly average 42,051: +13.7% year-on-year) HST – 12,582 (yearly average 27,582: +91.19% year-on-year) CATERING SALES: +2.8% on last year AVERAGE TICKET PRICE: £12.33 (+5.4% year-on-year) PASSENGER COUNTS: The % of counts successfully completed 73% (last year 75%)


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

SKEGNESS HOLIDAY HOME Two-bed caravan, 1 double room, 1 twin room, comfortably sleeps six. Flat screen TV/DVD, microwave, toaster, kettle. Families and non-smokers only, no dogs. Contact Leeds Train Manager Katie Bibb or Chris Burke on 07921-589938. Bookings also taken for caravans in Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards – visit www.chapelcaravans.com.

MY MEDAL: Hazel McCluskey pictured after completing a Great South Run.

SPANISH SLIPPERS FOR SALE Flossy’s espadrilles, to fit all sizes, to genuine Spanish design. Contact Newcastle Retail Service Manager Tim Waters 07825-631944.

CARAVAN FOR HIRE

Hazel’s run makes

sixth sense H

AZEL McCluskey is already in training to compete in Europe’s biggest road race – for the sixth time. The Reading Retail Service Manager is becoming a regular at the Great South Run held annually in October in Portsmouth. The 10-mile route takes in the iconic sites of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard including HMS Victory. Last year Hazel joined more than 20,000 runners to take part in the South’s equivalent

to the Great North Run, as the climax of a year of competitive runs. She likes the way the Great South Run is supported by sponsors BUPA, with tips on training and a free running health check for those who need it. Nutrition and hydration advice is also available. “Over the years I have entered a lot of races including two full marathons,” said Hazel, who trains twice a week. “It’s a great way of keeping fit and gives me thinking time away from the trolleys.”

Sandwich board walk is charity bonus A “sandwich board walk” through Burton-on-Trent shopping centre gave CrossCountry some unusual publicity. Customer Support Controller Ian Beacock took part in Burton Rotary Club’s Sandwich Board Campaign in March. In return for £50 sponsorship from CrossCountry, he carried a sandwich board on his back advertising his employers. It’s the second year running that Ian has received backing for his participation in the

charity initiative which raises money for a variety of good causes. Among the beneficiaries are elderly people who are taken on trips, lonely people at Christmas who are supplied with food parcels and destitute people abroad. Ian said: “This year I accompanied my father George Beacock on the walk – he is a Rotary member – and we helped to raise £8,000. We are very grateful for the continuing CrossCountry sponsorship.”

Caravan in Filey, sleeps four. Bedding, towels etc. Superb location, exceptionally low rates – £25 per night. Contact Leeds First Class Host Erica Carter 07986-855527.

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 peterhowarth photography.com, a Leeds-based photographic business.

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

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Ask me another SANGEETA GURU, a Team Organiser at Birmingham New Street station, tells us about herself. Sangeeta, aged 23, who is looking forward to getting married, has worked on the railways for five years. At the moment I am… a team organiser who supplies all frontline staff with equipment and information to help them to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. The best thing about my job is… being based at the centre of the network. The most unusual thing that happened to me at work was… being dressed up as a horse for the Cheltenham Races and meeting John McCririck! I had been asked by the marketing department to help them with a promotion at the event. My most valuable possessions are… my iPhone and iPad!

Sangeeta Guru pictured on the Concourse at Birmingham New Street station.

If I have time to myself… I spend time planning my forthcoming wedding – at the moment I don’t have time for anything else! However I do enjoy shopping and being pampered. I have a high interest in exploring new gadgets and keeping up to date with the latest technology. Favourite music, books and films? My fiancé is a music producer so I listen to every type of music at the moment. This is allowing me – for the first time – to appreciate different genres. I have a varied taste in films, but enjoy horror the most. When I was a child I wanted to be… a teacher and a police officer – not at the same time though. My favourite place in the world… will be Miami after my honeymoon no doubt!

The famous people I would invite to a dinner party are… The footballers in the Manchester United team! I was born and bred to support the club by my dad. I have been to many games – but my fiancé hates football so I probably

won’t be going as much. The best bit of advice I was ever given… don’t run before you can walk. The advice came from a driver at Virgin trains where I was Retail Manager.

Primary school pupils treated to special railway day out SIXTEEN primary schoolchildren were given a special railway day out to remember by courtesy of CrossCountry in Cambridge. The youngsters made the journey to Stansted Airport and back as part of a school project about trains. They ate their packed lunches on board

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at Stansted and were allowed to sit in Driver Phillip Ward’s seat. “I was approached by Dry Drayton primary school where my daughter Ellie is one of the pupils,” said Driver Manager Andy Wells. “They asked if CrossCountry could arrange something for them so I made

arrangements to accompany them for their trip.” On returning to school, the children all wrote letters to Andy expressing their thanks. Kirsty Cook said: “Dear Andy, I enjoyed the trip very much. My favourite part was honking the horn. I learnt that you don’t use a steering wheel like with a car.”


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WIN a model Voyager in our

children’s favourites wordsearch

FOUR prizes including a collector’s item model are on offer in our Summer wordsearch. The theme is childhood favourites, to reflect our story about the Thomas the Tank Engine weekend organised by Andy Christie. 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 31 July. Only CrossCountry employees are eligible to enter.

