New MD at Publicly-Owned TOC TfW Rail - Plus ca Change

LNW-GW Joint

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Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde has been appointed MD at TfW's in-house TOC, TfW Rail.
He has a long history in rail, stretching from BR through several private TOCs, the last one being WMT.
He also ran the Merseyrail concession for a spell recently.
Challenges ahead as Chaudhry-van der Velde becomes TfW Rail Managing Director | Rail Business UK | Railway Gazette International
After completing a physics degree at Birmingham University, Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde joined British Rail in 1989 on its general management training course, based in Norwich.
Throughout the 1990s he undertook a series of frontline supervisory and management roles, with responsibility for traincrew, station staff, signalling and control staff, revenue protection, shunting, cleaning and rail safety. In 2003 he became Operations & Retail Director at Thameslink, and then Commercial Director at Southern. In 2008, he was appointed as Operations Director at South West Trains. A period of time at owning group level with Abellio UK followed from 2012, where he sat on the board of Northern and was a senior member of the bid team for the ScotRail franchise. He became Managing Director of Merseyrail in 2015, before taking the same role at the West Midlands franchise in 2018.
Welcoming his appointment at the end of March, TfW Chief Executive James Price said that van der Velde ‘has an enormous amount of experience working in the UK rail industry, in both the public and private sector. We’re delighted to be able to bring someone with such a wealth of knowledge on board at such a crucial time for the organisation.’

So very much a rail professional and industry insider, which must be an asset at TfW.
But is it the appointment that the "nationalisers" expected?
I see it as continuing the operation of TfW as a commercial TOC, much as OLR is doing at LNER and Northern.
I don't see here a return to an integrated railway, though this may come.

There's this enigmatic sentence in the RG piece:
According to insiders the merging of functions to remove duplication between TfW and TfW Rail is now underway ‘as far as is permitted under current legislation’.

The linked piece also mentions the possibility of acquiring more Mk4 sets while they are available, the first time I have seen it mentioned in the press.
 
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Eccles1983

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Failure rewards failure it seems.

Look at the track record. Unceremoniously booted from the last 2 appointments.

I need to get into the md game. You can't lose apparently.
 

Roast Veg

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There's this enigmatic sentence in the RG piece:
Does this not refer to EU separation of track and train laws wrt franchising? I am aware that movements away from this in the UK have been strongly hinted at.
 

Watershed

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Does this not refer to EU separation of track and train laws wrt franchising? I am aware that movements away from this in the UK have been strongly hinted at.
Ah, this old chestnut. The relevant EU regulation does not require track and train to be legally or even operationally separate. They just need to be accounted for separately.
 

Bletchleyite

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Was he booted from Merseyrail Electrics? I thought he was quite well respected there and chose to leave? It's certainly not a failing TOC*, and hasn't been since the mess Arriva Trains Merseyside made of it.

* I know it has faults, but it by and large delivers.
 

AgentGemini

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"chose to leave"?

like he "chose" to "take a career break" after running West Midlands franchise into the ground? "chose to leave" after he nearly got Abellio stripped of the WMR franchise from two years of bad decisions, ground staff issues such, I wonder?

I can only speculate over the Merseyrail Electrics but his disaster with West Midlands should have barred hm from this.
 

185

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Failure rewards failure it seems.

He was a strange one, but I kind of felt sorry for him when he was sacked - given the HR director underneath him (Adrian Thompson, Milkman of Doom*) had arrived from Northern Rail after capsizing that boat, and pretty much started to do the same at the new company until the parent company stepped in. Jan was one of the few TOC heads who would give a straight answer - no politicians answers, perhaps it was kind of like tourettes, he was incapable of not saying what he was thinking.

*for more on this, google <Adrian Thompson Dairy> and see his err.. 'impact' on Express/Arla Dairies in 2004-7, closing dairies in Newcastle, Preston, Uckfield, Ruislip and many more with 4000 jobs moved first to Denmark then to Eastern Europe - sort of a Chris Grayling but instead driving/crashing a milk-float.
 
