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East Coast Mobilisation

At transfer in November 2009, Directly Operated Railways was tasked with ensuring the continuity of service to customers, with no disruption or reduction in service standards.

During the summer of 2009, a small team of rail industry experts was mobilised in preparation for the future of the East Coast franchise from National Express to Directly Operated Railways. A large effort was focused on the Government's commitment to ensure that customers experienced a seamless transition to the new franchise.

During the mobilisation phase, Directly Operated Railways decided upon a new name and brand for the new franchise. Whilst East Coast has to operate in a competitive travel market, given the relatively short life of the franchise, every effort was made to ensure that the costs of transfer were kept to a minimum, thereby securing the best value for taxpayers. For example, staff uniform changes were limited to new scarves, ties and name badges, and whilst no re-painting was undertaken, new East Coast decals were applied to the fleet of trains.

On the day of transfer, Directly Operated Railways was able to ensure that everything was ready for a smooth transition, including:

  • A new comprehensive business plan created and distributed to managers
  • A clear plan of what the service priorities would be
  • A comprehensive budget prepared for each aspect of the business
  • Clear goals, a strategic vision for the business, a new set of values – and a means to communicate them
  • A new set of performance measures for every member of staff
  • Payment and other complex IT systems realigned or newly created
  • Staff TUPE arrangements in place
  • A plan for every manager to be briefed within 72 hours
  • The majority of staff briefed at static and mobile events before Christmas 2009
  • Staff uniform accessories progressively distributed
  • Much of the train fleet rebranded and completed over a period of 10 days
  • Revised customer information materials produced and distributed