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Verster to leave ScotRail for East West Rail

Phil Verster will be leaving his current position as ScotRail’s managing director, which he has held since 2015, to become the MD of the East West Rail project in the spring.

The new East West Rail organisation, announced by the transport secretary Chris Grayling late last year, will oversee the construction and operation of the new Cambridge - Oxford railway line, making it the first fully privatised line in Britain since the mid-1990s.

Verster will help determine how the new East West Rail programme should operate and will report to the project’s chair Rob Brighouse, the former chair of Chiltern Rail.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Phil has done a great job setting up the ScotRail Alliance and overseeing the delivery of one of the largest programmes of rail modernisation in Scotland since Victorian times.

“I am delighted that a leader of Phil’s calibre will be heading up the new East West rail project, recently announced by the secretary of state. We have agreed a replacement to succeed Phil and will be making an announcement shortly.”

Verster’s two-year tenure at ScotRail has not been without controversy. The franchise has been the centre of much criticism from disgruntled commuters while it looks to handle Network Rail’s large infrastructure upgrade on the Scottish network.  

ScotRail’s dip in punctuality due to improvement work led Transport Scotland to demand the introduction a performance improvement plan last autumn.

Since the introduction of the performance improvement plan ScotRail has had an upturn in fortune, noting a third consecutive increase in its PPM earlier this month.

Dominic Booth, managing director of ScotRail’s operator Abellio UK, praised Verster: “Phil has played a key role in helping us create the ScotRail Alliance, the first time an operating company has come together in such a deep alliance with Network Rail to deliver the very best for our customers.”

Verster added that over the last two years he has have worked with his team to launch the ScotRail Alliance, “delivering hundreds of commitments and laying the ground for the exciting new train fleets that will start to arrive later this year”.

“The opportunity to build on these same principles with the creation of a new business such as East West Rail is great for me and my family, and I wish the ScotRail Alliance team all the best for the future,” he said.

(Image c. Network Rail)

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Nonsuchmike   20/01/2017 at 17:39

If Phil Verster can translate ideas and vision into practicalities on the ground as regards infrastructure for East/West Rail as he did for ScotRail and Scotland's railways for the future generally, then we may see some positive action on the Bletchley, Bedford and ?Sandy? junctions with mainlines. This is a line that should have been planned fifteen plus years ago and built ten tears ago, so no amount of "hurry up" can bring it about too soon.

Andrew Gwilt   20/01/2017 at 20:38

I definitely agree with Nonsuchmike.

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