Following last week’s announcement that Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde has been appointed Managing Director of West Midlands Trains (WMT), his top team for the franchise can now be announced. They are:
- Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, Managing Director;
- Adrian Thompson, HR Director;
- Neil Bamford, Engineering Director;
- Andy Camp, Commercial Director;
- Lesley Heath, Head of Safety and Environment;
- David Lindsay, Finance Director;
- Mark Steward, Operations Director;
- Richard Brooks, West Midlands Customer Service Director;
- Andrew Conroy, West Coast Customer Service Director; and
- Jane Fisher, Transition and Projects Director.
Adrian Thompson has been appointed to the new role of HR Director. Adrian has undertaken a number of HR roles within Abellio over the last 18 months including interim cover for the HR Director vacancy in ScotRail. Prior to this he was the HR Director at Northern Rail.
Current London Midland (LM) Asset Maintenance Director, Neil Bamford, will become Engineering Director. Neil started his career with British Rail and was Head of Fleet at CrossCountry before joining LM. He will be instrumental in bringing the new trains onto the network on time and within budget as part of the £680m investment WMT is making in rolling stock.
Andy Camp will be the new Commercial Director after several years doing the same job at Greater Anglia. Andy joined Greater Anglia in 2012 following a successful career in commercial outside the rail industry. He will be a strong asset to the business in maximising commercial value, while providing the best possible travelling experience for passengers.
Lesley Heath will stay on as Head of Safety and Environment with the role being upgraded to an executive position. Lesley is an experienced safety professional, joining LM in 2015 and previously undertaking a number of safety roles in other TOCs including East Coast, GWR, Merseyrail and ScotRail.
Moving into the Finance Director role will be David Lindsay, who was the finance lead on the Abellio bid team for WMT. David has been with Abellio – one of WMT’s parent companies – for six years, originally joining as a finance manager and progressing to bid workstream leader. He now takes the step up into the WMT top team.
Mark Steward will become Operations Director for the new franchise having previously spent a short time as Passenger Services Director for London Midland. Mark has a wealth of operational experience having worked in the former Silverlink franchise as well as for other TOCs – most recently South West Trains, where he was Operations Director up until August.
The West Midlands and West Coast Customer Service Director positions are new to the franchise, created to reflect the two business units within WMT. Richard Brooks, the current LM Commercial Director, will take on the role of West Midlands Customer Service Director, covering the area in and around Birmingham, and will work closely with West Midlands Rail and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Doing Richard’s equivalent role for the West Coast part of the franchise will be Andrew Conroy. Andrew has worked on the WMT mobilisation team for the last three months having previously been Customer Service Director for East Midlands Trains. He will cover the West Coast Main Line from Euston all the way to Crewe and Liverpool, as well as several branch lines, all under the new London Northwestern brand.
Also coming in from within the WMT bid team is Jane Fisher. Jane has worked on the West Midlands bid for the last two years, being Deputy Director when the bid was put together and Mobilisation Director thereafter. She comes in as Transition and Projects Director which will allow her to build on the strong foundations created during mobilisation and ensure the franchise stays on track to achieve everything committed to in the new contract.
Incoming Managing Director of WMT, Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, said:
“This team provides an effective blend of Abellio experience, continuity from the existing successful London Midland team and some new talent, as we deliver nearly £1bn of investment into the network over the next eight years.
“The new franchise starts on 10th December 2017 and we are very much looking forward to getting started, delivering all the benefits we’ve committed to for passengers across the franchise, including over 100 new trains and £60m of station improvements.”
About the new West Midlands franchise
Abellio UK, JR East and Mitsui will be running the next West Midlands rail franchise from 10 December 2017 until 2025/6. Abellio has a 70.1% share of the company and JR East and Mitsui own the remaining 29.9% in a 50:50 split.
The new plans for the franchise include:
- Nearly £1bn invested into the network over the course of the franchise;
- £680m investment into new trains with 413 new carriages manufactured by Bombardier and CAF, creating space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services in Birmingham and London;
- £70m invested in new and existing depots to improve train reliability;
- Over £60m invested in station improvements delivering over 1,000 new car parking spaces and over 2,500 cycle parking spaces. This is alongside new and refurbished waiting rooms, more seats at stations and feasibility studies into developing new stations in the West Midlands;
- A greater choice of travel options for passengers thanks to the introduction of new Sunday services by 2021. This includes services from Birmingham to Shrewsbury and between Bedford and Bletchley;
- Greater provision of passenger information with audio visual displays on all trains by the end of 2019 as well as 800 new digital customer information screens across the network;
- Free Wi-Fi on all trains by the end of December 2019;
- The creation of over 900 new apprenticeships over the course of the franchise, with existing staff benefitting from a £13m investment in staff training and development; and
- An investment of £1.25m into community rail initiatives.