A FORMER Royal Navy officer who now works for a York-based train operator has outlined the similarities between tracking enemy submarines from a frigate and tracking trains from a rail operations centre.

Helen Firth has recently joined LNER’s service delivery team after spending 13 years sailing the world, latterly as a petty officer.

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Helen said: “My specialism was tracking enemy submarines and keeping tabs on our own submarines.

“Like whales, every vessel makes a unique sound, and I was trained to detect those sounds and identify who was in the area.

“It was a fascinating job.”

Helen said when the time came to leave the Navy, a former colleague who’d joined the railway as a signaller sparked her interest in the industry.

She said: ““I spotted that LNER were looking to recruit a Customer Information Controller to work in the Rail Operations Centre.

“The role seemed a great fit for the skills I’d honed out at sea.

“Like tracking subs, to run services safely and on time, we need to know where our trains are at all times.

“When we experience unplanned events such severe weather or an engineering fault, quick reactions are needed to successfully reroute services and get our customers to where they need to be, and my role includes making sure information is shared quickly and accurately.”