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Railhub Archive
2000-11-09 ATO-001


One thousand extra staff providing rail information at stations

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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One thousand extra staff providing rail information at stations

9 November 2000
source ATOC
type Press release

The rail industry today met with the Prime Minister to report on the situation regarding track inspection and revised train services.

At the meeting, ATOC reported a series of measures the National Rail operators had undertaken to improve information for passengers:

o Train operators have increased staffing at stations and on trains by 1,000 to provide information.
o NRES, the National Rail Enquiry Service, has increased staffing levels by 15% (200 people). NRES normally receives 200,000 calls daily: this has increased to one million but only a portion can be answered.
o With effect from Monday 13th November, NRES will provide a recorded state-of-the-network information service in addition to their one-to-one service. All calls are charged at local call rates.
o NRES is providing information direct to local radio stations and to Ceefax. ATOC and train operating company staff speak on news bulletins and drive time shows.
o The National Rail website updates train running information three times an hour. Many train company websites also provide daily train running information.
o Posters on stations and newsletters distributed to passengers detailing service changes.
o Train operators are advertising service changes in local media, and ATOC in the national media.

ATOC Chairman, Richard Brown said: "Train operators are making huge efforts to ease what is a truly appalling situation for many passengers. Many staff are voluntarily working extra hours to provide them with information. We had hoped to have reliable revised timetables in place by now, but the second round of flooding has made that impossible.

"Not all routes are affected by Railtrack's speed restrictions. Once the weather improves, these routes will quickly return to providing a normal service. The provision of revised timetables - even if they do run reduced services - on other routes will make life easier for our passengers.

"We are sincerely sorry for the huge inconvenience travellers are suffering. As well as making more resources available to provide information, train operators have put about 500 replacement bus services in place, as well as providing taxis and hotel rooms when necessary."


For more information call the ATOC Press Office on 020 7904 3010

Note to Editors: more detailed information is available below:


Train operators are doing their best to keep passengers informed of changes to services due to emergency speed restrictions and flooding.

Train operators have been able to provide around 1000 additional staff at their stations during the morning and evening peak, uniformed staff have been moved from their usual jobs to assist passengers with travel information. Many office staff also helped out in their own time to ensure passengers were kept informed.

Nearly all affected train operators have produced revised timetables, leaflets and posters giving details of delays and cancellations - this despite daily increases in the number of speed restrictions and their changing impact on services. Information is prominently displayed at stations and on trains and is complemented by frequent PA announcements. Further leaflets and posters give details on the compensation arrangements and refund procedures available to customers.

A number of train operators have sent out individual letters to all their customers.

Advertising in local and national media has helped train operators communicate service changes on the network. This was backed up by ATOC who ran a full page information advert in The Guardian. To date over £100k has been invested in advertising with more expected in the coming weeks.

The website has been a valuable tool in the bid to disseminate information to passengers. 21 of the train operators now have a dedicated website. Over half of these sites contains 'real-time' running information. All sites have links to the National Rail website (, which gives information on all TOCs train services. The site has been very popular despite only being live for 2 months. Website hits average around 140,000 a day.

The National Rail real time information is generated by NRES, which has also been a popular source of information. Average numbers of calls to NRES currently stand at over one million a day. This compares to around 200,000 a day normally.

Individual train operator call centres are also experiencing around 50-100% increased demand. Additional staff have been brought in to meet the demand.

Train operators and ATOC have been actively taking part in national and localised media interviews. By speaking on news bulletins and drive time shows we have successfully managed to reach a wide audience.

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-11-09 ATO-001


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