News from East Midlands Trains

17.03.2008

'Atomic' watches and whistles help East Midlands Trains improve punctuality and reliability across all train services

Train company East Midlands Trains, part of the Stagecoach Group, is launching a new initiative to improve punctuality and reliability. As part of this drive staff are being issued with radio controlled "atomic" watches and new whistles to use to dispatch trains.

East Midlands Trains Managing Director, Tim Shoveller said: "We know passengers want safe, reliable and clean trains. To achieve this we have an extensive programme of investment taking place during our franchise."

This will see the company invest £90m, making improvements in areas that impact directly on performance, reliability and customer service such as:

  • Upgrade to Derby train maintenance depot.
  • Refurbishment of fleet, including technical modification work to improve engine performance, interior décor, seats and CCTV technology.
  • Investment in stations; additional customer help points, refurbished waiting areas, improved lighting and facilities.
  • Introduction of a new joint control centre in Derby with Network Rail to better improve communications (currently operations for each company are in separate locations).
  • New timetable in December 2008 offering faster journey times and increased capacity.
  • The opening of a brand new station - East Midlands Parkway.
  • Improved journey times on the route to London.

Tim added: "Although our punctuality is already good - in terms of the national measures that are in place - we want to achieve more. This programme of major investment is a key part of this and will no doubt improve our punctuality. But I believe there is also a place for a back to basics approach internally, ensuring all staff are acutely aware of the need for trains to depart on time, every time. And by on time, I mean exactly on time, not even a few seconds late.

"To do this staff need to sound their whistles in good time, encouraging passengers to hurry aboard and then lock the train doors so that at the booked time of departure the wheels on the train are already moving. It is quite surprising that just one minute's delay at a station can have a significant effect, causing the accumulation of "knock on" delay further along the train's journey.

"We will be re-briefing all staff and issuing new whistles and wrist watches that are accurate to the second to everyone. I am confident that we will see improvements to our punctuality as a direct result of this renewed focus. It sounds simplistic and maybe it is - but the best ideas usually are. I am confident we'll see results."

East Midlands Trains will be issuing all 2,100 staff with an "atomic" watch which is accurate to the second. In addition all staff responsible for train dispatch will receive a brand new Acme Thunderer whistle.