Sustainability

We believe in operating in a responsible way, serving our passengers and to benefit the communities around our stations. We focus on making a real difference in three important areas of society: Young people, Homelessness and Mental Health & Healthcare.

GTR staff at station

Transforming lives and communities

As a business we have real power to make a huge impact in transforming lives and communities. We know many of our people and customers are incredibly passionate about their local area and how they can make them a better place to live and work.

We focus on making a real difference in three important areas of society: Young people, Homelessness and Mental Health & Healthcare. We do this by continuing to build close relationships with community groups and charity organisations, providing support and opportunities to address these issues.

GTR staff and customer

Sustainability

We’re committed to operating our train services with a focus on customers, society and our people. Our sustainability reports show what we’re doing and outline our plans for the future.

To keep the communities we serve up-to-date with our progress, we publish a sustainability report every year. Our reports cover a variety of topics such as society, customers, our people and finance. Highlights from the report include:

  • Currently the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail
  • Completed a five-year £2bn programme to transform passenger journeys with more than 1,500 new carriages, turning one of the UK’s oldest fleets into one of the most modern
  • 22 million more journeys made with GTR in 2018/19 compared to the previous year
  • Completed roll out of Class 700 trains on Thameslink and Great Northern mainline routes
  • 81% of GTR passengers are satisfied or very satisfied, a 6% increase on 2018
  • Southern’s passenger satisfaction at the highest level for seven years, with a 12% increase to 81%
  • Passenger satisfaction at 89% on Gatwick Express, the highest in seven years
  • Thameslink and Great Northern passenger satisfaction returned to pre-May timetable levels, with 83% and 77% respectively
  • Generated over £1.6m2 in social value over the past five years by helping young people into employment
  • 126 young people from The Prince’s Trust ‘Get into Railways’ programme employed across GTR. 14% of GTR London Bridge station staff recruited through the programme
  • Delivered the “One Step Ahead” customer service training programme to over 3,000 customer facing employees
  • 238 apprentices currently on programme with 40 engineering apprentices employed across our depots in 2019
  • 154 female drivers (including trainee drivers)
  • 18,000 children educated in railway safety
  • 95 station partnerships make local stations more welcoming and vibrant
  • Nine community lines supported Our parent company – Go-Ahead Group – also publishes an annual sustainability report. To read more about their approach to corporate responsibility, visit their performance and reports page.

Our parent company – Go-Ahead Group – also publishes an annual sustainability report. To read more about their approach to corporate responsibility, visit their performance and reports page.

Related resources
GTR Sustainability Report 2019 PDF • 481.4 KB

Young people

Thousands of young people rely on us every day to get to their school, activities and meet their friends, but there are countless others who don’t get the opportunities they deserve. We can have a huge impact on their lives by helping to put them on the right track.

GTR, in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, runs Get into Railways, a programme for young people from difficult backgrounds. 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of this special partnership and has generated £1.6 million of social benefit to UK society over the period 2014-2019.

The programme has so far helped 182 18-25 years old’s gain skills and work experience. With 164 of these young people completing the course since the start of the partnership in 2014, 77% have secured sustainable, permanent jobs in the GTR network which covers Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express.

The 18-25 year olds selected for the programme receive free four-week and two-day courses at a training centre on our network. Their time is split between the training centre and a two-week work placement at one of our stations. The programme focuses on practical skills development and the chance to build a strong CV. The Prince’s Trust helps young people become work- ready by developing their skills and confidence. Participants also get to experience a number of mock interviews with our staff.

The Social Impact Report marking the fifth anniversary of the programme, also announces that the programme, which takes an innovative and inclusive approach to training and employment, is set to be extended for two further years with a commitment to training at least 70 more young people.

For more information about the work that the Prince’s Trust does please visit the Prince’s Trust website.

In summer 2019 we were pleased to announce that we are working with three new charity partners, one for each of our sustainability focus areas:

Young People – For Jimmy

Our employees nominated and voted for this charities, and we can’t wait to work with them over the next two years.

