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Ensuring safety Benefiting from the best possible safety culture For employees and stakeholders of Abellio / June 2014 No.3 Successful public transport ‘We live and die by the quality of our people and talent pipeline’ Rail Safety & Standards Board Building a better safety culture magazine

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Page 1: Ensuring safety - Abellio€¦ · the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business. What attracted you to work at Abellio? “People are critical to the

Ensuring safetyBenefiting from the best possible safety culture

For employees and stakeholders of Abellio / June 2014No.3

Successful public transport ‘We live and die by the quality of our people and talent pipeline’

Rail Safety & Standards BoardBuilding a better safety culture


Page 2: Ensuring safety - Abellio€¦ · the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business. What attracted you to work at Abellio? “People are critical to the

3 STATE OF MIND Safety as part of our DNA

4 ON THE ROAD WITH GEORGE BARRON “This is a very exciting environment

to work in”

5 OUR PEOPLE Meet Michaela Kerzel, Abellio Deutschland

6 SAFETYTaking safety to the highest level

8 INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF OUR STAKEHOLDERSRail Safety & Standards Board Technical Director Colin Dennis

10 MEANWHILE BACK AT … ABELLIO LONDON & SURREY Making an important contribution

to safe cycling in London

12 MY ABELLIO WAY New trains make strong impression in



The Abellio Way MagazineNumber 3 - June 2014Published by Abellio Group

P.O. Box 20253500 HA UtrechtThe Netherlands

COLOPHONThe Editorial Team Ed Coumans, James Dark, Yvonne Mulder, Wies Peters, Dirk van Sambeeck, Rose Teunissen (editor-in-chief), Marieke Thomassen, Nancy Visser, Roel Willems, Cameron Jones Images Ludolf Dahmen, Getty

Images/ Monty Rakusen, Jurjen Poeles, Frank Rogner, Simon Rawles, Aubrey WadeEditing and design Gloedcommunicatie, Nijmegen Printed by Mediacenter, Rotterdam

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

To manage and implement good safety measures we have a structure in place that links each operating company with Abellio Group and NS values, whilst at the same time allowing our businesses to meet their regulatory and franchise standards as bespoke operations. It doesn’t make sense to operate a bus like a train, the hazards and risks are different. It does make sense to have managers and employees who understand how to act safely and who are committed to doing just that.This flexible, adaptable and cooperative approach ensures that our safety professionals can communicate quickly and effectively and share good practice. It means we can implement innovation, benchmark against each other and industry performance, and support each other in improving safety. It also recognises that one set of rules cannot fit every situation as we operate in different sectors in different ways, all of them safe.Safety is a key responsibility for us all, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your role is. What matters is that safety is in your hands every minute of every day. The most important thing you can do today is do your job safely and support all the safety measures and structures we have in place. If we all do this our safety culture will further improve and we will continue to keep each other and all our passengers and customers safe.This edition of Abellio Way is all about safety. It will give you an insight into the initiatives across our Group.


Jeff HoogestegerCEO Abellio Group


Safety is our overarching priority


Page 3: Ensuring safety - Abellio€¦ · the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business. What attracted you to work at Abellio? “People are critical to the

Safety is the top priority throughout Abellio’s businesses. It is not about writing hundreds of pages of rules or putting up more signs, says Steve Enright, Group Head of Safety and Environment. It is about developing the right attitude in every single member of staff – the attitude that makes us a ‘good neighbour’.

He explains: “A good neighbour looks after the people he knows, helps them to get things right and helps stop them doing things wrong. A good neighbour does not accept unsafe behaviour from friends and helps them understand that we all share the responsibility to look after each other. Good neighbours take responsibility for themselves and for others.”

True safety cultureThe transport industry is governed by numerous sets of rules and regulations, many of them designed to ensure the safety of both staff and passengers. As a matter of course, Abellio complies fully with all the rules in each of the countries we operate in, and we run training, assessments, investigations and briefings to ensure there is a continuous focus on safety.

But Steve’s experience shows a true safety culture has even deeper roots. “It is about a state of mind – so that safety becomes part of our DNA. It means we would no more think of

doing something unsafe than we would think of stealing from our friends – or neighbours.”

Listening and learningThe most important thing is to communicate with people. “We need to understand someone’s current state of mind in order to be able to fully engage with them and bring them into the change process,” says Steve. “This helps us show people that they themselves – as well as everyone else – benefit from the best possible safety culture.

“It means, of course, that we encourage everyone to say what they really think about safety – and that we commit to listening and learning from each other.”

