Railtrack upgrade planned with real military precision

Staff on Railtrack’s West Coast Main
Working Line upgrade are learning the planning skills used in military
campaigns.

About 100 supervisors and managers
who are part of the £5.4bn programme have signed up to the course, Engineering
Planning – Be Part of the Team.

The course, run with the Royal
School of Military Engineering, is teaching Railtrack’s managers how to adapt
their planning skills to everyday situations during their work.

The Army engineers play out a
typical military planning sequence covering battle procedure, rehearsals,
orders, communications and implementation. Course members learn how to
multi-task and develop skills such as situation reporting, assessing
construction risks and working to tight deadlines at night.

They will also take part in a
“desktop” exercise to use the Army’s methods to solve task planning problems,
assign resources to tasks and draw up emergency and contingency plans.

Stephan Stephan, Railtrack’s
logistics and construction manager, said, “Be Part of the Team has been
designed by the Royal School of Military Engineering and Railtrack to target
the skills needed to deliver our West Coast project with military precision.”

The modernisation, which will be
complete in June 2005, will allow tilting trains to travel along the line at up
to 140mph.

Kim James, the project’s head of HR,
said, “The biggest impact this programme will have is on [track] possession
planning – which ultimately will make things better for customers.”

“This is not really a management
training course. It is more about logistics.”

By RICHARD STAINES

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