Why pausing meant progress for the Transpennine Route Upgrade

Why pausing meant progress for the Transpennine Route Upgrade

The TRU programme has had a busy year, one full of change, but most importantly, it has been one of progress.

In the summer it was decided to re-evaluate and take stock of what is needed most, to make sure that TRU is completed as safely and efficiently as possible.

Neil Holm, managing director of TRU, explained why safety plays the most integral role to everything they are trying to achieve on the line.

He said: “As a programme, and the leader of the programme, if we can’t do it safely, we don’t do it at all. And this summer we had to pause the programme, so we could reset for safety. It is never a decision taken lightly.”

For a programme like TRU, which is of such huge scale, and cost which is going up, rather than down, it is a bold call to take. But for Neil, it is all about the long game, with the project due to be delivered in years rather than months. So, asking fundamental questions about safety now and changing the way people interact and think about safety meant it was necessary. The safe stop happened in the summer, as Neil explains.

“We paused for four weeks and reset all of our safety processes. From the start to the end of each one, identifying what could be done better or what wasn’t working. To do that, we listened to stakeholders, workers and everyone involved on-site.

And that was hugely important because take it personally, to make sure the workforce is safe and we complete this as safely as possible.”

But what was learnt? And what areas did the team identify during this time. Collaboration was one area where changes were made.

Neil comments, “We asked ourselves; We’re we doing enough? We wanted to enable environments where constructive criticism and appraisal can happen and that learnings are made at every step. So we have improved mentorship and opened better lines of communication with leadership.

That included with communication. As simple as it sounds, making sure people understood what they needed to do and when they needed to do it, can always be improved.”

The TRU is one of the key parts of North’s revival, and the partnerships that have been fostered are only improved by the partners involved.

At the end of the talk, Neil highlights this, adding; “There is no way we can do this alone. We have a huge team, and contribute as partners, that’s the key to our success. And we have a mountain to climb but we’re getting closer, and we will get to the top safely.



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