Of course, this safety culture does not exist in isolation. It is apparent that instilling a safety culture creates behaviours and attitudes consistent with the principles that underpin the Abellio Way.

As Steve says: “The Abellio Way needs good neighbours.”

Good neighboursImproving Abellio’s safety culture

Hazard or risk? What is the difference?The hazard is the thing that can hurt us and the risk is a combina-tion of how much hurt it can cause, how many people it can hurt, how likely it is to hurt us and how often. This means knowing the hazard exists and then thinking (or acting based on experience and training) how to keep the hazard under control.

ISSUE 3 – JUNE 2014 3

Page 4: Ensuring safety - Abellio€¦ · the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business. What attracted you to work at Abellio? “People are critical to the

Nationality: Scottish Age: 48 Background: degree in chemical engineering, worked with Japanese semi-conductor company; moved into HR role with manufacturing companies including bank note producer De La Rue; joined Abellio in 2011 from BAT (British American Tobacco) Enjoys: international dimension of working with people from different cultures and backgrounds Hobbies: tennis, travel

‘People are critical to our growth agenda’

with Abellio’s Group HR and Change Director George Barron


As a proud Scotsman, George Barron is delighted that Abellio pre-qualified and recently submitted a strong bid for the ScotRail franchise. “It is a tremendous opportunity for us and it feels like a really good fit. A lot of what we are about in terms of best practice exchange and our long term approach, as well as our commitment to working in partner-ship, seems to be exactly what Transport Scotland is looking for.”

George highlights Abellio’s integrated transport philosophy – seeking to provide a complete door-to-door journey for passengers – and our highly inclusive way of working with stakeholder groups as particularly good examples. “Transport Scotland is aware of how we work in the Netherlands and in our UK franchises with passengers and local communities, as well as the client, and they seem to like what they see.” Below he gives his views on why people have an especially important part to play in

the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business.

What attracted you to work at Abellio?“People are critical to the delivery of our growth agenda. As a public transport operator, we live and die by the quality of our people and talent pipeline. For an HR Director especially, that is a very exciting environment to work in, and it is quite different to my previous roles. At De La Rue, what differentiated us was the technology. At BAT, it was the different brands. The opportunity for HR to make a real difference in this business is that much greater.”

What are you looking for in an Abellio employee?“I believe it is important to recruit from as wide a range of people as possible. Diversity breeds innovation. We want people from all backgrounds, nationalities, market sectors – as long as they have the skills we need and the commitment and drive to make a

difference. I want the Abellio brand to be able to attract the best talent.”

How does Abellio develop its people?“As part of the on-going implementation of the Abellio Way, we have designed a more formal framework for identifying and developing talent. For example, the Group Talent Forum has been established, we now have a graduate recruitment programme and we will shortly be launching several development centres to help us identify and nurture Abellio’s leaders of the future.”

Where does HR fit in the bid process?“It is crucial. Acquiring a new franchise – with thousands of employees – is essentially an exercise in change management with a very significant people dimension. In every bid, we explain how we will manage that process, particularly how that will help us meet the commitments we have made and how we will accelerate acceptance of change among staff. 80% of business change


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Who: Michaela KerzelJob description: Head of IS, Abellio GmbH GermanyWork place: Essen, GermanyCurrently working on: an internet re launch of abellio.de and the imple-mentation of a new finance and accounting system for Abellio Deutschland


How would you describe your job?“Based in Abellio’s German HQ, I am responsible for the strategic and operational alignment of information services (IS) to business needs and cre ating a sustainable, scalable IT environ ment. Currently, I am also preparing all IS requirements for the start of Saale-Thuringen-Südharz operations in December 2015.”

What do you like about Abellio?“I enjoy working in the rail business and especially at a company which places such a high priority on service quality. This is reflected in both public opinion and the transport authority’s quality reports.”

What does The Abellio Way mean to you?“The Abellio Way’s common spirit is the ground on which a strong and sustainable company culture can grow and flourish. In the medium term it will position us as ‘the company to work for’.”

What do you do in your spare time?“I use my spare time to work in private practice as a mental health practitioner, especially on post-traumatic stress disorders. My knowledge in this field is also available to Abellio’s other operations.”

Who are you passing the Abellio mug to for the next issue?“I would like to hand over the mug to TJ Noomen in Sweden.”

Abellio Group is a melting pot of all kinds of people, cultures and backgrounds. That is what makes the company so unique. Meet our people!

“As a public transport operator, we live and die by the quality of our people and talent pipeline”

programmes typically fail because they do not address the people issues effectively.”

