Training & Familiarisation

Lessons learnt during the final stages of station staff familiarisation and handover.

This case study details the stages that the London Bridge teams went through at the final stages of training and familiarisation.

Overall this was a very successful interaction between the project team, Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

Watch this interview with Frank McCarthy who explains how the process worked.

The stages:

  1. Stakeholder involvement and buy in

A regular training meeting was already set up and this continued for the final phase.

What went well?

The meeting allowed stakeholders from Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies to be involved at every stage.

This group were also taken on pilot walks to agree familiarisation routes for staff training and also decided on best times for slots for staff release. Training Needs Analysis (TNA) was based on these earlier stages and was included in the overall training plan.

As the final phase of the opening didn’t include any new technical assets (staff were already using identical assets on the opened part of the station), Training and Familiarisation was mainly directed at staff familiarisation.

  1. Process / planning

As learned in earlier stages, rostering and service provision will always take precedence over staff release for training. Therefore, a flexible approach was adopted with the Training and Familiarisation team producing an excel sheet with all days / slots available for each group (including Network Rail and Train Operating Companies). Enough slots were allotted to ensure 50% redundancy (i.e. if 300 staff needed Training and Familiarisation 600 opportunities were provided.

Another aspect of the planning was to decide the assets entering service and the route / approach needed to train staff with them. The Training and Familiarisation team spent some time trying to find out what areas / rooms were entering service and the purpose of some rooms etc.

What went well?

Excellent communications between Training and Familiarisation team, stakeholders and operators.

What were the lessons learned?

Different information was held by EIS team, construction team, fire team etc.

Different people knew different things.

  1. Bookings

There were four, one and a half hour slots each day at the following times 10:00-12:00, 12:30-13:30, 14:00-15:30 and 16:00-17:30. The 16:00 session proved to be the least popular of the sessions up for offer.

Each slot allowed for two Network Rail staff, two GTR staff and four Southeastern staff. Overall, 309 staff were trained up from all three train operating companies along with the station cleaning staff. Ad hoc / mop-up sessions were also available.

What went well?

As the Training and Familiarisation team had good relations with station staff and management, they were able to identify some individuals who did the staff bookings. This made making and changing bookings very easy and flexible.

What were the lessons learned?

An excel spreadsheet was used for bookings. Different versions and copies of this were in circulation at the same time and this led to confusion at times.

A central booking facility open to all and managed by the Training and Familiarisation team would improve this.

  1. Site availability

The site was planned to be ‘PPE free’ but on inspection, the first week had to be cancelled as the Training and Familiarisation team felt that ‘PPE free’ was not safe.

When appropriate walkways had been put in place, several parts of site were not accessible (e.g. platform 1, section A of the concourse). Luckily, the team were able to adapt, and this did not detract from the Training and Familiarisation sessions.

What went well?

Once the site was made available, the local level management was very good. Chain-link fencing was in place and site behaviour was very good.

What were the lessons learned?

The site was not ready on time.

Some construction work did encroach on tours but this was quickly remedied.

  1. Delivery of Training and Familiarisation

Once tours commenced, the Training and Familiarisation team were able to base themselves in block A of the station. This allowed excellent communications to continue with the Training and Familiarisation team who were able to support other briefings about weekends and Christmas blockades etc.

Tours were held at a rate of four per day and staff attendance was very good. All staff were given a safety briefing, a tour and returned to the meeting room for a wash-up session with questions answered.

Feedback was always excellent. Staff were very enthusiastic about being shown around prior to opening and the prospect of the work finally finishing.

What went well?

  • Staff interaction
  • Tour route worked very well
  • Dedicated room for the duration of training
  • Excellent feedback / buy in.

What were the lessons learned?

As time went by, attendance started to run down, with some sessions having only one attendee towards the end (however this is natural).

  1. Review Training and Familiarisation

The overall feedback from the sessions was positive and staff believed the tours were beneficial. Several of the staff commented on how helpful the tour guides were, due to their vast knowledge of the project. Information that was given on these tours was clear and easy for all staff to understand.

This gave the staff a better perspective of the final product. One staff member suggested that a picture of the new station would have been good to give a visual of what the station would look like once fully completed. This was included for future training

In conclusion, the sessions were well attended and feedback was very positive, with staff being very thankful for the work done by all.


  • Out of 309 evaluation sheets: 97% answered an 8 or above and very satisfied to all four questions
  • The other 3% answered below an 8 to at least one question

The one question that scored the lowest was ‘While on the tour. The site felt safe and clear’. This was due to the station still being in construction while the tours were taking place.