Maria Machancoses

Maria Machancosos Director, Midlands Connect

Maria has been instrumental in the success and development of Midlands Connect since helping to set up the partnership in 2014. Maria has also worked as Director of the Midlands Engine and managed the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority’s input into the HS2 Hybrid Bill. Originally from Valencia in Spain, Maria has worked in the UK for more than 20 years.

Listen to Marias Keynote speach at TransCityRail Midlands >> 

Malcolm Holmes

Malcom Holmes Executive Director, West Midladnds Rail Executive & Director of Rail, Transport for West Midlands

Malcolm Holmes is Executive Director, West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), and Director of Rail, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), leading the development and delivery of local rail policy for the region. WMRE has worked collaboratively with the Department for Transport to specify and procure the new West Midlands franchise which started operation in December 2017. WMRE is a limited company owned by the local transport authorities of the West Midlands including TfWM, with the ultimate aim of creating a fully devolved rail franchise to support the economy of the region.

A career railwayman of over 25 years, Malcolm’s background is in rail customer service, train crew management and operations. Previously holding senior posts with Chiltern Railways and LOROL, Malcolm has been working on West Midlands rail devolution since 2012.  Malcolm lives in the West Midlands and enjoys travel, reading, fitness and playing the piano (badly).

Listen to Malcolm at TransCityRail Midlands >>

Toufic Machnouk

Toufic Machnouk, Route Programme Director, London North Easten & East Midlands

Toufic Machnouk is the Programme Director on Network Rails London North Eastern and East Midlands Route executive team responsible for digital railway transformation.
Having started his career in infrastructure management and operations, he went on to deliver major projects and industry programmes. He joined the Reading area redevelopment delivering the first new multi-traction train maintenance facility for the Great Western Railway. His team was recognised for breakthroughs in safety performance, collaboration, and successfully realising a complex cross-industry change, receiving national awards.

He was more recently on the Crossrail project, the largest infrastructure project in Europe, responsible for upgrading the networks train control systems, and oversaw major operational infrastructure upgrades in the Greater London area.

He is passionate about technology, skills and talent development, lecturing at universities and colleges, and mentoring people from across the industry. He has completed the accelerated business leaders programme and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering Design.

Listen to Toufic at TransCityRail Midlands >>

Jane Fisher

Jane Fisher, Transition & Projects Director, West Midlands Trains

 Jane Fisher is the Transition & Projects Director for West Midlands Trains where she is responsible for the delivery of the programme of activities to improve the rail franchise to 2026.

This includes the introduction of 413 new diesel and electric vehicles, refurbishments to existing rolling stock and enhancements to stations and depots. She has held this role since 2017 managing a team of 60 staff. She was previously Mobilisation Director for the franchise ensuring a smooth handover of the franchise from London Midland.

She has worked for Abellio since 2012 managing the submission of seven franchise bids including the successful ScotRail and West Midlands franchises.

Listen to Jane at TransCityRail Midlands >>

Lorna Pimlott

Lorna Pimlott, Director of Sponsorship & Policy, Phase 2, HS2 Ltd

Lorna joined HS2 in April 2017 as the Director of Phase Two Sponsorship and is responsible for the sponsorship and policy advice across Phase 2a and Phase 2b.  She leads the interfaces with DfT Sponsors and Senior Stakeholder relationships, to ensure the delivery and safeguarding of the business cases and the optimisation and protection of their benefits.

An Architect by profession, Lorna has over 20 years’ experience in both the public and private sector and has sat at all sides of the table in major infrastructure schemes.  Lorna joins HS2 from a specialist transformation consultancy where she was leader of the transport sector, most recently leading engagements with Manchester, Birmingham and Heathrow Airports. Previous to that role she was the Short-Haul Programmes Director for British Airways and also spent six years at Ernst & Young, where she led engagements on some of the largest and most complex programmes across the UK, including the London Olympics, Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Nuclear Decommissioning.

Listen to Lorna at TransCityRail Midlands >>

 Alejandro Moreno

Alejandro Moreno, Director, Midlands Metro Alliance

Alejandro Moreno was appointed as Midland Metro Alliance Director in September 2016, to lead the alliance team of planning, design and construction specialists to build five new tram extensions across the region over the coming decade on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with a budget of £1.35 billion.

Previously, Alejandro was the Managing Director for Scandinavia and Central Europe at Colas Rail and prior to that, the General Manager of Tranvia de Zaragoza – the public-private partnership responsible for the delivery of trams in Spain that was delivered safely, ahead of time and within budget.

His 16 years’ experience in rail and of delivering the catenary free sections of tram operations from 2009 is a particularly valuable asset, as the alliance looks to spearhead that technology in the United Kingdom

Listen to Alejandro at TransCityRail Midlands >>

Mark Thurston

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive Officer, HS2 Ltd

Mark joined High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd in March 2017 as CEO, with more than 30 years’ experience in engineering, project and programme management, and business operations in both the public and private sector. He has a successful track record across major client, consulting and delivery organisations, and was previously the European MD of CH2M. Mark has spent significant time in leadership roles on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects and investment programmes, including the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail.

Mark now has ultimate responsibility for the company delivering a new high speed railway that will connect the major cities of the UK. HS2 Ltd began operations in January 2009 and currently employs around 1,600 people, the majority based at its headquarters in Birmingham. The Project is a £56 billion investment over more than 20 years; the vision is for HS2 to be a catalyst for growth across Britain.

By becoming the backbone of the UK rail network, HS2 will open up regional markets, attract local investment and deliver a stronger, more balanced economy, better able to compete on the global stage. Mark believes that HS2 has the power to be a vehicle for social mobility, improving opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people across the country and leaving a lasting legacy of jobs and skills.

He started his own career as a technician apprentice on the London Underground.
Mark is a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management at University College London (UCL) and an Honorary Fellow of both the Association for Project Management and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Listen to Mark at TransCityRail Midlands >>

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Elaine Clark, Chief Executive, Rail Forum Midlands 

Elaine became Rail Forum General Manager at the beginning of 2016 having joined us from the National Skills Academy for Rail. She took up the new position of CEO in March 2019. A Chartered Engineer, Elaine spent a number of years in the chemical industry before joining the power sector immediately post privatisation. As a senior member of the Ratcliffe on Soar management team Elaine was involved in major change programmes followed by heading up Powergen’s  commercial training business. She then spent  20 years in training and skills including as Managing Director of a leading SME training provider growing the business from £1m to over £7m turnover. Elaine leads the RFM team and is responsible for our strategy, delivery of the rail sector deal initiatives and ensuring we are supporting our members across our range of activities.

Listen to Elaine at TransCityRail Midlands >>

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