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Transport for Wales has confirmed the appointment of Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde as the next Managing Director of TfW Rail.
The new Managing Director has a number of challenges ahead, including completing the process of moving TfW Rail into full Welsh Government control and dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19, which has affected the timescales of several major projects including the electrification of the Core Valley Lines.
Industry sources report that the transfer of the business from KeolisAmey to Transport for Wales Rail Ltd on February 7 went smoothly, and it is understood that the intention is for TfW Rail to remain as a government-owned business on a permanent basis. 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’.
Some more changes to the rolling stock plan outlined when TfW awarded its 2018 Operations & Development Partner contract are being considered; one option is the acquisition of additional MkIV vehicles while they are still available, on top of the three sets that are already part of the fleet and due to enter service later in 2021.
Career in railAfter 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.’
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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