Keolis UK, the majority partner of Welsh rail operator KeolisAmey, has revealed how the international experience of its colleagues has been key to better understanding and tackling Covid-19 on Welsh trains.

By the time the UK had moved into lockdown in mid-March, Keolis’ operations in Australia, France and China in particular were already starting to gain important data on procedures and behaviours, piecing together what the pandemic meant for public transport, its passengers and its staff.

From cleaning regimes to travel patterns, mitigation measures to customer engagement, our teams shared their experiences and best practice to protect our passengers and employees. The result was a well thought-out, clean and effective service carrying key workers and other essential travellers safely to where they were needed.

It’s this knowledge, combined with a skilled team, that saw KeolisAmey Wales deliver a revised timetable in just a couple of weeks – an exercise that would typically take months of planning. This saw some 500 services a day successfully deployed for key workers and front-line staff.

This industry knowledge and expertise was combined with the very best data and practices from here in Wales – with KeolisAmey Wales (often referred to as TfW Rail Services) working closely with Transport for Wales and Welsh Government to ensure a joined up approach to keeping staff and passengers safe and well informed, while ensuring Wales kept moving.

Having international data at our finger tips early in the year allowed Keolis to act swiftly here in the UK, not least in procuring and introducing new anti-viral cleaning products and hand sanitisers, introducing new cleaning regimes across our services and in becoming the first operator to provide free travel to NHS workers when they needed it most.

The sharing of best practice now operates both ways. KeolisAmey Wales communicates learnings, ideas and plans with both UK and international colleagues on a regular basis, ensuring the business and wider industry are kept fully informed with all the latest developments. This allows them to make the best possible decisions based on the very latest global information and trends for passengers across Wales and the Borders. It’s incredible to think that decisions taken on the railways in Boston or Melbourne are as a direct result of conversations with the Keolis team, here in Wales.

The challenges posed by Covid-19 are many and far reaching. KeolisAmey Wales continues to leverage all its experience, expertise and international know-how to ensure the people of Wales have a safe and reliable rail service.