Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Network Rail appoints first two route MDs

This from Network Rail...


Network Rail's devolved route structure went live today in Scotland and Wessex. David Simpson (Scotland) and Richard O’Brien (Wessex) have been confirmed as the new route managing directors following the completion of the assessment process and safety validation.

Work continues to help the next three routes (Wales, Kent/HS1 and London North Western) get ready for go-live by October 2011.

Also today Network Rail outlined a timetable for further intended changes linked to changing its route structures:

  • A new function will be created in June 2011. Called network operations, it will be led by Robin Gisby – currently director of operations and customer services. This will completely replace operations and customer services; all teams from that function will work in network operations
  • A new position of freight director will be created in network operations
  • In October 2011, at the same time as the next routes go live, the director, infrastructure maintenance and the balance of his team, join network operations
The remaining routes will all go live no later than March 2012

Commenting on the planned changes to both operations and maintenance, Mr Gisby said: “We have to make sure that we support the changes and opportunities that will emerge in our devolved routes with a centre that is able to match the pace of delivery they will demand. With maintenance and operations working so closely in our new route structure to meet our customer needs, it makes a lot of sense to do the same centrally.”

Note to editors

A route is a geographical operational unit. At the moment the country has nine of these (with a tenth one to be created in Wales) with a route director managing the day to day operation of the railway there

Network Rail's Wessex route matches the lines operated by South West Trains out of Waterloo covering parts of south west London, Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and Dorset

These changes will devolve more power, responsibility and accountability onto the new business units which include transferring responsibility from the centre to the new role of route managing director, including:
  • safety
  • all customer service matters
  • asset management outputs and spend
  • operations
  • planning and delivering maintenance
  • delivery of some renewals and enhancements.
The devolved businesses will be empowered to innovate within a framework which maintains the company’s focus on making the most of network benefits, minimising whole-life costs, and providing a seamless service for all customers and rail users.

- ENDS -

UPDATE: Additional biographical details for David Simpson, Route Director (and designate MD) for Scotland:

David Simpson was originally from Blantyre, Lanarkshire, grew up in South Dorset and currently lives in South Ayrshire

He studied a Bachelor of Science in Transport Planning and Operation and Aston University in Birmingham

He was accepted into British Rail’s graduate scheme in 1986, which led to operational management roles in South-East England, including in performance and freight, where he helped to maintain a high quality of delivery to the customer during privatisation

That led to work in Railtrack restructuring signallers

He then left Railtrack to work with two freight companies: Mainline Freight then EWS

He returned to Railtrack East Anglia in 1998, moving to commercial roles, eg Route Business Manager for West Anglia, in which role he was part of the new focus on meeting customer needs on a route-by-route basis

Following Network Rail’s creation, he went to the Midlands in 2002 as General Manager of West Coast Main Line (South). In this role he was heavily involved in route modernisation work and the introduction of Pendolino “tilt trains” to the line

In October 2005 he was appointed route director of Scotland, in which capacity he has significantly improved performance in Scotland through much closer work with maintenance teams and First Scotrail

Eye is awaiting biographical details on the Wessex designate MD Richard O'Brien.

UPDATE: Additional biographical details for Richard O'Brien route director (and MD designate) for Wessex:

Richard O'Brien MIRO is currently Network Rail Route Director for Wessex and has been appointed Network Rail's route managing director for Wessex.

Richard is a qualified Civil Engineer and has worked both here in the UK and in Africa.

He joined the UK rail industry over a decade ago, with previous roles including General Manager and Head of Planning and Industry Performance.

Good to see that NR has appointed a Member of the Institution of Railway Operators to this important role.

UPDATE: This from NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...

David Simpson would like to point out that he too is a member of the Institution of Railway Operators.

He puts the letters FIRO after his name.

Oooh. A Fellow of the IRO! Eye is impressed.