ScotRail MD moves to Oxford-Cambridge railway

Phil Verster

Network Rail and Abellio announced that ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster will be moving to become managing director of the planned East West rail project connecting Oxford and Cambridge.

Verster has been under pressure in recent months because of ScotRail’s failure to meet targets on punctuality and reliability.

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.”

Dominic Booth, managing director, Abellio UK said: “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.

“We are currently investing in a fleet of 70 new trains, which will transform the rail travel experience of our customers.”

Verster said: “Over the last two years I have worked with my 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.”

The East West rail project will scope out how the new rail programme should be structured and operate.

It was announced by UK 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.