Impact of change on staff workload recognised.

shrewsbury railway station

Higher workload at  Shrewsbury station is affecting staff welfare, said a reporter to CIRAS. Staff get thousands of emails with train alterations and amended workings from Transport for Wales (TfW). It is an intense workload for station staff and signallers, causing stress and fatigue that negatively impacts staff health and risks a safety incident.

A shunt driver isn’t always available, so trains that need to be shunted block platforms for hours or overnight. This reduces station capacity and causes platform alterations that affect staff workload.

TfW said it was a time of transition, with big investment in new rolling stock, legacy fleet operating, and commitment to training in new operations. The train plan was evolving. TfW is keeping the situation under review.

Recognising the impact on staff, the station management team had already put in place extra resources and cover. In response to the report, TfW investigated what else it could do.

The station management team now attend the weekly fleet availability and planning meeting so they can highlight issues with upcoming amended train plans.

There are short-term plan discussions to try to match the timetable to the fleet and prevent unplanned train swaps. Every two weeks, there are meetings to discuss the long-term timetable and fleet resource. Some timetable changes have been deferred until more new trains have become available.

The route for the new Class 197 fleet is expanding, with clearance agreed between Chester and Cardiff, including via Nantwich. This should limit the need for unplanned train swaps.

With more new trains, there should be better availability and a more reliable fleet.

TfW Rail is recruiting and training drivers. It expects driver availability for shunt moves to improve in months.

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