NETWORK Rail staff have started moving into their new multi-million pound headquarters in Central Milton Keynes this morning.
The first employees have been getting themselves settled in their new environment, three and a half years after the first plans were announced to move to the site of the old National Hockey Stadium.
Around 15 Network Rail offices nationwide have been closed as the rail firm relocates to Milton Keynes, with 3,000 members of staff expected to work in the state-of-the-art development.
Jerry England, Director of Signalling and Power at Network Rail said staff have been eager to move in to the awe-inspiring facility.
“Feedback from staff has been really positive. Everyone is itching to be here now,” he said. “My first thoughts when I walked through the front door was ‘wow’ just because of the sheer size of it. It’s different to other office buildings because it’s naturally ventilated because of the open space.
“The sight lines are fantastic, across the street and from building to building. It feels a lot more intimate than a normal office with huge banks of desks.
“We will save around £20m per year on office and accommodation costs, so we’ve slimmed down to three core buildings – this one, one in Manchester for HR and our head office in London.
“In terms of vacancies, we’ve hired about 400 of the 700 we need to. We’ve filled all the key vacancies to make the transition smooth, but we’re still looking for good people who’d like to come and work for us.”
Project Director Tim Coucher said: “We are incredibly excited. We’ve been working on this project for three and a half years and we are on the brink of letting in 3,000 people.
“The biggest difference with this building is that it’s so green. It’s naturally ventilated, not like a big glass box like other buildings. The building can monitor and adjust temperatures and open and close the windows.
“People working here will find it very different. For those who have moved up from London, they will be able to hear the outside world – the birds, the quiet hum of traffic. And people already love it.
“We chose Milton Keynes because it’s close to London. Around 60 per cent of the staff coming here will be coming from London. We looked at a lot of places. Milton Keynes offered a lot of facilities for the staff – the city life for those who want that aspect, and the quiet countryside is nearby.
“I have been working on the project for three years, looking at computer generated images of what it’s going to look like. When I walked in and began to see the building take shape, and see that it was absolutely spot on, it was a fantastic feeling. The most exciting thing is when you take employees around to give them a feel of the place before they move in, and watching their jaws drop.”