The following is an extract from the latest update from Northern Stakeholder Manager Pete Myers
- May Timetables: We are ready to go with our May timetable this weekend. A great deal of time and effort has been expended to ensure that our readiness is as good as it can be. Very important are the ‘station workings’, which are little very detailed timetables for the main rail centres, such as Newcastle, York, Leeds and Sheffield (although there are more of them). These are put together by our friends from Network Rail and back in May 2018, it was this that caused a great deal of the disruption in that timetable, especially in Leeds. Since then, we have worked up a number of processes that ensure these are as good as they can be, but it is difficult because without working them we can’t really know where the wrinkles are. Nonetheless much time has been expended on them over the last two weeks, and my performance colleagues all seem confident. We will be out and about right across both regions to ensure it embeds as it should, and people get to where they need to go.
- Future Timetables: December is gradually firming up as we do our level best to estimate what resources will be available to us by then. Again this is tricky because there are so many unknowns, but given a fair wind and the absence of bad news re the pandemic, we should be in a good place by then to match demand more fully.
- COVID 19: Our message remains: “Travel with confidence” and “travel safe”. This seems to be working and generally people are avoiding traveling needlessly. Sadly, we still can’t overtly promote rail travel, as a railway person this seems odd to me and we are all keen to shout it from the rooftops, but clearly this would be wrong, and we must manage demand carefully as we move further down the COVID-19 roadmap. In this we will continue to work as an industry and follow the lead of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). COVID-19 absences remain low, which is really good news. Training continues unabated with our new trains training pretty much complete. As said before this is a credit to many hard-working individuals and has represented a great deal of planning and effort over the last six months. There is another advantage of this however, that is it will release those vehicles earmarked for training into the fleet and so ease some of the vehicle shortage issues. Road learning and legacy training continues, again a great deal of work is involved, it has been so important to maximise this during the emergency timetable, because as from next Monday we will have less flexibility to train.