Rail franchises operators & contracts

05.12.16

Chris Burchell appointed as new RDG chairman

Chris Burchell, UK trains managing director at Arriva, has been appointed as chairman of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

His appointment was ratified by RDG directors at a meeting held on Tuesday 29 November, and he will commence his new role from 1 January 2017.

Burchell succeeds the RDG’s previous chairman Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, who has chaired the RDG Board for a standard three-year term since December 2013.

Burchell said of his appointment: “The RDG exists to enable train companies and Network Rail to succeed in transforming and delivering the modern, successful railway that Britain needs and wants, and I am proud to have been asked to lead its important work delivering that. I also want to pay tribute to three years of great leadership by Martin Griffiths.

“This is an important point for our railways and further reform is essential to meet the demands of customers and support the UK’s economy, and I’m looking forward to working with all our stakeholders to help shape this crucial agenda.”

Burchell commented that while railway passenger numbers have doubled over the last twenty years, growth has brought challenges as railways have become more crowded and customer expectations rise, particularly regarding better services and improved technology.

However, he added that the industry is responding through Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and offered assurances that the customer agenda will remain at the “front and centre” of modernisation.

Griffiths, the departing chairman, said: “It has been a huge privilege to be part of such a pivotal period in the development of Britain's railway and I wish Chris Burchell well in the next stage of that important journey.

“A massive amount of work is underway to transform the travel experience for our customers. But we will only complete the work we have started and deliver the railway our customers want by all partners working together.”

Burchell was also congratulated on his appointment by Mark Carne, RDG deputy chair and Network Rail CEO, who said: “The RDG is crucial to ensuring that the railway in Britain continues to modernise and improve for the ever-growing number of passengers and freight customers that use it.

“I’m proud of the work Martin and I have been able to deliver to help rail companies meet the needs of our customers. I congratulate Chris on his appointment and look forward to working alongside him to continue the important work Martin has led for the last three years.”

Burchell began his railway career as an area production manager at Railtrack, and worked as director of operations at Thames Trains after a period as business implementation manager at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Prior to taking up his current role at Arriva, Burchell served as managing director at Southern Railway between 2004 and 2014. He was also chair of the RDG’s cross-industry National Task Force between 2010 and 2016.

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Comments

JD   06/12/2016 at 12:19

I recall while working for Southern back in 2007 that Mr Burchell complained about how much he was having to pay train drivers as he didn't feel that they were worth the money, obviously that attitude hasn't done him much harm has it?

DPW   06/12/2016 at 12:30

Great to see this group being moved forward but the name suggest what? the carriages are being ordered or that new lines are brought on stream or new links being put in place or a new away of thinking of implementing the rail system for the 21st century on 19th the century infrastructure... Good luck to Chris. This government is at east intending to pump money in to the system an old antiquated system in the north.. the proof of the pudding is in the eating...

Tony   07/12/2016 at 10:53

Down in the south we're seeing very little of this "modernisation". Modernisation only seems to be on the agenda where it doesn't cost much money. An example are the new Class 700 trains used on the Thameslink line. Customers hate them. The seats are tiny and uncomfortable, there is no leg room, no wifi, no hooks for your jacket, no power points, no trays, no tables, the display boards inside rarely work and the trains often break down. They're completely unsuitable for long distance commuting. The RDG will be judged by their actions, not their words.

Jerry Alderson   07/12/2016 at 17:06

"Mr Burchell complained about how much he was having to pay train drivers as he didn't feel that they were worth the money." I think, the recent VTEC recruitment drive has shown that the public think that drivers are paid well. 15,000 people applied for 78 jobs. This is not the first time a TOC has been deluged with applications for drivers. (Doesn't mean that all were suitable, of course.) One might reasonably infer that the salaries being offered to fully trained drivers are beyond that needed to recruit and retain them. Someone's actual salary versus the estimated salary needed to recruit and retain is one method of defining if someone is worth their pay.

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