Driving Diversity: GTR Recruiting Now for New Drivers

  • More than 160 trainee driver roles available at Govia Thameslink Railway
  • Applications are open until 13th December
  • Roles available across central and south England

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has more than 160 train driver jobs up for grabs across its portfolio of brands including Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express.

Open to anyone above the age of 21, becoming a train driver is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to start their career, change paths, or simply pursue a childhood dream.

The operator’s 18-month trainee driver programme offers stability while training, with a starting salary of £31,000. The new recruits will join the company’s diverse team of drivers that deliver 3,600 journeys every day.

Successful candidates will be based at GTR’s depots across the 800-mile network in central, south and south east England. Locations include Barnham and Brighton, to London Bridge, Welwyn and Hornsey.

The push for new drivers builds on the success of previous recruitment campaigns, which most recently resulted in double the amount of applications from women for driver positions this year compared to 2019. The company hopes to continue to attract more women to the industry, as well as a diverse range of candidates from all ages and walks of life that may have never considered a career in rail before.

Zoey Hudson, Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “This year has been tougher than ever for the job market but but we’re continuing to invest in attracting and recruiting new and diverse talent into our business. It’s really important that we have a highly-skilled and diverse workforce, which is why we’re encouraging people of all backgrounds to seriously consider a role as a train driver.

“We want to challenge the stereotypes that are associated with careers in the railway and we mean it when we say that these roles are open to anyone. Whether you’re just starting out or are looking for a new challenge having lost your job due to the pandemic – consider the railway and apply to our trainee driver programme.”

Applications for trainee drivers are open now and will close at 23:59 on Sunday 13th December. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, initial interviews will be held virtually. Interested applicants should visit GTR’s career portal, which launched last year and has helped to streamline the hiring process as well as getting successful candidates into roles more quickly.

Southern spruces up south London stations

Proud Southern Railway station managers Nathaniel Owen and Steve Fleming are welcoming passengers to their newly spruced-up south London stations. Improvements at North Dulwich and Streatham are among the first to be completed in the train company’s network-wide, multimillion-pound programme that’s making every station a better place for passengers.

At North Dulwich, Nathaniel is showing off the freshly refurbished ticket hall, restored with “heritage” colours and period features that befit its protected Grade II listed status as a building of special historic interest. The ‘Moss Green’ woodwork and contrasting cream walls match the original paintwork applied to all Southern Railway station interiors in the 1920s, and the “period” feel continues with dado rails, wood-effect flooring and repainting of the Victorian fire surround.

Nathaniel said: “I’m delighted that so much care has been taken to look after this popular historic building for the local community, while making it look and work better for our passengers. People travelling towards central London will also benefit from a new platform shelter being installed very soon.”

North Dulwich, opened in 1868 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway company, was designed by Charles Barry Jr, the architect of the Great Eastern Hotel at Liverpool Street station as well as several notable Dulwich landmarks including Dulwich Park, New College and St Steven’s Church. He was the son of Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Palace of Westminster.

The three stations serving Streatham – Streatham Common, Streatham Hill and Streatham itself – are enjoying a host of enhancements, many suggested by local people including the Streatham Transport Action Transport Group (SATG).

Neil Salt, Chair of SATG, visited Streatham and Streatham Common, where station manager Steve Fleming showed him the transformation in progress.

Steve said: “We’ve brightened up the station by painting the dark platform walls along the tunnelled area, refurbishing the waiting room and WC, and the ramp up to the waiting room entrance. We’re also improving the platform lighting, and letting more light onto the footbridge by replacing the boarding on the windows with frosted laminate.”

Southern are installing new benches and refurbishing toilets at all three stations.

Neil said: “It is great to see this investment in improvements that will be to the benefit of all regular users of the stations, and that they are immediately apparent. In particular, the brightening-up from the repaint, alongside the LED lighting soon to be installed under the bridge at Streatham station, will no doubt help to raise morale amongst all passengers as life gradually returns to something like normality over the months ahead. On behalf of Streatham’s rail passengers, thank you Southern Railway.”

Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said; “While we’re keeping trains and stations clean and safe for travel, we’re also making every Southern station look and work better for our passengers and their local communities. Hundreds of improvements now under way are the results of local people telling us their priorities and getting actively involved, and I thank everyone for helping us to be a good neighbour.”

New partnership set to brighten up stations and help local people bloom

Govia Thameslink Railway has announced it will be working with community and environmental charity Groundwork East to spruce up 19 stations across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

The projects will improve how the stations look and feel, and their sustainability credentials. A selection of stations will enjoy new landscaping including ‘pollinator areas’ to attract and protect bees. Local people will get the chance to be involved in the planting fun, with special ‘Community Days’ planned for passengers and residents.

At three of the stations – Bayford, Welham Green and Welwyn North – landscaping schemes will be carried out through Groundwork’s award-winning ‘Green Team’ training programme. This gives volunteers who are currently unemployed the opportunity to gain work experience, new skills and City & Guilds qualifications in both horticulture and employability.

Children at selected local schools will also be offered an exciting opportunity to create new artwork representing their area. Many of their creations will be permanently displayed at stations in the new year.

Future partnerships with other Groundwork regional teams are in the pipeline to freshen up a further 56 stations across the GTR network, making a total of 75.

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, and James Newell, Groundwork East’s Executive Director, signed up to the partnership and launched the programme officially at Radlett station on Friday [20 November] by starting the planting of 100 crocus and daffodil bulbs.

Tom Moran said “We are delighted to be working with Groundwork to improve our stations and support our local communities. Our multimillion-pound station improvement programme includes landscaping or planting at 75 stations in total. Much of the work will be carried out by trainee landscapers recruited by Groundwork, who help support local people to develop their skills and ultimately find work.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our new landscaped areas in bloom next year as well as some of the fantastic new artwork we are commissioning to brighten up everyone’s journeys.”

James Newell said: “We’re delighted that GTR has engaged us to improve stations for their passengers. As a responsible business, GTR shares our mission to create stronger, healthier communities, and better prospects for local people.

“Our Green Team volunteers will transform spaces in and around stations while also receiving help with their employability. Local community groups will get involved in some landscaping work, including the creation of wildflower areas to support the nation’s bee population, which is under threat.”

Groundwork East start preparatory work this month, and passengers will see the artistic and horticultural results by early spring next year. The train operator is also discussing similar programmes to be carried out by Groundwork London and Groundwork South.

Lab tests see Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern trains test negative for Covid

Independent laboratory results show that Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern trains are testing negative for Covid-19 over three weeks after being treated with a long-lasting viruscide.

Operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) randomly selected carriages from all eight of its train fleets up to 23 days after carriages were treated with the long-lasting viruscide.

Swabs were then taken from areas in the train carriages frequently touched by passengers and staff – such as grab rails, tables, toilet handles, door buttons and the driver’s power-brake controllers which are in constant use.

The laboratory microbiological tests showed there was no presence of Covid-19on any of the surfaces tested.

Chief Operating Officer Steve White said: “We are carrying out a comprehensive testing regime of our trains to ensure that our customers can travel with confidence. Passengers can be reassured that the long-lasting viruscide we’re using, more than 100 extra cleaners and hospital-grade cleaning products are working. Please follow the government advice and wear a face covering.”

GTR, since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing to prove that its intensive cleaning regime is working, keeping microorganisms at bay.

The long-lasting viruscide is part of a series of measures to keep passengers safe, that include, across trains and stations:

  • 100 extra cleaning staff at work: 40,000 extra labour hours in three months to enhance the cleanliness of our stations, trains and staff areas.
  • All 2,700 carriages across Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express are sanitised overnight using specially-procured short-term anti-viral sprays, with a focus on touchpoints
  • New techniques – high-pressure dry steam and microfibre units are used for enhanced cleaning. Bleach fogging is used for decontamination where someone has been confirmed as having Covid-19

GTR continues to offer support and reassurance for passengers travelling during lockdown as identified in this press release.

Rail teams honour Unknown Warrior at Victoria 100 years on

Govia Thameslink Railway, Southeastern and Network Rail colleagues at Victoria last night came together for a two minute silence to mark the 100-year anniversary of the British Unknown Warrior’s journey to the station before his burial at Westminster Abbey.