How do you help people accept change?“Communications is a critical component of proactively managing change. People, understandably, find change very unsettling and it is essential to provide as much informa-tion as quickly as possible to minimise the uncertainty. The railway industry is relatively conservative and has tended to focus on technical assets rather than its people, so our approach can make a real difference.”

How do you make sure employees feel part of the Abellio Way?“We need our people across all of our operating companies to proudly identify as Abellio employees and to live our values and behaviours. It was therefore a really uplifting experience to be part of the judging process for the recent Abellio Achievement Awards – to see the tremendous contribution our people make locally across the Group every day.”


ISSUE 3 – JUNE 2014 5

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Safety Culture Wheel


Focus on safetyThe reorganisation of Merseyrail’s safety department is helping achieve a significant improvement in the company’s safety culture. “We are making sure that we give everyone in the business more support to take ownership of safety,” says Janet Ives, who moved from operations to Head of Safety a year ago. “It has been a very challenging time for the team and for the business as a whole, but I believe all the departments are working much more closely together now. The focus on safety is much more visible, and this benefits both staff and customers.”

Companies in the rail industry must comply with safety regulations for the welfare of passengers and staff and to gain approval to operate. Each country has its own regulators to ensure all operators and infrastructure providers meet requirements (see pages 8-9 for the work of the UK’s Rail Safety & Standards Board). However, Abellio’s aim is to be much better than compliant. As the Culture Model (page right) shows, companies can be categorised into one of five levels in terms of their attitudes to safety. Steve Enright, Group Head of Safety and Environment, says: “We aim to be at the ‘Generative’ level across the whole company – where everyone at Abellio thinks and acts with safety ‘built-in’.” “In a business like ours, where we continue to win new franchises and develop new services, that can be a tough challenge,” Steve adds. “Building a top level safety culture demands full commitment right throughout the company.”This requires engagement with everyone, solving problems together and empowering people, as well as ensuring competence and having excellent systems. Steve explains there are a lot of contributory factors, as shown in the Safety Culture Wheel. “All of these ele ments can be measured and then improved – by all of us!”

Team perspective

Taking safety to the highest level

Steve Enright,Group Head of Safety and Environment


JANET IVESHead of Safety, Merseyrail






Management Commitment

Safety Rules &







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Most important task“Guaranteeing the permanent safety of our passengers, our staff and other people involved in our business is our most important task and challenge. All security measures across our entire range of duties are controlled and monitored 24/7. We are applying our Security Management System certified by the German Railway Authority and we improve our emergency management through regular exchange of knowledge with external experts as well as our sister companies within the Abellio Group. In addition we hold exercises which simulate emergency situations several times each year in close cooperation with fire departments, the police, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief and local as well as national authorities.”

What next?Focusing on safety is a continual process, and it is important to keep finding new ways to deliver the messages and engage with all staff. One of our methods of safety training involves working with a company specialising in theatre-based learning techniques. They have worked closely with us to develop a programme of ‘disaster scenarios’.Abellio Greater Anglia is the first OpCo to be involved and Jay Thompson, Head of Safety and Environment, is very enthusiastic. “It helps you realise that however much you know in your head, the actual event brings up lots of other emotions and reactions.”

RONALD LÜNSERManaging Director West, Abellio Deutschland

PathologicalWho cares as long as we don’t get caught?

Culture Model

GenerativeSafety is built into the way we think and work

ProactiveWe work on issues we find we still have

CalculativeWe have systems and manage ‘hazards’

ReactiveIt’s important after an accident to do something

Companies can be categorised into one of five levels in terms of their attitudes to safety

ISSUE 3 – JUNE 2014 7

Page 8: Ensuring safety - Abellio€¦ · the success of public transport companies and the role of HR in the business. What attracted you to work at Abellio? “People are critical to the

RSSB Technical Director Colin Dennis says: “We want to encourage coopera-tion across the industry so that we can learn from each other, and the railway can operate as safely, efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Abellio recognises that it is essential for businesses to participate openly and offer their expertise so that the cross-

industry groups are effective. The Abellio companies, Abellio Greater Anglia and the Abellio/Serco joint ventures Merseyrail and Northern Rail as well as Abellio UK all play their part.

Station Safety Champions at Northern Rail (Mark Shepherd), Abellio

One of the many tasks the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB) undertakes to support the in du stry is to facilitate coopera tion between all the companies and bodies involved in the UK rail sector. As part of this role, it supports a range of cross-industry groups – drawn from Network Rail, train and freight operating companies, rolling stock leasing companies, contractors and the supplier community – with the right data, technical know-how, decision-making tools and facilitation skills.

