Thursday, 20 October 2011

Holt to leave Directly Operated Railways

This from Rail Barbie...

I wanted to write and let you know personally that I will be stepping down from my position as both Chairman of Directly Operated Railways (DOR) and East Coast Main Line Company (East Coast), at the expiry of my contract term at the end of the year. I shall be taking up a new senior industry role at the beginning of January 2012.

I’ve immensely enjoyed being at the helm of East Coast, it’s a really good business and I’m genuinely sorry to be leaving. We’ve achieved a huge amount in the last two years and we’re just starting to see the benefits of the Company ‘turnaround’. The business still has a number of challenges to overcome – but I’m absolutely convinced we made the right base choices and have established a strong new foundation for our successes to be sustainable. The franchise extension until the end of 2013 will see this task largely completed – with Britain’s flagship train company in much better shape than when we started. I couldn’t have achieved this level of progress without the very strong support from the staff of East Coast, the board, and in particular Karen Boswell, East Coast’s Managing Director.

And so, I’m genuinely regretful of the fact that I won’t now be around to ‘finish the job’. The introduction of a major new timetable and the launch of a new complimentary catering offer in First Class in May 2011, have both been strategically significant and delivered positive results. Passenger numbers have increased by 3 per cent in the last year (2010/11), and East Coast is now one of the best financial performers in the rail industry.

I want to personally thank all our customers and stakeholders for travelling with us, but particularly for your engagement over the last couple of years. I can assure you that your feedback has been pivotal in helping us to drive our determination to, ‘get it right’. I know Karen and her team are passionate about carrying on the good work – and will welcome a continuance of the dialogue in the future.

Following my departure, Michael Holden will become Chairman of East Coast and Doug Sutherland Non Executive Chairman of Directly Operated Railways. Michael and Doug will fulfil these roles on an interim basis until discussions with the Department for Transport on filling these roles permanently are concluded.

- ENDS -

Concern over Greater Anglia announcement

So congratulations to Abellio for winning the Greater Anglia franchise.

Meanwhile Eye understands that there is growing concern within the Department about how the news reached the market.

Sid Spiv, Director of Leaks at the DfT, said "My team has worked extremely hard to ensure that the winner of this franchise was well known before we had to go through all that boring, old, official announcement stuff. Even the Guardian had it two weeks ago for God's sake. Therefore, I find it completely unacceptable that scarce government resources were wasted on making a formal announcement this morning. Mark my words, heads will not roll for this."

A clearly angry Mr Spiv ended by saying "Did I mention that Virgin will get their franchise extension?"