First’s managed transport operation

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The operation of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow involved the use of the then part-complete new Caledonia depot. FIRSTGROUP

If you’ve ever driven a coach or bus at or even observed the transport operations associated with a major sporting or music event, you may have marvelled at the ability to amass so many vehicles. Chances are however, you’ve probably given little thought to the months of planning which will have gone into delivering that spectacle out on the street. One of the organisations which has been responsible for managing the transport needs of a host of events – from major sporting tournaments to rail infrastructure blockades – is First Travel Solutions Limited (FTS).

Formerly known as First Rail Support, the FirstGroup subsidiary was rebranded last year to better reflect its wide range of managed transport services – including airlines, rail companies, corporate travel, conferences, music festivals, sporting events and much more.

FTS’s Simonstone, Lancashire office is home to 50 staff, with another 10 out on the road. “We don’t hide behind a computer screen or telephone,” quipped Richard Kirk, the firm’s Commercial Director.

Recalling CBW’s last visit, Richard said: “Back in 2009, we were primarily a rail replacement business with a small amount of other work. While rail remains an important part of what we do, in terms of the product range of what we have, it’s just one part. It’s all those transferable skills we’ve learned through rail replacement we can use to deliver other things. We’ve delivered some high-profile sporting events such the Commonwealth Games and UEFA Champions League Final – to name but two.”[…]

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