Wednesday 15 Nov 2017
Railway supervisory boards set up to improve performance and help win external investment
Transport expert and business leader Geoff Inskip has been appointed chair of two independent supervisory boards to oversee business performance and help attract external investors on the West Coast, West Midlands and Chiltern railway routes.
Geoff will chair the West Coast and West Midlands supervisory board. He will separately chair a board for the Chiltern route.
This step is part of ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity’* - a single rail industry plan to improve services for customers and bring lasting economic benefits to individuals and communities across the country.
The quarterly boards will provide Network Rail's London North Western route business with rigorous oversight and challenge. The boards will focus specifically on the interaction between track and train and on long-term strategy including helping win external funding to make the railway bigger, better and able to carry the increased volumes of customers forecast to use it in future.
Geoff's appointment was made jointly by Network Rail’s London North Western route business together with Virgin Trains, West Midlands franchise winners Abellio and Chiltern Railways.
Geoff said: "I am delighted to be appointed as chair of the West Coast team at this exciting time for Britain's railway. Working with rail industry partners and stakeholders, I'm looking forward to helping bring together 'track and train' in an integrated approach to driving improvements for passengers and business."
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route business, said: “I’m thrilled to have Geoff at the helm of our supervisory boards, which are a pivotal step towards our transformation into one truly customer-focused railway team. We and the train companies have invited Geoff to hold to us firmly to account as we seek to be better at connecting workers to jobs, businesses to markets and people to their families and friends.”
Phil Whittingham, managing director of Virgin Trains on the West Coast, said: “We’ve been running services on the West Coast for more than 20 years, and are always looking for better ways of doing things - whether that’s working together with Network Rail to improve punctuality, or spearheading digital ticketing for customers. We welcome Geoff to the supervisory board and look forward to working with him and the rest of the industry to bring even more benefits to customers, and the local communities the railway serves.”
Dave Penney, managing director of Chiltern Railways, said: “Our railways are fundamental to the nation’s prosperity and we welcome Geoff’s appointment and the creation of the supervisory boards. Chiltern Railways and Network Rail have a long history of investment providing tangible benefits for our communities. By working in partnership as one railway, we can continue to ensure delivery of a safe and reliable service while harnessing further investment and innovation to make improvements for the growing numbers of customers on the Chiltern route.”
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, managing director of West Midlands Trains, said: “The railway is a highly integrated system, and that system performs best when the all the players are working together effectively. The creation of these supervisory boards will help us pull in the same strategic direction and provide tangible benefits to our growing number of passengers.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.