Network Rail turns to India for specialist engineers

Rail
managers have been forced to fly in specialist engineers from India to repair a
set of rail signals because of a UK skills shortage.

Network
Rail (NR) arranged for the 12 mechanical engineers to be flown into the UK to
restore and maintain five Victorian signal boxes in Stockport. The Indian
engineers have been in the UK for three weeks and are working alongside UK
staff.

The
operator said it was needed to ensure the £8bn West Coast Mainline upgrade was
completed on time.

NR,
which refused to comment on how much it had cost to fly them in, said:
"Due to a shortage of specialist mechanical engineers in the UK, NR
sourced the best possible staff available to carry out the job. In this case,
they were from India.

"NR
and the rail industry are carrying out many initiatives to address the skill
shortage, including the setting up of a foundation degree in railway
engineering, apprenticeship schemes and a graduate training scheme."

By Daniel Thomas

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