The ability to introduce timetable changes smoothly is an essential aspect of all transportation planning. Fishbone were asked to conduct a comprehensive review of the May 2018 National Timetable change, understand why it had gone wrong, and to put a strategy in place to ensure that Northern Programmes could successfully introduce the December 2018 timetable change without any major issues.


Client: Network Rail

Location: UK

Services: Solutions

Fishbone has delivered several projects for Network Rail centred around major configuration change points and continued operational readiness. Network Rail Northern Programmes contracted Fishbone to identify the reasons why the May 2018 timetable introduction had failed and put a plan in place to confirm and evidence the successful introduction of the December 2018 timetable with no major issues.

Fishbone led a review process which initiated a series of informal and confidential conversations with stakeholders to create a level of trusted relationships necessary to ascertain the root causes of the May 2018 timetable issues.

Fishbone created a set of fully interactive, evidenced, detailed and comprehensive questions to map the performance of a timetable change. This process, when applied to the May 2018 timetable change, highlighted where and why the change had been so problematic. The same questions and processes were then applied and trialled with stakeholders to ensure that the process was effective in assessing any upcoming Timetable change, and answer:
1. Are you ready?
2. Can you prove it?

Fishbone worked with the stakeholders to fully identify all the system components and dependencies required to create a logic linked Master Configuration and Event Programme. This was underpinned by the appropriate levels of assurance that included:

  • Validation and Verification Process
  • Risk Register and Mitigation Plan
  • Franchise Commitments register and summary of changes

The result of the activity and the creation of the Readiness Dashboard is that Fishbone was able to factually:

  • Identify key activities necessary to deliver a successful timetable change
  • Review outputs from all stakeholders
  • Identify the critical path for implementing successful timetable changes through a Logic Linked Programme
  • Identify incomplete activities
  • Analyse risks and impacts
  • Determine Mitigation Plan with accountable and responsible parties identified

As a direct result of the above, Northern Programmes delivered the Dec’18 Timetable change without any significant issues.

In the process of doing so, Fishbone enabled Northern Programmes to also regain the trust of stakeholders and make informed decisions that improved their ability to deliver future timetable changes with far greater certainty then they had ever been able to do before.

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Ed Johnson

Co-MD and Strategy Director View Profile

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