Latest Rail News

27.11.19

FirstGroup and Trenitalia announce new MDs for partnership

The joint takeover of the West Coast Mainline between FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take place on the 8th of December. They announced yesterday (26 Nov) the appointment of their two Managing Directors.

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Virgin Trains since 2013, will now become Managing Director of the InterCity West Coast business, responsible for running passenger rail services between London, the Midlands, North West and North Wales. His role will entail supervision of a substantial programme of investment in new and refurbished trains, improved stations and additional services and capacity.

Mr. Whittingham joined Virgin Trains in 1999 as Group Management Account, after having worked in close proximity with the company whilst working as an accountant at KPMG from 1996. He was appointed Finance Director in 2007 before taking over Managing Director in 2013.

The current Bid Director at FirstGroup, Caroline Donaldson, will become the Managing Director of the West Coast Partnership Development that will provide a variety of design and development services to support the future operation of high-speed rail services between the North and London in close collaboration with HS2 Ltd and the Development for Transport.

As Bid Director, Caroline directed FirstGroup and Trenitalia’s successful joint bid for the partnership. She has been Bid Director for First Group since 2010, and formerly held numerous positions across the transport sector, including senior positions at Network Rail and London Underground. She is a Chartered Accountant, and holds a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management.

Managing Director of First Rail, Steve Montgomery, said following the announcements: “We look forward to operating the West Coast Partnership.  These appointments demonstrate our determination to deliver a range of improvements for InterCity West Coast passengers during the first phase of the partnership and help deliver the railway of tomorrow.  Our aim is to provide exceptional service as standard for our customers.

“Phil and Caroline bring great experience, insight and drive to deliver the significant improvements we’re committed to while also establishing the plans and initiatives which will form the bedrock of future high-speed rail services.”

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