New job in England
ScotRail Alliance boss Verster heading south
Phil Verster, the managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, is leaving the under pressure network to take on a new rail project combining train operators and infrastructure.
He has been poached to head up development of the new east-west line between Cambridge and Oxford which will be the first ‘vertically-integrated’ rail service since privatisation.
Unlike the ScotRail Alliance, in which ScotRail and Network Rail work together but remain separate organisations, East West Rail will be more integrated.
Mr Verster told Daily Business last year that other parts of the network have been watching how the ScotRail Alliance has worked.
Despite reliability issues caused mainly by the biggest upgrade in a generation, the tie-up is generally seen to work as they can plan operations together.
ScotRail says its performance has improved, although critics say it is still performing below target.
It has emerged that Mr Verster was approached to become managing director of East West Rail towards the end of last year. He has described it as the “most exciting project in the UK today” and he will take up the post later this year.
His departure will surprise those who expected him to stay on at least until the introduction of new rolling stock and completion of the infrastructure work.
Mr Verster joined as the first head of the ScotRail Alliance in May 2015, a month after Dutch company Abellio took over the ScotRail franchise.
He previously ran the east coast main line for Network Rail.