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Peter Strachan appointed MD of new Caledonian Sleeper franchise

Serco has appointed Peter Strachan as managing director of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, which it takes over in April 2015.

Strachan joined Serco last year and has been working in Australia as director of operations and maintenance for its North West Rail Link joint venture in Sydney.

Prior to joining Serco, Aberdeen-born Strachan was the director-general of Major Projects for the Department for Transport, leading on the government’s major rail and road capital projects and for transport in London, including the London 2012 Olympics and chairing the Crossrail joint sponsor board.

Strachan quit at the DfT in the wake of the West Coast Main Line franchise fiasco where major flaws were discovered in the DfT’s handling of the bids, which led to an award to FirstGroup being scrapped and Virgin Trains continuing to run the franchise pending a new competition.

He has also had stints as MD at a number train operating companies, including Arriva Trains Wales and was route director for Network Rail London North Western. He has also served as a board member of Edinburgh city council’s now-defunct tram development firm, TIE.

Commenting on his appointment, Strachan said: “I am delighted to be taking up the role of managing director for the Caledonian Sleeper service.  As a Scot, it is a real privilege to have the opportunity to lead the transformation of our iconic Sleeper service.  I look forward to working with the team to deliver a guest experience that embodies the best Scotland has to offer.”

David Stretch, managing director for Serco’s transport business said: “Serco has a strong track record of providing high quality, customer focused rail services all over the world, as well as experience in managing large scale tourism-focused transport services.  Peter brings a wealth of executive leadership and experience to our transport business and I am confident that he will lead the team to a successful launch, and subsequent transformation of the prestigious Caledonian Sleeper service over the coming years.”

The franchise, which is worth up to £800m over the 15-year contract period, begins in April 2015. The franchise has been split from the main ScotRail franchise in the latest round of contract awards.

Strachan’s immediate tasks will include preventing further delays to the refurbishment of 50-year-old Class 73 diesel locomotives, which Serco has chosen to haul the Sleepers between Aberdeen, Fort William, Inverness and Edinburgh, where they will be switched to electric traction to and from London.

Serco managing director David Stretch has admitted they will not be ready for the start of the franchise, and existing Class 67 locomotives will continue to run in the “short term”.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Simon   31/10/2014 at 22:59

well this all looks very promising and hope the sleeper continues to be a success. mind you though seeing a 73 in Scotland will look a bit out of place

Kip Strong   25/04/2016 at 07:00

Nothing promiseing here, just more of the same. NO Delìvery disappointed, thats now assured.

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