Line Management Services


One of the partners, Arthur Kyle, was seconded from British Rail to oversee all train movements in the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. At the time he saw how much of the work was done by outside contractors, some of whom were poorly trained and knew little about railways. Arthur discussed the potential with Brian O Grady, and both saw the opportunity for a new business. At the same time, British Rail was about to be privatised and there would be a need for a reliable well trained work force that could react at short notice to fill the gaps left by the large redundancies that British Rail were making. Therefore, Arthur and Brian set up Line Management Services (LMS) and started a database of ex BR staff that had years of experience and no jobs. The major challenge was for a new company with little cash, no assists and no track record to be taken seriously by anyone let alone a major industry. To overcome this, the founders designed the firm’s letter head and business cards in a old fashion way that gave the impression of an old established business, and then phoned and wrote to every one they could find doing railway work asking for an appointment. The first question asked was regarding their problem areas, to which the response was positive and the founders then went back and found the men who could do the job and put in a tender for the work. As Brian suggested, the other big issue at start-up was finance. "The other major problem was that the banks were as much use as a chocolate fireguard and were only interested in how much our houses were worth. The first jobs were all small ones as the clients tried us out so we funded them ourselves, I managed to negotiate very good payment terms with our first clients and this slowly built up our reserves".

Success Factor

LMS’s success is down to supplying the right (fully qualified) personnel on time and in the right place. It also believes strongly in client relationships and constantly follows up any job with phonecalls and visits to ensure that the clioent is happy and to solve any other problems. If the clients are ‘friends’ with LMS, then the company is the first one they think of when they have more work. Finally, factoring invoices to ensure working capital and cash flow for expansion.

The Future

The main aim for LMS is to become the number one supplier of crane controllers in the UK and the best supplier of safety critical personnel. The firm also hopes to take its training and assessments in-house and offer this as a service to other companies.