Abellio and Network Rail have announced plans to enter into an alliance and revealed Phil Verster as the train operator’s new managing director


Pictured: Phil Verster


ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery is to leave the train operator in May, just a week after Abellio announced he would remain in the post as part of its new ScotRail franchise.

It follows the announcement the Dutch-owned group and Network Rail that they plan to enter into an alliance, a move that the two partners say will offer “major opportunities”.

Both parties have announced the appointment of Phil Verster as managing director of the planned alliance, which will be modelled on the successful South West Trains/Network Rail alliance on the Wessex Route out of London Waterloo.

Further appointments will be announced in due course.

Prior to joining Network Rail in 2012 as route managing director of the London North East region, Verster was deputy chief executive officer at Irish Rail and before that he was engineering director at South West Trains.

He will work closely with Abellio’s mobilisation and transition team, the ScotRail leadership team and Network Rail to plan and organise the alliance transition arrangements, as well as facilitating an orderly and effective hand over from Montgomery who has agreed to lead the new ScotRail franchise during the initial period of operations.

Verster has been released from his current Network Rail commitments and he will work alongside Montgomery to ensure a smooth transition and as a clear indication of the determination of both companies to set in place the formal alliance structure at the earliest opportunity.

“The alliance between Abellio ScotRail and Network Rail gives us a unique opportunity to establish new ways of working and to improve what we deliver for the travelling public and our communities,” said Verster.

“This is a very exciting time for the railway in Scotland and my approach is all about listening to our communities and focusing on what is important to our customers.”

Phil Hufton, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, said that Verster brings a wealth of experience to the planned alliance. “He has achieved great results during his time on the East Coast mainline and I look forward to him bringing that same positive approach to leading the railway in Scotland,” he added.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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