Major Train Operating Company, Workforce Planning – United Kingdom

  • Operating an established commuter railway
  • Serving a diverse rural and urban population
  • 74 trains completed 47.3 million journeys across 25 stations in 2019/20 

North Star investigated performance issues the train operator was experiencing due to a lack of driver availability. Whilst embedded within the business, we delivered operational assurance through assessing and reporting on workforce planning risks and establishing a new governance structure to support delivery. We also negotiated a new method for the calculation of the number of drivers required, where we gained agreement from all key stakeholders and trade union representatives to ensure the business had a target for recruitment. In parallel, North Star defined the number of drivers assigned to each depot, working with the operations teams to manage movements between them. The result was a clear workforce plan to recruit an appropriate number of drivers over the following year and delivery of immediate performance improvements through balancing of the existing rosters.

In addition, North Star identified the strategic direction by reviewing the terms and conditions and agreements and recommending changes to working practices that improve efficiency and productivity. We achieved this by utilising leading software to create multiple train crew diagram options. We also negotiated new diagrams and rosters to reflect the December 2017 timetable change, working with the train planning team and trade union representatives.

At the project’s conclusion, North Star delivered solutions that gave the business the opportunity to save 15%, together with the appointment of a new, permanent workforce planning role to manage the changes going forward.