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New head in place

ScotRail Alliance hires Arriva chief to replace Verster

ScotRail train WaverleyScotRail Alliance has moved swiftly to replace its departing managing director, Phil Verster.

Alex Hynes, who holds the same position at Arriva Rail North, will take over later in the year.

Mr Verster announced last week that he is taking over as managing director of the new East West rail project connecting Cambridge and Oxford.

His successor has nearly 20 years’ industry experience, and has been in his present role for the three and half years,

He delivered their best ever customer satisfaction scores as well as record levels of positive employee engagement. 

Speaking about his new role, he said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the ScotRail Alliance, this cutting-edge arrangement, which brings together the management of ScotRail and Network Rail to deliver the very best for customers.

“The ScotRail Alliance is delivering one of the largest programmes of investment, change and modernisation since the railway was built. To be part of that, and the plans to vastly improve services and capacity for customers, is hugely exciting for me.” 

Dominic Booth, managing director of ScotRail franchise holder Abellio UK said: “Alex has a proven track record delivering rail improvement and investment programmes, and is the ideal replacement.

“We are currently investing in a fleet of 70 new faster, longer and greener trains, which will transform the rail travel experience of our customers and we are delighted to have Alex in place to lead this work.”

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail said: “We are very pleased that Alex is joining Network Rail to lead the ScotRail Alliance. This is one of the most pressurised, high profile roles in the whole railway industry and we look forward to helping him succeed.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: “I congratulate Alex Hynes on his appointment and wish him well as he takes on this difficult role.

“The relationship between ScotRail and the SNP appears to be at breaking point, so Mr Hynes will have a lot of work to do repairing that in the interests of Scotland’s passengers.

“Passengers are fed up with delayed, overcrowded and cancelled trains. ScotRail’s performance simply isn’t good enough.  

“Last week it was revealed that ScotRail don’t even know how to pay for the SNP’s fare plan, which looks like it was drawn up on the back of a fag packet. Labour’s fare freeze policy would benefit every ScotRail passenger – the SNP’s policy won’t.

“ScotRail has a new managing director, but ultimately it is down to [Transport Minister] Humza Yousaf to fix the mess the SNP has made of Scotland’s rail network. The clock is ticking.”

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