Posted on March 8, 2013 · Posted in General IRO news

The Institution of Railway Operators has brought out a new publication written by a range of operations professionals from across the country.

“The Operators’ Handbook”  has been written to help Operators at all levels develop and hone their skills in train operations management. It contains good practice guidance and tips for professional rail operators, primarily based on heavy rail train operations in Great Britain.  As such it covers the operational issues managed by Network Rail and Train & Freight Operating Companies.

This handbook provides an over-arching description of how to manage a wide range of operational issues.  However, it does not simply establish minimum competence levels – it describes what first class operational professionalism looks like and aims to push the boundaries of expertise within railway operations.

The advice in this Handbook will help you improve your knowledge of the ‘art’ of Operations so you can focus on the right issues.  This is crucial in the drive for continuous improvement in all aspects of train service delivery.

The book is available in hard copy and e book formats at £35 and £20 respectively.  Members enjoy discounted prices of £25 and £15 respectively which they can obtain when logged in through the IRO website.


The Practitioner’s Course

For those who wish to take their learning further, the book is supported by a Practitioner’s Course which is available to run as an in house and also as a public programme.

The course has been set up:

  • To communicate the key learning contained within the Operators Handbook  ‘the art of operations’.
  • To share delegate experience and  good practices
  • To develop an understanding of good operating principles and practice.

It looks at the complexities of train planning, use of data in performance planning, the roles and responsibilities of the players in times of disruption, safety issues, the value of investigation and reviews, issues arising from culture change in the organisation, organisational politics and setting efficient establishments.  Whilst the overall curriculum is established, the content is quite responsive and is changed regularly to reflect the feedback and interests of groups going through the programme.

The design and style of the programme is open and informal with a mix of inputs in the form of speakers, films etc  and group work in the form of scenarios, discussions and practical exercises.  It consists of three modules each of which is two days long although this can be varied to suit the precise needs of any organisation taking part.  Anyone interested in the course can email to  or call the office on 01785 248113.