Meet Barry - one of a team of new managers at South Western Railway working 24/7 to make train services around Portsmouth more efficient

TRAIN services in and around Portsmouth are about to become more efficient, thanks to South Western Railway’s newest team.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 2:12 pm
Barry Lemm, one of seven new duty control managers taken on by South Western Railway to work at the Wessex Integrated Control Centre in Basingstoke

Whether it’s dreaded leaves on the line, trespassers on the track, or broken-down stock, whatever the disruption, the rail service has created a new team of duty control managers that step in whatever time of day to ensure the customer is at the centre of decisions.

Barry Lemm is one of seven new managers taken on by South Western Railway to work at the Wessex Integrated Control Centre in Basingstoke in a drive to boost performance and give greater customer satisfaction.

The team is available 24/7 to make sure the right decisions are made and ensure that service is recovered not just as quickly as possible, but in a way that disrupts the smallest number of passengers.

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Barry, from Bournemouth, said: ‘We can’t have our customers in the control room with us, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a say in how our network runs. My colleagues and I are proud to represent the interests of our passengers and be their voice in the control room.

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‘Those of us who work on the railway do so because we are passionate about delivering the best journeys we can for our passengers. In this role, we are uniquely placed to make a positive difference to the services we run.'

Barry and his colleagues kick into action as soon as disruption takes place on the network, working to mitigate its impact and ensure that passengers are given up-to-date and accurate information as quickly as possible.

Previously, management of the train service across the network was led by Network Rail alone, but this new arrangement will see the new team working in tandem with Network Rail’s route control managers.

The move comes following a 2018 report on rail performance by Sir Michael Holden, which identified train service management during disruption and the resulting impact on customers as an area which required improvement.

Stefan Chybowski, SWR’s train service delivery manager, said: ‘We strive to put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and this shakeup will put our passengers’ interests at centre stage when incidents and disruption occur on the network.

‘We are determined to drive up the performance and punctuality of our network, and the Holden report identified disruption management as an area which was key to bringing about improvements. This move is a direct response to this report, with the duty control managers set to help deliver the changes our customers rightly want to see.'

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