In 1920, the body of the British Unknown Warrior arrived on platform 8 at London Victoria Station from Dover at 20:32 on the 10th November and lay there overnight before internment at Westminster Abbey on 11th November.

Exactly 100 years later, colleagues from GTR’s Southern, Southeastern and Network Rail held a two minute silence while ceremonially guarding Southern’s Poppy train, which arrived on platform 8 at 20:32, with wreaths laid to mark the railway team’s respect.

Initial plans for a public event to mark the centenary were scaled back in order to adhere to current lockdown rules.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said, “While we couldn’t hold the memorial that was planned, we wanted to honour the Unknown Warrior to mark this important anniversary; it is a powerful reminder of the railway’s role in the First World War and the terrible impact of conflict. Colleagues on duty were able to pay their respects, while also adhering to the current rules.”

Edward Winter, Station Manager for Southeastern at Victoria, said: “While this year’s commemorative events have to be low key, we’re very proud to be able to commemorate the Unknown Warrior’s journey from Dover to Victoria in this way. Passengers travelling on trains into and out of Victoria are also welcome take in the special exhibition on the Unknown Warrior over the coming week.”

Nicole Cohen-Wray, Stations Director for Network Rail’s Southern region said, “The Unknown Warrior represents the selfless sacrifice of so many, who fought and lost their life in the war so that we could be free. I’m sorry we have not been able to mark this special occasion in the way we initially hoped, but proud that the railway family was able to come together to pay our respects to the Unknown Warrior, 100 years later at Victoria station.”

At 20:32 on 10th November 1920 the unidentified British soldier arrived at Victoria station in a special railway carriage. His body lay at the station overnight before he was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey the next day – the ‘Unknown Warrior’ has in the years since become an important reminder of the sacrifice that comes with conflict.

To this day, the soldier’s tombstone is the only one in the Abbey on which it is forbidden to walk. The grave is capped with a black Belgian marble stone featuring an inscription by Herbert Edward Ryle, Dean of Westminster, and was engraved with brass from melted down wartime ammunition.

Southern operator, GTR, last year launched its commemorative train to remember railway workers’ wartime service. Train number 377101 was emblazoned with a poppy and entered service in November last year as part of Southern’s support for The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal. 

A pop-up exhibition commemorating the anniversary opened this week at the station, including a series of panels created with the National Army Museum, which tells the story of the Unknown Warrior. The exhibition will be open until 16 November. For more information, go to: https://gloo.to/6MB7

GTR offering support and reassurance for customers travelling in lockdown

During the country’s second national lockdown, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is reminding customers of its top safe travel tips and about the wealth of information available to help them plan their journeys.

This is especially important for the key workers travelling on GTR’s services each week – which serves more than 50 hospitals across the network – as well as schoolchildren, university and college students, and workers from other industries that are continuing to operate during lockdown. In order to support social distancing on-board, service levels will be retained during the four week lockdown period.

Additionally, customers have information at their fingertips to help plan their travel and feel reassured on their way to work or school, including:

  • The ‘How Busy is my Train’ webpages on Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern (linked below) which offer tips and advice on when specific stations and routes are usually the busiest, helping customers identify the easiest times to socially distance
  • Online journey planers on the National Rail Enquiries website now show information on services which get busy via the yellow ‘service status’ pop ups and busy trains appearing with a yellow warning triangle
  • ‘Passenger Connect’ which travellers can sign up to through the National Rail Enquiries website to receive personalised, real-time push notifications about their journey and how busy their service is
  • Dedicated Covid-19 advice and guidance pages providing easy tips to keep safe as your travel and to demonstrate all the work done to protect passengers and staff (linked below)

GTR has been using technology behind-the-scenes too by building new apps throughout the pandemic. These include a social distancing app which colleagues update the latest capacity information on-board or at their station and a location cleaning app that identifies when trains and key touchpoints were last cleaned with a viruscide.

Colleagues have also filmed a video charting their Top Ten safe travel tips, which range from using your elbow to open the door to avoiding eating or drinking on the train to help keep your mask fully in place.