Raising the Safety StandardSteve explains: “Abellio is keen to support this activity to help improve safety in the UK railway industry. Our people are happy to give up their time to join working groups or speak at events such as the Risk Manage-ment Forum and Community Safety Conference. As another example, Steve Pugh of Northern Rail sits on the editorial group for the RED series of DVDs which are used across the industry as learning aids using real-life operational scenarios. It is all part of our commitment to building a stronger safety culture across the industry.”

Wide ranging role for RSSBRSSB’s role goes further than facilitating formal meetings. Its technical experts and managers also visit companies to learn and gain an understanding of the issues first hand and to share good practice.

Colin Dennis says: “Within the work we all do together there is a common theme of improving the safety culture of the railway. Almost every policy, investment or operational decision

Greater Anglia (Jay Thompson) and Merseyrail (Janet Ives) actively engage, sharing experience and supporting cross-industry work, as well as taking what they have learned back to their own teams.

The recently formed ‘People on Trains and Stations’ Risk Group is chaired by Steve Enright, Abellio’s Head of Safety and Environment. This group considers the risk asso ciated with train dispatch and the platform train interface, onboard injuries, and slips trips and falls, as well as trespass, assault and other crime and anti-social behaviour.


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Raising the Safety Standardtaken by the railway industry in Great Britain has an impact on safety. It is therefore vital that consideration of safety is embedded effectively into the decision-taking process.”

The cross-industry research programme represents an efficient and cost effective means for the industry to come together to research, develop and innovate to solve problems. The programme offers solutions and knowledge to improve the operation and engineering of the railway system, and support the people that make it work.RSSB supports the industry in many ways and although safety is at the heart of its role, the products and services it provides are diverse in nature. Some examples include: • The industry Rule Book • Right Track Magazine• Non-Technical Skills training• Competence development

guidance • Safety Culture Toolkit• European legislation and policy

guidance • Railway Group Standards

• The Safety Risk Model • Good practice guidance on safety

communication • Developments in the field of driver

selection and fitness

The next 30 Years …The vision for the railways for the next 30 years is set out in The Rail Technical Strategy (RTS) which RSSB published on behalf of the industry in 2012. It identifies the challenges as increasing the capacity of the railways, minimising the carbon footprint and reducing overall costs, whilst improving the customer experience.

Success will depend on develop-ing a momentum for change and a sustained effort by all railway employees to fulfil the RTS vision. Abellio Greater Anglia is working closely with RSSB and Network Rail to trial a new battery powered train as one of the first RTS-related demonstration projects.

“In the UK, Abellio actively supports the work of the Rail Safety & Standards Board to help build a better safety culture”Colin Dennis, Technical Director Rail Safety & Standards Board

RSSB supports the rail industry in Great Britain to:• continuously improve the level

of safety, where reasonably practicable

• drive out unnecessary cost • improve business performance

RSSB is run by the industry, for the industry. It: • helps its members to

understand risk• guides the development and

maintenance of standards • manages research,

development and innovation • facilitates cooperation


Rail Safety & Standards Board

9ISSUE 3 – JUNE 2014

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Abellio London & Surrey


Safer roads for London’s cyclistsThe number of cyclists on London’s roads has doubled since 2000 and risen even faster since the London Olympics in 2012. “We have noticed a massive increase,” says Lorna Murphy, Operations Manager, Battersea Depot, for Abellio London & Surrey. The company’s driver training is making an important contribution to safe cycling as more people take to their bikes.

The general population has become more interested in cycling after all the British success at the Olympics. Not to mention an

Englishman winning the Tour de France!” Lorna says. Combine that with a £900m investment programme including a major expansion of cycle routes and it is no wonder many more Londoners are keen to get on their bikes. However, the growing number of cyclists, many of whom are inexperienced, does bring extra challenges for bus drivers.

Abellio London & Surrey operates 43 bus routes in London plus 30 in Surrey and the management team continues to find innovative ways to ensure safety stays a top priority for its 1,850 drivers. It launched the

Drive Well campaign in 2011, with a ‘3 sees’ awareness aspect going live in 2012.

TrainingWhile Drive Well covers all aspects of bus driving, showing consideration to cyclists and pedestrians (the ‘vulnerable road users’) is a major theme. The programme includes roadshows at the depots to examine CCTV footage of recent incidents and discuss how they might have been handled better – or avoided altogether.

