60 seconds with Mark Henderson from Network Rail
Tell us a little bit about your job with Network Rail
My official title is Senior Communication Manager for Community Engagement, it is my job to devise and deliver community safety strategies across Scotland, this involves everything from engaging with local communities to promoting projects.
What has been your most interesting job and why?
During my time with the Scottish Prison Service, I was seconded to the Lockerbie Trial in Holland for four months as part of a small team located within the purpose built temporary prison.
Why do you think partnership working is important?
Partnership working allows you to draw on the skills, talent and strengths of other organisations; this can often lead to improved services, better engagement and improved access.
How have the various Network Rail grants benefited communities across Scotland?
The Network Rail grants have supported a wide range of local projects covering everything from victim support to mental health services. People can often dismiss small projects, but I have seen first-hand the amazing work that they do and the impact that they can have. People often think that small amounts of money can’t possibly have any impact, but I have seen how even with limited resources, projects, groups and organisations are doing brilliant things.
If you could only share one safety message about railways what would it be?
It is important that we all respect the railway and adhere to the safety measures in place with a view to ensuring that we are all afforded the right to a safe and pleasant journey. We work extremely hard as an industry to ensure our key messages are delivered to a wide audience as part of our community engagement strategy and the EGIP (Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme) project is a good example of this. We are installing overheads along the line of route which will provide faster, more frequent and greener journeys though will result in 25,000 volts of electricity running through the overhead cables which, in turn, increases the risk of misuse – it is therefore vital that we take the opportunity to educate our lineside neighbours whilst also promoting the benefits the project will bring.
How would you describe working alongside SCSN?
SCSN have really helped Network Rail to access the right people in organisations and local authorities across Scotland. Without their involvement it would have been much more difficulty for us to engage with communities and get real community buy-in.
What is your favourite train journey in Scotland?
We are very fortunate in Scotland to have so many beautiful journeys. The West Highland Line is breath-taking and the journey up the east coast takes in some stunning views, although the new Borders line is a really beautiful scenic route – too many to choose from!
To find out more about the community projects Network Rail has helped to support look out for our ‘Safer Communities and Lasting Legacies with Network Rail’ which will be released soon.