Related resources
2019 Social Impact report PDF • 2.9 MB

Homelessness

We want to support as many organisations as possible across our network that support people impacted by homelessness.

The number of people sleeping on the streets in Britain has increased substantially in the past few years, but rough sleeping is just the most visible part of a much wider homelessness pandemic, with many people using foodbanks on a daily basis. We have a large role to play to support our communities, who provide support for people in need. What we can do to help is make the most of our network, used by thousands of people each day, to reach those who are willing to help. We pledge to support our local partners, including:

  • Foodbanks and kitchens
  • Homeless provisions and prevention services
  • Fundraising initiatives

Our teams have held food banks, donation drives, fundraising cake sales and helped out in the kitchen at local shelters.

In summer 2019 we were pleased to announce that we are working with three new charity partners, one for each of our sustainability focus areas:

Homelessness – Noah

Our employees nominated and voted for this charity, and we can’t wait to work with them over the next two years.

Mental health

We want to support and promote positive mental health for our customers, communities and colleagues.

Studies show that 1 in 4 people are impacted by mental health issues at some point in their lives.
As a business it is important that we can recognise the signs when someone is in trouble – to reach out and help our customers, communities and colleagues who may be dealing with mental health issues.

We also work closely with the Samaritans and host annual ‘Have a brew’ events, as well as promoting general health and wellbeing for our teams. We want to do more, such as:

  • Expanding our try-a-train programme that encourages people to feel confident travelling by train
  • Fundraising for organisations and charities that support positive mental health
  • Provide a platform for organisations to raise awareness of mental health and general health care causes

In summer 2019 we were pleased to announce that we are working with three new charity partners, one for each of our sustainability focus areas:

Mental Health – Mind

Our employees nominated and voted for this charity, and we can’t wait to work with them over the next two years.

Shaping communities

Communities across our network use the railway on a daily basis; getting to work, travelling to school, family days out or visiting a friend. Our network also brings people together in more way that one. Our stations also play an active role in uniting people in local communities.

Many of our stations host local organisations or volunteer groups; providing opportunities for people to come together to improve the station environment.

There’s a great variety of projects across our route, but all are designed to benefit the community, the station and our passengers. Examples include:

  • Improving the look of a station through a gardening project
  • Adding extra colour through community artwork
  • Introducing a book swap
  • Community rail partnerships
Community Rail Partnerships

Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) are not-for-profit organisations that connect the railway with the communities they serve. They were initially set up to encourage people to use their railways, especially during off-peak times.

Today, CRPs works closely with train operators across the country, developing stations and supporting local economies.

We’re proud to provide support and core funding for 8 Community Rail Partnerships across Great Northern, Southern, and Thameslink.

We support our teams in their own fundraising efforts for causes they are passionate about. Taking part in major marathons, cycle rides, charity football matches, bake-offs and skydives are just some of the ways we’ve raised money.

Discover our local initiatives of corporate social responsibility, to benefit communities across our network by visiting the official sites for our companies:

Environment

We are committed to delivering a more sustainable way to operate our railway. We are embracing initiatives to tackle energy and water consumption to manage resources more efficiently: driving down waste, reducing negative impacts on our neighbours and increasing positive impacts.

As a company, we are committed to taking environment and energy concerns into account in all our decisions. As we work towards minimising the environmental impact of our business, we’re guided by our Environment and Energy Policy:

  • Our commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed – our efforts continue to earn us recognition for the improvements we are making.
  • Recommendation for Certification to ISO14001, the international standard for environmental management
  • Recommendation for Certification to ISO 50001, the international standard for energy management
  • Environment Award for our groundbreaking ‘Towards a One Planet Railway’ Strategy at the Rail Industry Innovation Awards 2016
  • A member of our team was highly commended for an Outstanding Personal Contribution at the National Rail Awards 2016
Related resources
Environment Energy Policy PDF • 464.3 KB