NEWCASTLE Centre’s Golf Society played out their latest competition on one of Britain’s most unusual courses. They took their clubs to Magdalene Fields Golf Club, the first or last golf club in England depending on whether the visitor is travelling south or north. The course is situated five minutes from the centre of the ancient border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. The par-three eighth hole (played over a cove) gives a view of the cliffs leading to Scotland, while the 10th looks on to the Northumberland coast with Bamburgh and Holy Island castles in sight. “It was a great day out with some magnificent views,” said golf day organiser Nik Douglas. “The overall winner was Bob Gibson, a non-staff member, and the longest drive was Newcastle Train Manager John Fenwick.” The Golf Society, which is open to all grades, plays at least twice a year and has previously visited courses at Darlington and York.

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, Please indicate the prize you would Birmingham B4 6BS. like to win in order of preference by THE WINNERS IN putting numbers in the boxes. LAST ISSUE WERE: If the top choice is the model train, David Tomlinson – 00 Gauge write 1 in the box. For your second Class 220 Voyager; Stuart choice write 2 etc. Mitchell – £20 Pizza Hut Voucher; Jennifer Mitchell – £20 Currys/PC World Voucher; Richard White – £20 Vue Cinema Voucher.

OO GAUGE CLASS 220 VOYAGER £20 CURRYS/PC WORLD VOUCHER £20 VUE CINEMA VOUCHER £20 PIZZA HUT VOUCHER

Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

■ ■ ■ ■

Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TAG BALL BIKE ICES LUDO DOLLS LOLLY SLIDE JIGSAW SWINGS CONKERS MARBLES SANDPIT SCOOTER TOY CARS CARTOONS HULA HOOP LEAPFROG SKIPPING SOLDIERS TRAIN SET DINOSAURS SHERBET DIP SKATEBOARD JACK-IN-THE-BOX PADDLING POOL SNAKES AND LADDERS

L S T L O O P G N I L D D A P J

O E R A H U H I J I G S A W A O

L L A B O W U J C R A R J C N S

L B I P L O L M O E M E K A O L

Y E N O F Y A I B A S I S R O L

T O S R A R H C L M N D R T S O

A U E F B I O A U T T L A O B D

G A T L I N O G H R I O C O I R

G N E S K O P E I O P S Y N K A

N S M E P E B R B E D T O S E O

I O R S C O O T E R N S T E R B

P S E V X R O Z G O A E I V O E

P A C A Q U N J I U S R D M E T

I L P I D T E B R E H S F I K A

K U S G N I W S I W L O D U L K

Border golf course with great views

S N A K E S A N D L A D D E R S

Discounted train travel A new Family and Friends discounted travel scheme has been launched for all CrossCountry employees. The scheme, set up as a result of suggestions made at open forums, allows family and friends to enjoy unlimited off-peak travel (after 0930 on weekdays, any time at weekends or Bank Holidays) on CrossCountry services anywhere on our network for one day for £10. Each employee is given promotional PIN codes for purchasing eight individual tickets which can be used up to 31 March 2013. The tickets can be obtained through the dedicated website www.crosscountry trains.co.uk/staff XC Life Summer 2012

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Underwater swimming for charity AN underwater swim organised by Birmingham Driver Team Manager Mark Mosley raised money for the Sport Relief charity during its Swimathon Weekend. Members of the Black Country Divers Sub Aqua Club, of which Mark is the Training Officer, swam an average of 3.7 miles each underwater at Halesowen Pool, dressed in diving gear with aqualungs. The club, a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), has 20 members and provides training in all BSAC diver grades.

MEMORIES OF A VIETNAM HOLIDAY ADVENTURE: Paul Bridges, right – sporting a souvenir hat – and Rod Irving pictured outside Birmingham Bullring shopping centre. The third member of the trio, Andy Harriman, could not make the photo-call.

Poem for ten years NEWCASTLE Train Manager Brian Johnson has written a poem looking back over the first 10 years of Newcastle Centre’s existence. Brian emailed the poem entitled, Ten Years On, to all the employees who were present at the Centre’s opening in 2002. It has also been displayed on the notice board at the Centre.

Intrepid cyclists in

Vietnam trek T

HREE plucky cyclists from CrossCountry braved temperatures of 35 degrees Centigrade to cycle across northern Vietnam. Rod Irving, Paul Bridges and Andy Harriman were each drinking 10 litres of water a day to survive the “unbelievably hot” conditions. The Birmingham-based employees had enrolled on a “Mountain Madness” tour organised by an adventure holidays specialist and they spent

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two weeks on the road. They climbed a total of 10,000 metres through a patchwork of rice fields as they and three other cyclists headed deep into mountains. “The hazy heat was the biggest problem,” said Rod, who is Control Systems Manager at Cannon House. “We were accompanied by a support vehicle but we had no problems with our mountain bikes. The locals were very friendly and we had

schoolchildren cheering and waving us on our way. Strangely motorbikes and scooters seemed to be the only other vehicles on the road. Children were riding water buffalo in the fields as we passed.” The highlight of the trip was a gruelling ascent of the Tram Ton Pass, at 1,900 metres the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. Rod, together with colleagues Paul and Andy who are both Drivers at New Street, covered 500 miles during the holiday.

Tim leads canoe trip BIRMINGHAM Driver Tim Cross led a party of 15 CrossCountry people on a canoe trip down the River Severn from Bridgnorth to Alrey. Tim, who has expert knowledge in navigating the shallows of the river, organised a stop at Hampton Loade station along the way.

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 Summer 2012