UK: Network Rail has converted former testing workshops and meeting rooms at Newport into a temporary training centre to ensure it has enough skilled signallers to keep trains in the Wales & Western Region moving during the coronavirus crisis.
More than 200 people across Wales & Western responded when NR appealed for retired signallers, or those who have moved to other careers in the industry, to volunteer to provide cover at signal boxes and control centres if some current staff fall ill or need to self-isolate during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Conversion of the rooms to provide refresher training took four weeks.
‘It is a remarkable achievement that this fully functioning training suite for signallers has been completed in less than a month’, said Mark Langman, NR’s Managing Director for Wales & Western. ‘Under normal circumstances we have enough signallers to keep trains running whatever happens, but these are not normal circumstances and without fully trained signallers it is possible that parts of the network would have to shut.
‘I am delighted with the response from former signallers who are willing to return to the railway. Putting the right training and facilities in place means that we can get them back up to speed to help us keep moving essential freight goods, and passengers whose journeys are essential.’