George McInulty joins GTR
George McInultyHighly experienced London Underground director George McInulty has been appointed head of metro development by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), to strengthen the operational leadership team and oversee the introduction of GTR’s transformational high-intensity train service through inner London.

In a career spanning 30 years, George, was operations director for London Underground’s Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, improving reliability and leading complex modernisation programmes to enhance capacity.

More recently he worked for five years as programme director of renewals for London Underground where he oversaw track and signals renewals and station and power upgrades.

George said: “This is a key moment in the Thameslink Programme and a fantastic time to join the team. This transformational train service will fundamentally change the north-south train landscape and make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people in the South East.

Siemens restructures UK Rail Automation
Siemens Rail Automation is restructuring its UK operations, to meet the changing needs of its customers and more effectively develop new technologies and solutions for the industry.

Led by director of operations Rob Morris, the new structure sees Mark Ferrer appointed to the position of operations director digital railway. In this role, Mark will have responsibility for new technology, control systems and communication information systems, as well as for a newlycreated ‘mobility digitalisation’ unit. This team will bring together products and systems from across the Siemens organisation, developing solutions that will both enhance the operation of the railway and enable a fully integrated, information-led transport network to be created.

Also reporting to Rob will be Richard Cooper and Matt Kent, who take on the roles of operations director east and operations director west respectively. Both will retain their existing roles as delivery directors for Scotland and the Midlands, but will now have additional responsibilities for other delivery offices within the existing structure. Adrian Stubbs continues in his role as delivery director mass transit and international.
Mark Thurston
New HS2 chief executive announced
HS2 has confirmed that Mark Thurston is to pick up the reins and lead the organisation as its new chief executive. He will take up the post in the Spring, once he has transitioned his current leadership responsibilities at CH2M.

Mark has over 30 years’ experience in the rail industry, having started out as an apprentice with TfL, before moving to a series of roles with The Nichols Group, Metronet. In 2008 he moved to CH2M, working on the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail, where he was lead for the programme partner joint venture for three years. He is currently the regional managing director overseeing CH2M’s European operations, which includes those in the UK.

His appointment comes after a five month global search which reviewed some 20 potential candidates working on projects in America, Australia and Asia, as well as in the UK.

Wessex route COO to come from Saudi
Jason BridgesNetwork Rail has appointed Jason Bridges into a new key role of Chief Operating Officer for its Wessex route, which includes all services to and from Waterloo.

Jason’s responsibilities will include leading the development and delivery of train performance, maintaining the railway, reliability, productivity and efficiency initiatives.

Jason joins the Wessex Route from Saudi Arabia, where he is currently operations consultant for Network Rail Consulting in the Middle East. Before joining Network Rail, Jason worked in Australia as general manager for Sydney Trains.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “Jason brings with him a wealth of industry experience from around the world, which will be invaluable as we continue to work towards a safer and more reliable railway.

Jason will join the Wessex Route in May 2017.

Phil Verster to lead East West rail project
Network Rail and Abellio have announced that Phil Verster is to lead the new East West rail project as its managing director, moving from his current position as managing director of the ScotRail Phil VersterAlliance. He takes up the new post in the spring, reporting to its chair Rob Brighouse.

The project will scope out how the new East West rail programme should be structured and operate. The programme was announced by Secretary of State Chris Grayling in December 2016 as a new way of building, operating, maintaining and renewing a new line between Cambridge and Oxford.

Over the past two years Phil has overseen the launch of the ScotRail Alliance, and the delivery of one of the largest programmes of rail modernisation in Scotland since Victorian times. Prior to that he has been Network Rail’s managing director for London North East and deputy CEO at Irish Rail.

Head for Leeds’ new High Speed Rail Engineering Institute
Professor Peter Woodward, who is currently an industry sponsored Professor of high speed rail at Heriot-Watt University, is to take up the role of chair in high speed rail engineering at the University of Leeds.

He will be responsible for developing a new Institute for High Speed Rail Engineering at the University, using his expertise in geotechnical engineering to create a world leading research and innovation hub with an emphasis on traintrack interaction and infrastructure systems.

A distinguished researcher, Professor Woodward has played a key role in developing the polymer based track stabilisation system known as XiTRACK, which has increased track speed and reduced maintenance costs in a number of rail networks.

Professor Woodward will take up his post in the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds in June 2017.

He has a First Class Honours Degree in Civil Engineering and a PhD in Geo-dynamics both from the University of Manchester. He was seconded part-time to the railway industry between 2001 and 2010 as the technical director of his own spin-out company and in 2016 was appointed as an Honorary Professor at Central South University, China.