The Heritage Railways Association has announced that heritage railways are on standby to provide staff to Network Rail to fill in for shortages expected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Heritage Railways Association is contacting its operating railway members, to assess the availability of skilled and qualified people.
The requirement, to begin with, is for signalling staff, followed by station staff.
Drivers, guards and conductors are recruited separately, by the train operating companies.
Many of the volunteers and staff at Britain’s heritage railways are retired Network Rail people.
Network Rail is planning for all the measures necessary to enable those operators to function.
What did the officials say?
HRA Chief Executive Steve Oates said
‘The proposal makes sense. Network Rail is expecting to suffer staff shortages, like many other organisations. Effectively all of the UK’s heritage railways have now closed until further notice – yet we have experienced and skilled people, available to help keep the nation’s vital railways working.’
‘The first step is to identify the staff and volunteers prepared to put themselves forward, establish their availability, and where they are willing to work. The second step is to match staff and volunteers to vacancies, and assess to determine appropriate training. Following that, individuals would be deployed to their workplaces for completion of training and induction, and starting work.’
A Network Rail spokesperson said:
‘Our priority is to continue to operate the railway safely and reliably. We’re taking steps to ensure we have enough colleagues in the business to do that, including talking with the Heritage Railway Association to see how they could help fill any key worker shortages that arise as a result of Covid-19.’
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