When disruption closed Kings Cross Station, our rail replacement experts provided a solution for train users
In 2019, LNER needed an alternative transport solution to support disruptions caused by the East Coast upgrade programme. Engineering works to create additional platforms, upgrade signalling and reopen a tunnel, meant that Kings Cross would need to close at certain times over a three year period.
Rail replacement services were the ideal solution to offer an alternative means of travel for customers. As Stagecoach is responsible for the alternative transport solutions for LNER we took an active role on a multi operator project team including other key stakeholders such as Network Rail, London North Eastern Railways, Great Northern/Thameslink and Go Ahead.
Planning started twelve weeks in advance of any disruptions to agree where the rail replacement would operate from and to. A rail replacement service was then designed to ensure customers could still connect, for example from a train at Peterborough to a bus going towards Bedford and vice versa. Numbers of vehicles were agreed, as well as resource planning to ensure that we had an adequate number of controllers to assist passengers and ensure that vehicles depart on time from their location. All staff levels were agreed within the project team with all spend authorised accordingly.
Once the station operational plan had been agreed we also ensured that a further contingency plan was in place, in case any operational issues arose on the day or other instances outside of our control such as traffic. Closer to the time, we worked with the project team to study the reservation numbers. Where customer numbers were slightly higher than expected we were able to provide additional bus resource with standby coaches.
The work has been a great success and there were two main contributing factors. Firstly, the attention to detail remained at a high level throughout. Secondly, the information that we issued to coach operators and controllers ensured that they knew exactly how the operation should run on the day.
Value for money - all work was delivered within budget
Positive customer feedback - Controllers were commended for their clear communication and explanations, positive attitudes and great organisation
Team recognition - Stagecoach Project Manager was shortlisted by LNER to receive a perfect partner award
The programmed works included a complex mix of weekend and weekday blockades and long term service reductions affecting different parts of the route. Stagecoach understood the complexity of the project and was quick to identify the level of support and service required during each blockade. No matter how different the scenario is, the team was able to provide a high standard of planning and delivery of essential rail replacement services. Project Manager, Neil has attended each of the blockades that have been undertaken and worked alongside us to deliver the best customer service we can. He is a fantastic partner in our project and is rightly considered as part of the team.