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR said, “Throughout the first lockdown, our railway teams worked tirelessly to keep key workers moving and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all passengers. Now, in this second national lockdown, our enhancing cleaning regimes, social distancing measures , smart ticketing solutions and travel information are all in place and our teams stand ready to support everyone who needs to travel.”

GTR’S TOP TEN TIPS FOR TRAVELLING:

  1. Do not travel if you feel unwell or have any symptoms of Covid-19
  2. Please wear a face covering when you are travelling on the train and ensure you sanitise your hands before and after travelling
  3. Use contactless payment as much as you can or switch to the Key smartcard – this means that you can avoid going to the ticket office and/or machines as much as possible
  4. If you can, try and stagger your journey and avoid the morning and evening peaks
  5. We’re keeping our trains clean but every little action can help – how about using your elbow to open the door button to keep your hands clean
  6. Please try to avoid eating and drinking on board – you’re best to keep your face covering securely in place for your whole journey
  7. When taking the escalator, please stand on the right, do not walk down on the left and leave a few steps in between yourself and the person in front to allow for a gap
  8. Try boarding at the front or end of the train as there may be more space
  9. Please do your best to keep your distance from other travellers, let’s all help each other
  10. To help keep you and everyone around you safe, follow social distancing guidance at stations and advice from our friendly station staff

This Is Not a Man’s World: GTR doubles the number of female driver applicants in less than a year, and targets 50/50 splits across new training programmes in 2021

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the UK’s biggest rail operator which runs the Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services, has, through a series of dedicated recruitment and marketing campaigns, successfully managed to double the number of female train driver applicants from 413 in 2019, to 825 in 2020[i]. A remarkable feat for an industry usually seen as dark, dusty and better suited to men.

It’s no secret that a diverse talent pool makes a happy, motivated and successful workforce, as well as giving businesses the best opportunity to recruit the most skilled and capable people for the role; not based on gender, but on ability. And whilst historically the rail industry has struggled to attract female talent, the tide may be turning.

Speaking of the company’s progress, Zoey Hudson, Head of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at GTR said, “We’re very aware at GTR that to get the best from our staff and be best able to serve our passengers, a diverse and highly skilled workforce is absolutely vital. For this reason, we’ve invested heavily in a recruitment campaign packed full of programmes and initiatives, such as working with Mumsnet. Our campaigns are aimed at debunking the stereotypes associated with careers in the rail industry and humanising our brands while demonstrating the huge versatility of roles available. All with the intention of attracting a more diverse workforce to the industry.”

Zoey continues, “We’re truly delighted to have been able to double the number of female train driver applicants in a single year, and we look forward to continuing to be the driving force behind the rail industry’s mission to recruit more women and have a more diverse pool of talent.”

Whilst the progress made is encouraging, GTR recognises that the fight is far from over, and has once again committed to doubling the number of female train driver applicants, this time by 2021. Further commitments include improving diversity in teams across its entire talent pool, with the company setting itself the target of having a 50/50 gender split on all training programmes by the end of 2021.

To ensure this ethos is embraced across GTR, the company also introduced ‘Unconscious Bias’ training, designed specifically to help make the organisation a more diverse and inclusive place to work. Ian McLaren, CFO at GTR commented, “As the executive sponsor of our Unconscious Bias training programme, it is my responsibility to ensure GTR is the diverse and welcoming business that we strive for it to be. We all have biases, it’s how our brains process and categorise the world. But by making ourselves aware of our tendencies to favour people most like us in appearance, background, or world view, we can begin to overcome those biases to create a more agile and innovative blend of ideas and experiences at GTR.”

Paige Lunn (29), Lisa Gibbs (56) and Beau Hawkins (26) are all newly qualified train drivers, working across the GTR network. They applied for the role at different ages and all come from completely different backgrounds. To find out more about each of their individual stories, please click through below:

  • Paige used to work in retail but in her mid-twenties she decided she wanted a change. After seeing campaigns calling on women to become train drivers she thought…why not! Read more here.
  • Lisa initially applied to be a train driver when she was 21 years old. After her career took a different turn, she decided to revisit the idea over 30 years later and is loving every minute. Read more here.
  • 26-year-old Beau has been on the railway since she was 19. She’s worked in ticket offices, on the platform and now has the best seat in the house. Read more here.

