South West Trains/Network Rail Alliance staff meet Rail Minister in Basingstoke
11 Jul 2012
- Rail Minister Theresa Villiers visits key signalling centre
- Facility controls nearly 600 trains a day and 115 miles of railway
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers today (11 July 2012) visited Basingstoke signalling centre to meet staff from the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance.
The signalling centre is responsible for controlling the movement of almost 600 passenger and freight trains, every day. It controls the strategic junction on the South West main line from London at Basingstoke with the key routes linking the West of England and Southampton to the Midlands.
The alliance was formed in April to create one management team responsible for both trains and track in the south and south-west of England with the objective of delivering better rail services for passengers.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director of the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance, said: "I am pleased the Minister of State for Transport has been able to get a personal insight into how our staff are working together to deliver a better service to our customers on a daily basis.
"The alliance aims to cut delays for passengers, provide better customer service, deliver more effective management of disruption, and improve the efficiency of the railway through more collaborative working and better decision-making. By bringing together train and track we are also helping to improve the service for freight operators."
Jim Morgan, Infrastructure Director of the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance, added: "Looking ahead, all our customers will benefit by this close collaboration as we will be able to plan for the long term development of the route.
"We have already seen massive growth of freight and passenger users and this is predicted to continue. We have to be able to cater for this growth while minimising the disruption to our customers. This can only be done by working together and finding efficient and cost-effective ways of delivering a railway with more capacity."
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: "The Wessex Alliance represents industry rising to the challenge of the Government's rail command paper, issued in March 2012, which called for closer co-operation between operations and infrastructure.
"Basingstoke is a really impressive example how on a practical level the creation of one management team can work to deliver a more efficient and a better railway with real benefits for both passengers and freight customers and the community in general."
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Notes to Editors:
Basingstoke signalling centre
Basingstoke signalling centre has 19 resident staff working two panels. Eight work on the main line panel, seven on the West of England panel, with four relief staff who can work between the two.
The West of England panel controls 70 miles between Gillingham (Dorset) and Exmouth Junction near Exeter. Commissioned in February 2012, it replaced six signal boxes and four crossings and a total of 60 staff. The panel is now covered by two signallers during the day and one overnight, running a total of 80 trains per day, mainly South West Trains services.
The new Basingstoke main line panel was commissioned in May 2007, replacing the signal box north of the station which was 40 years old. It controls 30 miles of the South West main line between north of Farnborough, north of Micheldever and Gratley, just east of Salisbury on the West of England line. The centre also has responsibility for 15 miles of the strategic freight and passenger route to the Midlands between Basingstoke and just south of Reading West. It controls the movement of up to 500 trains a day operated by South West Trains, First Great Western, Cross Country, freight operators, and charter specials."
Basingstoke station, managed by South West Trains, has over 5 million passengers every year with 166 staff based at the station. There are 32 station staff who undertake a range of duties as follows:
- Platform staff responsible for customer service, train dispatch/operational activities, station cleaning and providing customer services
- Station Control Point Operators responsible for announcements, passenger information, lost property and providing customer service
- Customer Service Assistants responsible for the staffing of the gatelines, providing passenger information and providing customer service
- Ticket Office clerks responsible for issuing tickets, advising on journey information and providing customer service
- Train cleaner responsible for cleaning services which start and terminate at Basingstoke along with providing customer service
- Station Managers responsible for the management of Basingstoke and other stations as far as Grateley.
There are also 65 guards and two guards managers, 65 drivers and two driver managers.
South West Trains
- South West Trains, Part of Stagecoach Group, operates one of the busiest rail networks in Europe and runs almost 1,700 trains a day from London Waterloo. The company was named as Passenger Operator of the Year at the 2011 National Rail Awards.
- Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. Stagecoach employs around 35,000 people, and operates bus, coach, rail, and tram services.
- Stagecoach is one of UK’s biggest bus and coach operators. Around 2.5 million passengers travel on Stagecoach's 8,400 buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The company's business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge.
- Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast inter-city rail franchise.
- Stagecoach also operates the Supertram network in Sheffield.
- In North America, Stagecoach operates around 1,900 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. Budget coach service megabus.com links around 80 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter and transit services, as well as tours, charters, sightseeing tours and a small number of school bus services.
- Network Rail is the not for dividend owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage. We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use. Our website: www.networkrail.co.uk