The Grand Central Ambassador Scheme
The Grand Central Station Ambassador scheme has been based at Hartlepool station since its welcome introduction in 2010. There are twelve volunteers on the team and they work on a rota of two volunteers per week. Ambassadors man the station on Sundays in order to assist passengers who are due to catch southbound Grand Central trains to London King’s Cross.
The scheme exists because the station is unmanned on Sundays. It is an official scheme in the sense that it was established by, and is supported by, Grand Central. As will be understood, because the station is unmanned the station buildings are locked and, hence, Ambassadors are based on the platform during their hours of duty.
That being the case, it has occasionally been said that, because Ambassadors are actually on the platform, Grand Central passengers receive a more personal service on Sundays than they do during the week. Indeed, it may be observed that, because the station is also served by the local Northern service which runs from Nunthorpe to Middlesbrough to Newcastle to Hexham, Ambassadors sometimes feel as though they help Northern passengers to just the same extent as they help Grand Central passengers! This, of course, they are happy to do.
Meanwhile, so successful has the Hartlepool Station Ambassador scheme proved to be that, during 2012, Grand Central set up a similar scheme at Eaglescliffe station and in 2014 in the West Riding. That scheme is now well-established and, every sixteen weeks, two or three Grand Central Managers and some of the Eaglescliffe Ambassadors travel to Hartlepool in order to meet with the Hartlepool Ambassadors to hold mutually helpful debriefs and discussions, etc..
During autumn 2012, the Hartlepool Ambassadors team were finalists in the Passengers Matter category at the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) Community Rail Awards Gala Dinner held at
the STEAM Railway Museum at Swindon. The Hartlepool Ambassadors took second place in this national competition a fine achievement!