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FTP reintroduces porters at stations

by Alan Salter

A train operator is turning back the clock by hiring porters to help passengers with their luggage at three busy stations. First TransPennine Express is

repeating the successful initiative of last year this summer, by installing the porters on platforms at Manchester Airport, Scarborough, and Windermere stations, all of which it manages. And it is going a step further in

Manchester by putting the porters on trains that travel between the city’s Piccadilly station and the airport to help passengers sort their luggage on board before they get off.

The idea was introduced last

year to accompany a successful free summer travel offer for children. It led to passenger growth of more than 20 per cent and management needed to avoid the unwanted effects of heavily loaded services.

The scheme was particularly

successful at Windermere where 54-year-old cleaner Gail Brunwell, from nearby Kendal was asked to work extra hours and become a porter.

She said: ‘It was such a busy

summer that sometimes people leaving would end up queuing out of the door of the ticket office. I used to go along the queue talking to people and see if there was anything I could do to help. ‘People were coming from all

over the world – Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Americans, Arabs, Israelis, and Europeans.’ Mick Elliot, station manager

for Windermere, said: ‘It was very successful. A lot of people wrote in to say how helpful she had been. She did interviews on local radio and the Lakes Line Users Group thought she was wonderful.’ FTPE was once again one of the

stars of the group’s annual results, which have just been announced, with passenger revenues increased by 5.6 per cent and best ever levels of train punctuality and reliability. In his report to the City, chief executive Sir Moir Lock said the company was ‘delighted’ with success at the Rail Professional – sponsored Rail Business Awards in February, with finalists in every category and the overall Rail Business of the Year award.

l alan.salter@railpro.co.uk

The original roof being constructed in 1916. Inset: The temporary ‘crash desk’

Historic Paddington roof restoration begins

Paddington station’s massive Span 4 roof should be fully restored by the end of the year, according to Paul Futter, senior project manager for Network Rail’s £35m refurbishment scheme. Span 4 is the Grade 1-listed

section of roof, completed in 1916, that covers platforms 9-12 of Paddington’s eastern extension. Replaced glass and repaired metal

rib arches will allow natural light onto the three platforms below. ‘Finishing this restoration by the

end of this year is a big challenge,’ said Futter, speaking to journalists on the temporary ‘crash desk’ built to protect passengers from the Edwardian roof’s glazing, cladding and metalwork. ‘So far 70 per cent of Span 4’s roof has been stripped,’ he added.

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JUNE 2010 PAGE 9

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