How are Network Rail putting passengers first?

By Alchemmy’s Rachel Tyte

Network Rail are the biggest provider of railway infrastructure in the UK, supporting 4.8 million passenger and freight journeys a day. They are undertaking a huge organisational change programme to achieve their ‘Putting Passengers First’ vision. Great British Railways (GBR), brainchild of the William-Shapps Plan for Rail, makes this vision even more urgent.

In 2020, Network Rail CEO Andrew Haines set out his ambition to see a customer-facing, professionalised service in an impassioned speech at the Golden Whistles awards. ‘World class engineering,’ he argued, ‘needs world-class operations running alongside it.’

But how are Network Rail working towards this revolutionary passenger-centric future? Historically the organisation has focused on constructing and maintaining its 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and tunnels, 6,000 level crossings and 2,500 stations. This requires huge expenditure and extensive financial planning. These are critical in delivering what the service customers deserve. But investment alone cannot address a key consideration: how to utilise the Network’s assets to deliver optimal passenger service. For this, the frontline Operations Delivery team is critical. So what are they doing in the Network’s routes and regions to deliver Andrew Haines’s vision?

The Network Rail Anglia Operations and Operational Programme Delivery teams, working in partnership with Alchemmy, have pioneered their ‘Anglia 21st Century Operating Strategy’. Launched in 2020, its core aim is to put the passenger first. The teams have worked tirelessly alongside colleagues in Capital Delivery, Maintenance, Signalling and Control to put the same rigor once reserved for maintenance upgrades into operational delivery. So far, the Strategy has realised benefits through a variety of initiatives, including:

  • A new Target Operating Model – the first in Operations for 15 years
  • Traffic Management, a technology which helps operators leverage their decision-making experience to optimise passenger service – the most successful initiative of its kind on the Network
  • New training centres and career pathways – to empower individuals to deliver an excellent passenger service
  • Joint initiatives with Train and Freight Operating companies to enhance operational delivery – such as an Integrated Operating Model with NR Western, RfLI and MTR, to support the new Elizabeth Line’s end-to-end operation
  • A framework that sets Anglia up for success as customer demand changes post-Covid and as GBR sets out a new future for rail


Since 2020, Alchemmy have successfully supported our Network Rail Anglia colleagues in implementing the changes required to deliver the Strategy. Working collaboratively, we have not only supported them in delivering a better service and experience for their passengers. We have also helped them recognise the importance and benefits of business change.

Delivering change to a live operational environment is really difficult. Trialling an element of our Target Operating Model is something that has not been done for some time. However, with a clear strategy and expertise from Alchemmy, we were able to deliver a programme and part of Anglia’s Target Operating Model to improve Operations for our people, passengers and freight users” – Tommy Puncheon, Senior Operations Programme Manager in Anglia

For more information on the work we have done with the Anglia route please contact the People and Change team at Alchemmy.

“In life, change in inevitable. In business, change is vital.” (Warren Bennis – Leadership Pioneer)

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Published on

51th April 2022


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