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Good News Friday: Your weekly roundup of positive rail news!

Posted: 7 June 2024 | | No comments yet

In this week’s ‘Good News Friday’, we cover Colas Rail UK becoming a Gold Partner with RSF, Northern’s ‘Rail Oscar’ nominations, and TPE’s involvement with the Great North Run!

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Colas Rail UK go for gold with Rail Safe Friendly

colas rail

Colas Rail UK has become Gold Partners with the Rail Safe Friendly (RSF) initiative to promote rail safety to schoolchildren.

RSF was established as a digital education provider on the dangers of trespassing on the railways to at the time of writing, over 4,000 schools nationwide.

The initiative was set up in early 2023 by Learn Live following the collaboration of Colas Rail UK, Learn Live and Network Rail (NR) on Harrison’s Story as part of NR’s ‘You Vs Train’ campaign. Harrison’s Story is the cautionary tale of Harrison Ballantine, who tragically passed away retrieving a football from a nearby train depot.

Educating children about safety on or near the railway is close to the heart of Colas Rail’s core values.  Harrison’s mum Elizabeth is a close friend of Laura Cook, Rail Services Fatigue Manager at Colas Rail UK, such a tragic event within our industry instigated an educational project led by Colas Rail in conjunction with Network Rail, which has since grown and evolved into the RSF initiative.  We are thrilled to continue our efforts in supporting the project and becoming a Gold Member, sponsoring 150 schools across the UK to teach their pupils how to stay safe around railway tracks.

Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand said “Caring for our site neighbours and local communities is at the core of our culture and the RSF initiative embodies this perfectly.

“We’re delighted to be joining as gold members and playing our part to share these crucial safety messages to schools across the UK.”

Speaking about the event and the importance of this partnership, Colas Rail UK Fatigue Manager, Laura Cook said “We have to ensure that this never happens to another child, to another family.

“There are so many dangers on the railway that people outside of the industry would not be aware of, at some point in life every child will be near a railway and need to be aware of these dangers and the possible consequences.”

Stuart Heaton, Managing Director of Rail Safe Friendly and Learn Live, said: “We are delighted to welcome Colas Rail UK to the RSF programme. Through their support we will be able to reach even more children with vital rail safety awareness with the aim of saving lives and preventing injuries on the country’s rail network and in yards, depots and sidings.

“It is crucial that children receive vital knowledge, at a young age, to keep them rail safe. The RSF programme seeks to educate children and young people on the many dangers that are present on the railway.”

TPE conductor manager takes on Great North Run to raise money for mental health charity

TPE conductor manager

A TransPennine Express (TPE) conductor manager is running the world’s largest half-marathon in celebration of a former colleague and her father – and to raise money for a mental health charity. 

Lucy Kilby, from Manchester, is running the Great North Run, a 13.1-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields for much-loved TPE colleague Dominic Johns.  

Dominic, known as Dom, was a driver manager based at Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street, and sadly died in March 2023. 

She is also running to celebrate her late dad, Michael – and aims to raise funds for Andy’s Man Club.  

The men’s suicide prevention charity offers free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups across the United Kingdom and online.  

It aims to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and help men through the power of conversation. 

Lucy said: “I wanted to do the run to celebrate two great guys and raise some money for a charity that is close to my heart.  

“Both had the most infectious smiles and never knew the impact they had on everyone they met.”  

TPE is a supporter of Andy’s Man Club – with the train operator unveiling a specially wrapped train dedicated to the charity last year. The Class 185 train is visible throughout the north, encouraging people to seek help when they need it. 

Lucy added: “We need to remove stigma around mental health and Andy’s Man Club do this so well, their work really resonates with me and is something I talk about a lot with my colleagues.”  

“I am honoured to be running for Andy’s Man Club – it’s the perfect charity for me to support.” 

The Great North Run takes place on Sunday 8 September. Lucy’s fundraising page can be found here.

Northern employees in the running for ‘railway Oscars’

northern oscars

Eight employees of the train operator Northern are celebrating after being shortlisted for a National Rail Award.

They have been nominated in the Outstanding Personal Contribution category for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Affectionately known as the ‘rail industry Oscars’, the National Rail Awards recognise and reward people, companies and initiatives that demonstrate innovation and excellence in the industry.

They also seek to promote the industry’s longer-term success and sustainability, which relies on a highly skilled, diverse, motivated and engaged workforce.

The nominees from Northern are:

  • Adam Mansbridge – a conductor from Leeds who demonstrated exceptional vigilance and quick-thinking that ensured the safe return of two missing children to their family
  • Andrew Williamson – a deputy station manager at Barrow-in-Furness who stepped-up to help customers affected by the storms that caused widespread disruption in Cumbria
  • Gemma Gronous – a driver from Hull whose intervention helped save the life of a person in distress in a field adjacent to the railway
  • Graham Blake – a customer service assistant at Holmes Chapel station who has worked with the local parish council to help ‘Stylers’ (fans of the singer Harry Styles) when visiting the musician’s hometown
  • Martin Rodger – a driver team manager from Newcastle who has been recognised for his 39-year service as the lead investigator for safety in the North East
  • Paul Wilkinson – a conductor from Blackpool who identified two schoolgirls as ‘at risk’ and was able to alert British Transport Police and reunite them with their parents.

Darin Astbury and Stewart Hall have received a joint nomination for their work as customer service assistants at Brinnington station in Stockport, where they created a ‘Swap Shop’ that provides food, clothes, books and other household items for those in need in the local community.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Thursday, 12 September 2024. For more information about the awards, visit: awards.railbusinessevents.co.uk.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.