West Midlands train director sacked

davidknibb

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https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news...guered-manager-of-west-midlands-trains-16957/


REGIONAL railway company West Midlands Trains has replaced its director as it faces criticism over the performance of services.

The company has come under fire from passengers and politicians, since figures from the Office of Road and Rail showed over half the company’s trains were late in November 2019

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/under-fire-west-midlands-trains-17560772

West Midlands Trains (WMT) has replaced its managing director amid growing concern over the performance of its services, the company has announced.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde has been succeeded by Julian Edwards, who has been a director at the firm since 2017.
 
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HH

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Well Jan is an operator with years of experience in that role, e.g. at SWT. Julian is an accountant with no operating experience. So clearly a change for the better!
 

Horizon22

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Well Jan is an operator with years of experience in that role, e.g. at SWT. Julian is an accountant with no operating experience. So clearly a change for the better!
Must a MD have operating experience? I'd rather have someone who can manage and lead those with operational experience, rather than a fantastic operator but terrible at management. Ideally, a little operational knowledge helps but in a MD role it isn't vital.
 

bramling

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Must a MD have operating experience? I'd rather have someone who can manage and lead those with operational experience, rather than a fantastic operator but terrible at management. Ideally, a little operational knowledge helps but in a MD role it isn't vital.
I suspect the answer to that question depends upon whether that MD is prepared to assemble a team beneath him who have operational experience, and most importantly listen to that team.

Someone lacking operational experience who also wishes to micro-manage is doomed to failure IMO.
 

Horizon22

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I suspect the answer to that question depends upon whether that MD is prepared to assemble a team beneath him who have operational experience, and most importantly listen to that team.

Someone lacking operational experience who also wishes to micro-manage is doomed to failure IMO.
Indeed. It was implicit in my message that they would do that by being a decent manager / leader.
 

43096

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Equally importantly, Modern Railways states that the franchise has a new Operations Director.
 

Bald Rick

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HH

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Edwards was previously interim MD at East Midlands Railway until the end of 2019 when Will Rogers joined from London Overground. He has already been a Director of West Midlands from the start and also of ScotRail (lost by Abellio through abysmal performance) and Greater Anglia (in severe financial difficulties).

You might think that's not a great track record as either a Director or Head of Finance. You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.
 

100andthirty

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Loosely related to the topic: two of the best MD's London Underground ever had were an ex airline pilot and a lawyer from a freight operator. Just saying that prior operating experience isn't essential to being a good MD. The key attribute is willingness to listen, learn who to respect, empathy with the staff and get decisions made and implemented. ---------just saying-----------
 

Djgr

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Edwards was previously interim MD at East Midlands Railway until the end of 2019 when Will Rogers joined from London Overground. He has already been a Director of West Midlands from the start and also of ScotRail (lost by Abellio through abysmal performance) and Greater Anglia (in severe financial difficulties).

You might think that's not a great track record as either a Director or Head of Finance. You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.
Keep counting them beans!
 

Robertj21a

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Loosely related to the topic: two of the best MD's London Underground ever had were an ex airline pilot and a lawyer from a freight operator. Just saying that prior operating experience isn't essential to being a good MD. The key attribute is willingness to listen, learn who to respect, empathy with the staff and get decisions made and implemented. ---------just saying-----------
How very true. Unfortunately, often not understood by enough people.
 

43096

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Edwards was previously interim MD at East Midlands Railway until the end of 2019 when Will Rogers joined from London Overground. He has already been a Director of West Midlands from the start and also of ScotRail (lost by Abellio through abysmal performance) and Greater Anglia (in severe financial difficulties).

You might think that's not a great track record as either a Director or Head of Finance. You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.
Way too simplistic. Very easy to judge people from headlines.
 

hwl

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Loosely related to the topic: two of the best MD's London Underground ever had were an ex airline pilot and a lawyer from a freight operator. Just saying that prior operating experience isn't essential to being a good MD. The key attribute is willingness to listen, learn who to respect, empathy with the staff and get decisions made and implemented. ---------just saying-----------
Dennis and Tim?
 

Carlisle

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Knowing him, he probably did want a break. He’s been through a very difficult time (as have many of his customers of course), but there does come a time where you get burnt out.
Perhaps lack of support during the recent strikes was a significant factor as was suggested might’ve happened with Phil Verseter when running the Scotrail alliance
 
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RealTrains07

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What he says about 2 new train fleets this year?! Yeah 1 definitely but not 2.

The first 730 unit is no where near started yet from what I have read on the 730s thread?


Hopefully the company will improve under him. Shame really but I guess if someone had to go its usually the director.
 

Journeyman

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Both are spoken highly of. Unlike the decade just gone where LU seems to have had a new MD each week.
I worked in the Network Operations Centre when Tim O'Toole was in charge at LU. He was a regular visitor, very approachable, soaked up knowledge like a sponge and was incredibly on the ball - fantastic guy who achieved a great deal.
 

Robertj21a

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I worked in the Network Operations Centre when Tim O'Toole was in charge at LU. He was a regular visitor, very approachable, soaked up knowledge like a sponge and was incredibly on the ball - fantastic guy who achieved a great deal.
So I understand. Odd that he didn't transfer those same skills to First Bus when he tried to sort them out.
 

bb21

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So I understand. Odd that he didn't transfer those same skills to First Bus when he tried to sort them out.
People can be "fits" at certain organisations and their skillset simply didn't fit the problems requiring solving at others.
 

DarloRich

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Way too simplistic. Very easy to judge people from headlines.
Absolutely but people love to judge based on a headline, no context and their own bias.

The situation at LNWR/WMT is clearly very challenging and I think few of us know the constraints placed upon people from a corporate level. Don't get me wrong as a passenger the service has become dire but the reasons for this are complicated despite what posters here claim.
 

43096

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Absolutely but people love to judge based on a headline, no context and their own bias.

The situation at LNWR/WMT is clearly very challenging and I think few of us know the constraints placed upon people from a corporate level. Don't get me wrong as a passenger the service has become dire but the reasons for this are complicated despite what posters here claim.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it changes in the next few months. You’d hope there would be an improvement with a new MD and a new Ops Director in place.
 

DarloRich

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It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it changes in the next few months. You’d hope there would be an improvement with a new MD and a new Ops Director in place.
Agreed - but IF there is an improvement we wont know if it is new personalities/approaches or whether the corporate stance has changed.

As a passenger the service is really quite bad. While the reliability of the Marstoin Vale chugs has improved ( I remain to be convinced this is more than weather/luck!) the main line performance has tanked.
 

hwl

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Agreed - but IF there is an improvement we wont know if it is new personalities/approaches or whether the corporate stance has changed.
Or more likely whether binning their timetable plan and going with lots of elements from Govia bid plan one sorts things!
 

bramling

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Absolutely but people love to judge based on a headline, no context and their own bias.

The situation at LNWR/WMT is clearly very challenging and I think few of us know the constraints placed upon people from a corporate level. Don't get me wrong as a passenger the service has become dire but the reasons for this are complicated despite what posters here claim.
A common problem is senior management who don’t have the confidence or underpinning knowledge to be able to say “no” to something, and be able to back it up with a convincing explanation for why something won’t work.

I’ve certainly seen examples of meetings where a whole table full of people will collectively throw their weight behind something even though privately pretty much everyone has doubts, simply because no one wants to be the one who sticks their neck out and potentially be the fly in the ointment.

There certainly seems to be an issue with DFT accepting bids which sit somewhere between ambitious and unrealistic / undeliverable (GA, SWR, LNwR, Northern, TPX), or senior management out of touch with what their ground operation is capable of delivering (GTR).
 

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