E-tickets will help Southern Railway passengers socially distance

More passengers than ever before can now travel with e-tickets on Southern Railway, helping people socially distance, preventing the spread of Covid-19. 

Twelve extra stations along the south coast between Chichester and Eastbourne now have barcode readers installed on the ticket gates for passengers to scan e-tickets bought via the Southern OnTrack app or online at southernrailway.com and displayed on their smartphones or printed out at home. 

Another 29 stations will follow across the Govia Thameslink Railway network, including Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern over the coming months, in addition to the 15 major stations already fitted out with the technology (see editor’s notes for a full station list). 

Barcode e-ticket sales have increased in the UK from 25% of UK rail ticket revenues pre-Covid to 33% now as passengers realise the benefits of non-contact travel. E-tickets can help passengers travel with confidence and are ideal for advanced singles, peak and off-peak singles, and peak and off-peak day return tickets. 

Season ticket holders looking for similar Covid-safe benefits are urged to use the free Key smartcard which, by December, will also be available over the ticket office counters and not just by ordering it online, a process taking up to five days. 

Southern Managing Director Angie Doll said: “Customers can already travel safe in the knowledge that our trains and stations are kept clean with a long-lasting viruscide on all touch points. Now e-tickets and our Key smartcard make it even quicker and easier to book a ticket online, speeding up the journey through the station, minimising contact and helping everyone to socially distance.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Making public transport more modern and accessible is a top priority in all the work that we do. The roll-out of smartphone ticketing across the Southern network makes it quicker and faster for passengers to pass through stations, simplifying their journeys and delivering a more seamless experience.”

Govia Thameslink Railway is UK’s first rail operator to sign new homelessness charter

Homelessness in the UK is increasing year-on-year and has been heightened during the pandemic, with reports of rough sleepers up by 36%[1]. The issue is particularly prevalent on the railway, which is why the UK’s largest rail operator has signed a new charter to help safeguard vulnerable people and communities.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), is the first train operating company to put its name to the Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter, introduced by Network Rail. The charter is a first for the industry and forms part of a wide-reaching programme of collaborative efforts to support a route out of homelessness for every person sleeping rough around the rail network. It was signed by Chief Operating Officer Steve White, and witnessed by NOAH – a homeless organisation in Luton and a long-standing official charity partner for GTR.

Signing the new charter is another positive step from GTR, which is committed to helping the vulnerable communities it serves. Last year, GTR launched the ‘Great Sock Appeal’, which collected more than 4,000 pairs of socks for homeless shelters across its route. This year, in addition to signing the charter, GTR is rolling out e-learning to all colleagues to help them support homeless people.

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR said:: “Homelessness is a significant issue for society. As another winter approaches, I am proud to be signing the charter on behalf of Govia Thameslink Railway to support the ambition to break the cycle of homelessness and end rough sleeping for good. Our intention is to support the most vulnerable and collaborate with others to offer routes out of homelessness.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, added: “Every signature on the Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter moves us one step closer to our goal of ending rough sleeping in this Parliament. Everybody should have the safety, comfort and security of a home. For those sleeping rough in our railway stations, particularly as we approach winter, life can be cold, challenging and uncertain. It is hugely welcome that GTR has stepped forward to play their part in supporting the vulnerable people who sleep rough on our rail network.”

David Morris, Chief Executive of NOAH Enterprise, commented: “We have worked with GTR for a number of years and in this time have collaborated on various projects to help disadvantaged people in the local community. It’s great that the new training will educate staff about StreetLink, which is a key tool in helping someone begin their journey out of homelessness by connecting them with relevant services and outreach support. We applaud GTR for adopting the Charter at this early stage, and for committing to partner with NOAH’s new social enterprise Rainbow, through which more disadvantaged people will access jobs and training.”

