Awards, contracts & appointments

14.11.17

Merseyrail boss takes up top job at West Midlands Trains

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde has been appointed new managing director of West Midlands Trains Ltd, taking up the job from the same role at Merseyrail.

The new operator, which will take over the West Midlands Rail franchise on 10 December, is a joint venture between JR East, Mitsui, and Abellio – which also runs Merseyrail.

Chaudhry-van der Velde spent three years as Abellio’s deputy managing director before taking up the role of managing director at the company’s Liverpool-based operator, which he has held since 2015.

In addition, he has also held a number of director-level roles across the UK rail industry, including as operations director at South West Trains, commercial director at Southern and operations & retail director at Thameslink.

“It’s a real honour to take on this role at such an exciting time for the West Midlands,” Chaudhry-van der Velde commented. “The near £1bn of investment going onto the network over the coming years will deliver significant improvements to our customers’ journeys.

“Performance and customer satisfaction levels at Merseyrail were best in class during my time there, and I am looking forward to delivering similar improvements at West Midlands Trains.”

Merseyrail’s new MD will be Chaudhry-van der Velde’s former deputy, Andy Heath, who first joined the franchise as a trains manager in 1998 and has been operations director since 2005.

Heath said: “I am extremely pleased to be taking on this new position, having worked at Merseyrail over the last two decades. During this time, we have delivered one of the best performing franchises in the country – an achievement that I will endeavour to maintain under my stewardship.

“My focus as managing director will be on three major projects: to deliver the new trains, modernise ticketing and improve customer facilities at our stations. This will not only drive Merseyrail’s success, but also support the ambitions of the Liverpool City Region.”

The new franchise was awarded in August, with the JV then granting a major £680m contract for 100 new trains to Bombardier and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).

Since the initial announcement, Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have also confirmed that they will be splitting the franchise into two, with services in the Birmingham area to stay as West Midlands Trains, while west coast services will be renamed London Northwestern.

The franchise was initially intended to change hands in October this year, but the DfT pushed the date back to December in order to grant more time for the government to make a decision.

Top image: Abellio

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Comments

Mmlred   14/11/2017 at 10:39

Obligatory reminder that the proposed livery in the picture shown is one of the worst ever conceived.

Andrew Gwilt   14/11/2017 at 11:42

He probably the right kind of man to take over as the new MD of West Midlands Trains when the new franchise starts in December.

Andrew JG   14/11/2017 at 14:52

What about the new trains that WM Trains have ordered when the new franchise starts on the 10th December. Could WMTrains Bombardier Aventra EMU’s might be classified as Class 70x or Class 71x. And the CAF Civity DMU’s could be classified as Class 18x or Class 19x.

GW   14/11/2017 at 16:26

Yet to come across anybody who likes the proposed new livery. Hopefully we can avoid the RMT disputes in the West Midlands by both parties acting like adults.

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