RETIRED railway staff are being urged to volunteer for a temporary return to duty, as the importance of maintaining rail services, particularly vital freight movements, is being highlighted by the coronavirus emergency.
The first appeal was made by ScotRail, but this has now been followed by similar appeals in England and Wales.
Clive Berrington, who is commercial and procurement director for Network Rail’s route services, has issued a national appeal, circulated by the National Skills Academy Rail.
He says: ‘A crucial element of our business continuity planning is ensuring we can call on enough skilled and experienced frontline workers to maintain rail infrastructure. The measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean there will be times in the coming months when this will be extremely challenging.
‘We require your support in meeting this challenge head-on by making us aware of any members of your teams who could fill our business-critical roles. Specifically, we are looking for: ex-Signallers, ex-Crossing Keepers, ex-Roster Clerks, ex-Mobile Operations Managers and ex-Electrical Control Operators.
‘If you are aware of any members of staff who are willing to help us, please could you contact us via your local Network Rail teams or the following email address to provide their names, experience by role, competencies and location to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.’
This appeal has been echoed by Network Rail’s Southern Region managing director John Halsall.
He said: ‘This region carries half of all passengers in the country and Channel Tunnel railfreight and the pressure is on us to keep that going more than ever before. I’m appealing for signallers who’ve retired, left the railway, or moved on to other jobs in Network Rail that they can take a break from, to come back and help us keep the south moving.
‘Under normal circumstances we have enough signallers to keep trains running whatever happens, from flu to winter colds season, but these are not normal circumstances and without signallers to route trains there will be no way we can keep the whole network open.
‘So if you can help us, get in touch.’
The email address for Network Rail Southern Region is email@example.com.