Rachel Hopkins, MP for Luton, also commented: “I’m pleased to see GTR sign up to the Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter and commit to working to end homelessness. Equipping their staff with the skills to support those in need is vitally important. NOAH is an integral part of our community, and the commitment to the new Charter will enable them to continue working with GTR to help those who have nowhere else to turn.”

The Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter was announced by Network Rail on 7th October 2020. It focuses on educating staff and empowering them with the tools to support homeless individuals as well as homeless charities.

Southern station hubs offer support to mark World Mental Health Day

With ongoing uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to prioritise health and wellbeing. That’s why Southern, part of the UK’s largest rail operator, has teamed up with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to launch a pilot scheme featuring ‘drop-in’ mental health hubs, following World Mental Health Day this Saturday (10th October).

The new hubs, based at Brighton and Eastbourne stations, will be staffed by a range of psychologists and therapists from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who will be on hand to talk to passengers and the local community about any issues or concerns they have surrounding mental health. Southern’s team of Wellbeing Champions will also be available at each station for general advice and support, with the pilot marking the first partnership between Southern and an NHS trust to deliver localised mental health support collaboratively.

The mental health hubs will follow World Mental Health Day and be open to passengers and members of the local community on Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th October from 15:00 until 18:00.

Sam Allen, CEO of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Covid-19 has threatened our personal safety, disrupted our daily routines, uprooted our lives and shaken our world. The psychological impact on our local communities has been huge. It’s so important that we talk about our mental health with friends, family members or colleagues as this can be key in looking after our mental wellbeing.

“We’re delighted to be working with Southern on developing this unique mental health hub pilot scheme and promoting our #Ten4Ten campaign; it’s fantastic to see the organisation taking such an active role in supporting colleagues, customers and the local communities,” she added.

The NHS Trust’s #Ten4Ten campaign encourages people to look after their mental health by following 10 easy steps:

  1. Remember it is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis
  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle as far as you can, including diet, sleep and exercise
  3. Don’t smoke, drink or use drugs to deal with your emotions
  4. Limit worry by watching or listening to media coverage less
  5. Keep connected to people by phone, email and social media
  6. Be kind to others and yourself
  7. Seek advice you can trust from the NHS and the Government
  8. Get the facts to help you determine the risk and help protect yourself
  9. Use skills you already have, and have used in the past to deal with stress
  10. Structure your day with things you can realistically achieve

Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “The railway is playing a vital role in keeping the country moving throughout this terrible pandemic. Our colleagues have been working tirelessly so our passengers can use our trains with the confidence that they are Covid-19 safe and secure. We know this will be taking its toll on both their physical and mental health, so we have Wellbeing Champions across our network to support the wellbeing of all our staff. In honour of World Mental Health Day, we are now extending this support to passengers, thanks to our new and first-time partnership with an NHS Trust.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:“The pandemic has put extra strain on people’s mental wellbeing, and it’s more important than ever that we all think of others and put in place real support. This is a great initiative by Southern, encouraging people to talk and helping passengers open up about their mental health issues.”

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne, also commented: “Reaching out to the rail passenger community to offer support, help and advice on mental health issues in this way is a great thing to do and I would like to thank Southern and Sussex Partnership for joining together to make it happen, especially at such a difficult time.

“Mental health issues affect many, many people and some of those people are sometimes reluctant to seek help. Having a pop-up hub like this at Eastbourne station is really sending out a powerful message that it’s OK to talk about mental health and there is help and support available.”

In addition to various confidential health and wellbeing resources, Southern – which is part of Govia Thameslink Railway – also offers employees Trauma Risk Management support, occupational health care and access to the railway chaplains network; an independent charity providing year-round support to railway staff who may be dealing with loneliness, stress, depression, bereavement or illness. The rail operator is encouraging all colleagues to support their teams through its internal communication channels with videos, access to resources and training opportunities.

The mental health hub pilot scheme follows the rail operator’s recent ‘Affirmation Art’ campaign, which offered passengers messages of hope on World Suicide Prevention Day and highlighted the year-round effort the company puts into this topic, with help from a dedicated Suicide Prevention Manager.

For those unable to visit the ‘drop in’ mental health hubs next week, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is also sharing easy steps for looking after mental health on its website as part of the #Ten4Ten campaign