The Sleeper's Blog

11.03.19

Blog: Jane Fisher, Transitions and Projects Director on new trains, station enhancements and £1bn investment

Ahead of the upcoming TCR Midlands event 18-07-2019, we caught up with Jane Fisher, Transitions and Projects Director for West Midlands Trains. As Transitions and Projects Director, Jane explains her role and the key issues West Midlands Trains are addressing. She also explains why she’s attending TransCityRail Midlands 2019

What does your role as Transitions and Projects Director for West Midlands Trains involve?

I am managing the team that is delivering the portfolio of projects that are part of the contract for the new franchise. This includes new trains (413 new vehicles), depot and station enhancements, customer experience improvements and staff training. The total investment is nearly £1bn. I also have responsibility for the relationship with DfT and West Midlands Rail Executive as our clients and for the alliance with Network Rail as well as timetable changes and operator involvement in HS2.

What are the key issues you are addressing?

The key issues are managing expectations where these really big expensive projects don’t happen overnight. The introduction of our new timetable in May this year is a big change for the franchise and also for customers but comes at a time when the industry is nervous about timetable changes following recent issues in other parts of the country. The HS2 project is also starting to mean changes at Euston station that will affect a large proportion of our passengers without them receiving any benefit from the project. We need to protect their interests while supporting the project at the same time as it will deliver much needed additional capacity for the West Coast Main Line.

The Midlands is currently experiencing a rail revolution, are there particular projects you’re really excited about?

The new trains will be a step change in passenger experience when they arrive and will enable many more services into the region especially at weekends. Also, the station investments that are part of the project to prepare the region for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Why do you think it’s important for leaders from across the region to come together at TCR Midlands?

TCR Midlands will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the massive investment that is happening in our region right now and how we can collectively acknowledge that and identify ways to work smarter with each other to deliver the schemes.

Why have you got involved with TCR Midlands?

It is often easy to focus solely on the investment portfolio that we are delivering and not take time to sit back and consider how that portfolio fits into the bigger picture. This is a really good opportunity to do that while meeting other leaders from across the region that are working on similar schemes.

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