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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 17:38 GMT
Watches to help trains be on time
GNER customer service assistant Michael Kenny
GNER customer service assistant Michael Kenny checks his new watch
East coast train operator GNER is distributing radio-controlled watches to 1,000 staff as part of a new drive to get more trains running on time.

The watches automatically adjust themselves once a day in response to a time signal from an atomic clock.

Even if the watch is only a fraction of a second out, it will correct itself to the precise time.

GNER's drivers, on-train crews and train dispatchers on stations are among those being issued with the watches.

The company has also produced a leaflet and DVD showing how all its staff can save precious minutes on GNER's long-distance journeys.

Old watches vary

GNER's performance delivery manager Ken Groundwater said: "Research showed that old watches used by train dispatchers could vary by up to 90 seconds.

"This is not acceptable if we are to run our railway with the precision of the Japanese or the Swiss. With the new watches, everyone from Inverness to King's Cross can be absolutely confident that we are all working to the same time.

"Making sure our trains run to time is vital to delivering customer service."


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