Thursday 18 May 2006


Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
This weekend saw a new Route Control Manager – affectionately known as a ‘fat controller’ – start work in Swindon.  This will mean closer working and swifter decision-making between Network Rail and train operator, First Great Western – and ultimately a better experience for customers travelling between London and the West Country. Network Rail and First Great Western staff have been co-located and working closely together for over two years.  The new Route Control Manager will lead both staff groups – and, with new technology, the groups now form a single integrated control centre. Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s Western Route Director, said: “This new integrated control will mean better, quicker decision-making by the people running the route and operating the trains that run on it.  The benefits of this significant investment in people and technology should be felt for years to come by customers travelling between London and the West Country.” Alison Forster, First Great Western’s Managing Director said: “A more integrated railway has real benefits for all our customers. With the inclusion of Wessex Trains in the First Great Western franchise, and this weekend’s launch of the Integrated Control Centre, that is exactly what we are creating in this region.” The completion of a further phase will see the relocation of former Wessex Trains services from Exeter to Swindon, a centralisation of First Great Western’s train crew function in Swindon, presently in a number of locations around the route, and a full integration with the control centre in South Wales.

Notes to editors

1. The post of the Route Control Manager has been designed to lead within the control and allow consistent and effective decision-making to ensure the railway network runs as smoothly as possible for passengers. It is a strategic role, and particularly important for minimising delays resulting from operational incidents 2. A joint Network Rail and First Great Western working group have been in place for around 18 months developing a number of work streams in preparation for full integration and 400 man days of training and upskilling have been delivered

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