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Railway Day – proud of our volunteers

Our people have been generous with their time and skills over the past year as they’ve found new ways to lending a helping hand during a difficult year.

Here are just some of those stories …

Laptops for schools

We launched a scheme to support children learning from home – and reduce waste.

In January, we shared how we’d donated laptops to a school in Manchester. Volunteers at Network Rail designed a scheme to donate old laptops to children across Britain in desperate need of a device to help with their school work.

The project aims to donate more than 8,000 laptops to schools in Britain over the next year.

School children in a classroom with laptops donated by Network Rail
Network Rail laptops at St Willibrord’s School, Manchester
Network Rail lorry during the setting up of a Nightingale hospital in Manchester, daytime

Volunteers help deliver Nightingale hospital

Last spring we provided its logistics and project management expertise to help deliver the National Health Service Nightingale Hospital North West in Manchester.

Dozens of volunteers with specialisms in supply chain and logistics worked with the Army Reserve and National Health Service to get the hospital open over the Easter weekend.

The volunteers helped unload, move and build hospital beds, ready for the arrival of the first coronavirus patients on Easter Sunday.

Old train carriages transform into new library

In November, our teams in the North East of England volunteered their skills to help a primary school in County Durham acquire two disused railway carriages and convert them into a school library.

Kirk Merrington Primary School in Spennymoor appealed for help after outgrowing its existing facilities, following a surge in pupil numbers.

The previous library was repurposed as a classroom, with the books moving to shelves on the corridors. The school fundraised to buy a disused pacer train and turn it into an imaginative learning environment.

An old train gets turned into a school library in County Durham, daytime

Volunteers from Network Rail and a nurse in front of a Network Rail vehicle, daytime
L to R: Craig Jackson (Hexham mobile operations manager); Laura Seaton (nurse practitioner, Hexham General Hospital); Jamie Seaton (signaller and crossing keeper)

Network Rail workers in North East donate PPE

Network Rail workers in the North East of England supported the NHS by donating spare personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff at Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland.

Local operations manager Chris Thomas, operations manager Mick Hodgson, mobile operations manager Craig Jackson and signaller Jamie Seaton wanted to help NHS staff in the area. Jamie approached his colleagues as his wife, Laura Seaton, works as a nurse practitioner at Hexham General Hospital.

Food bank collection point created at Manchester Piccadilly station

Manchester Piccadilly station has opened a collection point for food bank donations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The station team had the idea after food from the staff canteen at Network Rail’s nearby Square One offices risked going to waste after the coronavirus lock down came into effect. 

With thousands of Network Rail employees usually based at the site on Travis Street now working from home, it left the well-stocked cafeteria with plenty of food and no mouths to feed. 

Volunteers from Manchester Piccadilly station helping a food bank collection, daytime
Euston station staff volunteer to help covid vaccinations
London Euston station customer service assistants Layla Cardoso and Dave Allen in covid vaccination training

Station staff swap passengers for patients in covid jab effort

Five customer service staff at London Euston station got recruited to give covid-19 jabs in a major push to get people vaccinated across the capital.

The Network Rail staff have received special training so they can be called in to help deliver vaccines at large vaccination hubs soon to open in North London.

Qualified health professions trained the five railway recruits for a day, followed by further e-learning and a final assessment to give them the skills needed to administer the Oxford-Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

Mass vaccination facility set up in Exeter

In January, a team of rail workers helped set up a large-scale Vaccination Centre near Exeter, Devon.

Workers from Network Rail volunteered their time to unload about 100 pallets of equipment from articulated lorries and set it up inside the main building at Westpoint Exeter.

They worked tirelessly to complete a tasks such as assembling furniture, laying out signage and constructing the vaccination pods to help ensure the facility, just off the M5 motorway in Exeter was ready to open.

Network Rail volunteers help set up a mass vaccination centre in Exeter. Network Rail staff holding a sign to the centre.

Read more:


How railway workers responded to coronavirus

Year on the Network 2020


Life at Network Rail

Together we can end domestic abuse