This year, a new course ‘Providing a Safe & Inclusive Bus Service’ has been launched

Abellio ScandinaviaISO QUALIFICATIONAbellio Scandinavia is making good progress in building the capabilities of our organisation in Scandinavia. Abellio has deve loped a Business Manage-ment System focusing on cus tomer experience, service quality and environmental impact. It uses a systematic approach that follows ISO standards. On winning our first public transport contract, we will be able to obtain ISO9001 and ISO14001 accre di tation within a year. The focus on quality and the environment is fully in line with Abellio’s strategic foun dations and the Swedish public authorities’ objective of improving passenger satisfaction scores, therefore encouraging more people to use public transport.


In July, Abellio Greater Anglia will start the franchise extension agreed with the Department for Transport. It means new MD Jamie Burles and his team will continue to run the franchise until October 2016 at least. This is great news and recognises all the hard work put in since Abellio began operating Greater Anglia in February 2012.

The agreement contains £20m to deliver a range of improve-ments for our cus tomers. They include investment in fleet, a ‘heavy clean’ programme for trains and stations, online compensation arrangements for season ticket holders and continuation of the ‘Inspire’ training.Delivering these positive initiatives will create a strong foundation to build on for the longer term franchise which Abellio is 100% com mitted to winning.

Qbuzz MAKING HISTORYSince mid-May, Qbuzz has been making history in the

centre of Utrecht. A new electric bus powered with an induction battery has made its debut in passenger service. The power system at Utrecht Central station charges the battery with 60 KW within just ten minutes. The electric bus has demon-strated the potential for Qbuzz to improve its service for passengers and residents with zero-emission, silent and sustainable public transport. The air monitoring system in the city has shown a decline in nitrogen oxides since Qbuzz began operating the Utrecht contract last December. New electric buses will contribute to a further reduction.


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which combines a morning in the classroom and a series of drives with an instructor in the afternoon. The drivers do an assessment drive, a coached drive and then a drive demonstrating what they have learned.

Best in classEvery three months, Abellio London & Surrey works with Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police to bring bus drivers and cyclists together so they can swap places. “The cyclists get to understand about the drivers’ blind spots and the drivers appreciate how vulnerable cyclists can feel when they are

next to such a large vehicle,” explains Lorna. Abellio has also been asked by the Royal

Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to take part in a trial where drivers attend a course spending half a day in the classroom and half a day as a cyclist. Abellio London & Surrey Operations Director Ben Wakerley says: “We are pleased to be asked to help trial this course. I think Abellio is recognised as best in class in our commitment to improving safety – as well as our commitment to cycling in general though the Bike & Go scheme. That makes us the perfect partner for these programmes.”

Northern Rail FRANCHISE EXTENSIONNorthern Rail marked the start of its franchise extension with its best ever perfor-mance in a four-week period. It saw 95.26% of Northern’s trains arrive on time.The franchise extension means Northern will continue to run services across the north of England until February 2016. Northern has committed to a range of benefits for passengers including improving ticket purchase facilities, extending availability of advance pur chase tickets and investing in better passenger informa-

tion. Shortly after the announcement of the franchise extension, the Department for Transport confirmed that Northern would begin operating electric trains between Liverpool and Manchester from December 2014.

Merseyrail SEEDS OF CHANGECorporate social responsibility is a well-established concept. It is almost expected of companies now, but activity varies considerably. At Mersey rail, we are genuinely committed to helping improve the local area and invest money and time to do so. Setting up a close partner -ship with a local school, helping ladies’ foot ball teams in the north of Liverpool, supporting over 40 station adoption schemes and raising £600k for local charities are just a few of the contributions we have made. We place great value on community initiatives like these. We want to make sure we give something back to the region, which has some of the highest areas of deprivation in the country.
















ISSUE 3 – JUNE 2014 11

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Ines HeuerWuppertal, Germanyway


Where are you from and how often do you use the S7?I am from Wuppertal and I take the S7 to work in Remscheid every day. Do you like travelling with Abellio?I love it. I am really surprised that the train is so comfortable. Trains like this put the fun back into train travel and make you feel like it is a shame when it is time to get off.

Do you like the design of the train?It is very nice. Kind of like the Intercity Express, really sleek.

What do you do to pass the time on the train?I usually whatsApp my friends or read the news on my smartphone.

If you could choose anyone, who would you like to travel with?

My boyfriend. He drives a lot, so I would like to convince him that it is nice to travel by train.

If you could change one thing about the train or the timetable what would that be?I would have more trains travelling to Düsseldorf. There are only two in the morning at the moment, but it would be nice to be able to go shopping in the afternoon by train.

Abellio Deutschland has been operating the S7 Wuppertal-

Solingen line for six months now, and has

certainly made an impression on passen-gers, not least through

the smooth introduc-tion of new trains.