Network Rail workers in York are helping to keep the railway running reliably during the coronavirus pandemic to allow vital freight and passenger services to continue.

Stockton-born Andrew Squires works as a Route Control Manager at Network Rail’s rail operating centre (ROC) in York, which is the largest of its kind in Britain. He manages a team of 11 incident and train running controllers who respond to incidents causing disruption to train services, such as track faults, bridge strikes and trespass incidents.

Andrew manages Network Rail’s response to the incidents, helping to get them resolved as quickly as possible.  

Andrew and his team work to make sure that train services continue to run safely and reliably for passengers who do need to travel, and for the transportation of vital freight goods, which is especially important during Covid-19.

Safety is Network Rail’s top priority and Andrew’s role has been adapted in line with Government guidance. An on-call rota is now in place so that fewer staff are physically needed at the ROC, whilst extra staff are on stand-by, ready to assist should they be required. Andrew’s main contact with his team is now through emails and phone calls and he is working hard to keep them updated and supported through this difficult time.

Network Rail would like to remind passengers that they should only travel if they have to. Those who do need to use the railway should continue to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.

Andrew, who has worked at Network Rail for 36 years, said: “My team and I have a really important role to play in keeping services moving so that people who do need to travel can get to where they need to be on time.

“I am incredibly proud of how my team have adapted to the new and unusual ways of working. I know that it has been a quick and drastic change, so I have been doing my best to support them and I will continue to do so.

“I have been sending my team regular updates and support through emails, texts and phone calls, and our next team brief will be held via video call which should be a light-hearted way for us to get together in a safe environment to discuss plans going forward.”