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Top team unveiled for new West Midlands rail franchise

Directors who will oversee £1bn worth of investment into region's rail network have been appointed

The new senior management team in charge of investing £1 billion into the West Midlands rail network has been unveiled.

West Midlands Trains, which takes over the franchise currently operated by London Midland on December 10, has made nine board level appointments to run the service.

The news follows last week's appointment of Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde as the first managing director of West Midlands Trains, the new joint venture led by Dutch group Abellio with minority partners East Japan Railway Company and Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co.

The West Midlands franchise has been operated by London Midland since 2007 and its routes include the Cross City line between Redditch and Lichfield via New Street station.

It also runs services out of London to the West Midlands and north from Birmingham to Stafford, Crewe and Liverpool.

The nine-year tender was awarded in August and came with a planned £1 billion investment into the franchise including £680 million on 107 new trains, £70 million on depots and £60 million on station improvements.

The new top team comprises HR director Adrian Thompson, who has performed a number of HR roles within Abellio over the last 18 months, and current London Midland asset maintenance director Neil Bamford who becomes engineering director.

Andy Camp will be the new commercial director after several years doing the same job at Greater Anglia and Lesley Heath will stay on as head of safety and environment with the role being upgraded to an executive position.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, new managing director of West Midlands Trains

Moving into the finance director role will be David Lindsay, who was the finance lead on the Abellio bid team for West Midlands Trains, while Mark Steward will become operations director for the new franchise, having previously spent a short time as passenger services director for London Midland.

The West Midlands and West Coast customer service director positions are new to the franchise and were created to reflect the two business units within West Midlands Trains.

Richard Brooks, London Midland's current commercial director, will take on the role of West Midlands customer service director, covering the area around Birmingham and working closely with West Midlands Rail and the combined authority.

Doing the equivalent role for the West Coast part of the franchise will be Andrew Conroy.

Also coming in from the West Midlands Trains bid team is Jane Fisher as transition and projects director.

Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde said: "This team provides an effective blend of Abellio experience, continuity from the existing successful London Midland team and some new talent, as we deliver nearly £1 billion of investment into the network over the next eight years.

"We are very much looking forward to getting started, delivering all the benefits we've committed to for passengers across the franchise, including over 100 new trains and £60 million of station improvements."

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