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From ticket office to control room

When Kai Gohegan joined the rail industry, it was meant to be a stopgap. He arrived at Southern 13 years ago, working in the ticket office of stations on the East Grinstead and Uckfield lines. Now he’s responsible for planning the maintenance for the entire GTR fleet – some 500 trains.

Kai said it was a ‘massive surprise’ to hear his name being called out as the winner of the Depot Staff of the Year award at the 11th annual RailStaff Awards ceremony. The Depot Staff of the Year category was sponsored by security service provider Land Sheriffs.

‘To be honest it was just nice to come, have the pat on the back and even be included,’ said Kai, who is now based out of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) control centre at Three Bridges in Crawley.

Rail Tech Software

Kai’s nomination relates to a piece of web-based software – called Rail Tech Software (RTS) – that he developed which is now being used to plan fleet maintenance across the vast GTR network. Kai, who has no formal qualifications in computer software development, said he sat down one summer determined to come up with a better solution to the outdated paper-based system that was being used at the time.

Nominators described how much the system has improved the accuracy and speed at which important fleet data can be shared around the business. One wrote, ‘Not being one to rest on his laurels, Kai is continually tweaking these systems always looking to make them faster and simpler for users.

At the same time, he has also developed an app for phones and is currently preparing for the introduction of iPad use which will offer greater flexibility for our teams and further streamline current arrangements.’

The system only went live in January and there are already plans to develop new applications. Says Kai, ’I’m massively proud of what I’ve managed to achieve over the few years but more so because of the feedback I get; genuinely it makes people’s lives easier which is always a good thing.’

Modernisation programme

GTR chief executive Charles Horton said, ‘Kai has overhauled various different systems used to manage train maintenance, and developed a concept for a central system which has sped up processes across the depot.

‘We are excited for the years ahead – GTR is in the midst of a modernisation programme which will offer so much to so many, and the selection of our colleagues at the awards ceremony are very much part of and deserve to be proud of that.’

Highly commended: Scott Wild, CrossCountry Trains and S&C North Alliance Doncaster Depot.

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