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AgentGemini

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You mean the same Adrian Thompson who was HR at le gasp, West Midlands Trains?


  • West Midlands Trains

    West Midlands Trains​


    2 years 10 months

    • Strategy Advisor​


      Jan 2020 - Sep 20209 months

      Birmingham, United Kingdom

      Worked on an ER strategy project and plan for the company.

    • Human Resources Director​


      Dec 2017 - Jan 20202 years 2 months

      Birmingham, United Kingdom

      Led by majority shareholder Abellio, West Midlands Trains Ltd is a £600m train operator delivering passenger services between London and stations in the West Midlands and Liverpool under two distinct brand names, London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway. It is owned by a consortium of three companies - Abellio, JR East and Mitsui and employs 2,850 staff.
  • Abellio Group Graphic

    Bid Workstream Lead​


    Abellio Group


    Jan 2017 - Dec 20171 year

    Cardiff, United Kingdom

    Abellio is a £2b leading operator of rail and bus services in the UK. Bid Work Stream Lead for Leadership and Franchise Management aspects of the Wales and Borders re-franchise bid in partnership with Carillion and AECOM.

  • (stolen from LinkedIn)
 
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AgentGemini

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Yes, a cross reference seems that he was known quite well at WMT, unfavourably. Look how the WMT reign Dec 2017-Jan 2020 went...
 

Carlisle

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Was he booted from Merseyrail Electrics? I thought he was quite well respected there and chose to leave?
Yes, that was my impression too, his departure seemed to coincide with the beginning of the mayor attempting to micromanage everything, but I’ve no idea if there’s any connection
 
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jamesst

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Was he booted from Merseyrail Electrics? I thought he was quite well respected there and chose to leave? It's certainly not a failing TOC*, and hasn't been since the mess Arriva Trains Merseyside made of it.

* I know it has faults, but it by and large delivers.

He really wasn't well respected!
 

the sniper

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Failure rewards failure it seems.

Look at the track record. Unceremoniously booted from the last 2 appointments.

I need to get into the md game. You can't lose apparently.

You couldn't make it up. Going for third time lucky on DOO disputes, bringing his expertise to the Valleys soon...
 

Carlisle

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You couldn't make it up. Going for third time lucky on DOO disputes,
But they’re essentially just the outcomes of incompetence & indecision by background politicians & civil servants that the union was able to exploit, rather than fundamental mismanagement by the boss,
 
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Tomos y Tanc

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That was for the Keolis-Amey franchise, which is now history.
Maybe that's technically true but, absent an unlikely earthquake in next month's Senedd election, there's no way the Welsh Governement would reverse what was a very clear commitment made by the Government to the unions at the time the franchise was awarded.

https://www.railstaff.co.uk/2017/10/02/guards-retained-new-wales-borders-franchise/
The Welsh Government has agreed to have a ‘safety critical conductor (guard)’ on all services operated through the new Wales and Borders franchise to avoid the kind of driver-only operation (DOO) dispute that has led to industrial action on several other routes.
 
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craigybagel

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TfW have already ruled out DOO.

Maybe that's technically true but, absent an unlikely earthquake in next month's Senedd election, there's no way the Welsh Governement would reverse what was a very clear commitment made by the Government to the unions at the time the franchise was awarded.

https://www.railstaff.co.uk/2017/10/02/guards-retained-new-wales-borders-franchise/
It was notable though that the way the agreement was phrased didn't rule out the possibility of DOO on the Valleys Tram Trains.
 

AgentGemini

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WMR didn't rule out DOO initially. Had this ass and Abellio had their way 100%, WMR would have been drivers doing all the work and guards relegated to ticket inspector style roles where they would be non essential.

I would love to know what on earth convinced the WG to hire this guy to be TFW MD though. Did they not see his career of failure? Did they not see how he drove the former London Midland franchise into the ground?
 

tomuk

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I would love to know what on earth convinced the WG to hire this guy to be TFW MD though.
Well James Price and the WG aren't very competent so nothing is a surprise. The Cambrian/Shrewsbury-Birmingham has been a mess since the new franchise. Where are all the 158s?
 

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