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East Midlands Trains Makes Winter Vow

East Midlands TrainsEast Midlands Trains has announced a set of measures to reassure travellers that it’s prepared more than ever to deal with severe weather conditions after the harsh winter experienced last year. Together with Network Rail, which manages the track and signalling on the rail network, the company has reviewed what happened the last two years in order to strengthen its contingency plans and further protect its services for passengers.

The new plans include improved contingency timetables, technical work to help the trains deal better in extreme conditions and better customer communication. The company will also have a new Twitter feed dedicated to alerting passengers on the social media network about how their services are operating. Additionally, it is introducing help-points at almost 30 stations and investing in better customer information screens. The coolant systems for the trains will get a special anti-freeze that will be able to withstand temperatures down to -28ºC. The lowest temperature recorded in the UK was -27.2ºC in December of 1995 in the Sottish Highlands.

The contingency timetables have been agreed with Network Rail in advance to keep main routes open. East Midlands Trains has also made agreements with neighbouring operators to help travellers get around easier on alternative routes. The company has better contingency plans for removing snow from maintenance depots and stations as well. Aside from that, Network Rail has invested in a new system that will allow points heaters to be remotely monitored so that they can predict problems before they significantly impact performance.

East Midlands Trains managing director David Horne says that they have worked with Network Rail and maintenance partner Bombardier to use passenger feedback and their experience from the past two years to ensure they are prepared for severe winter weather impacts this year. Their staff did well to run as many services as possible in 2010, despite some exceptionally challenging situations with much lower temperatures than the rail infrastructure and trains were designed to handle.

However, Horne went on to say, they know there are improvements to be made – especially in the line of communication with customers and ensuring the train fleet is prepared to deal with the same freezing temperatures experienced last year. There will always be challenges to face when it comes to severe weather disruption, but the plans they have for this year will help them ensure they offer travellers the best services and most useful information possible during the hard circumstances.

Network Rail route managing director Martin Frobisher says that they have learned some valuable lessons after the severe weather last year. Their teams are well prepared and, together with East Midlands Trains, they are confident of delivering the best possible services this winter.




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