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Author Topic: Management changes at GWR and FirstGroup  (Read 8508 times)
ray951
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« on: November 29, 2019, 03:26:54 pm »

Mark Hopwood has become the interim managing director for SWR» (South Western Railway - about), the previous incumbent Andy Mellors has left.
I don't know whether that means that he is longer MD for GWR (Great Western Railway).
Interesting timimg with respect to the strikes by the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) on SWR>
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 03:44:59 pm »

https://www.firstgroupplc.com/news-and-media/latest-news/2019/29-11-19.aspx

Quote
Andy Mellors is to take up the position of Managing Director, Non-Franchised Businesses within FirstGroup’s Rail division. As part of this role, he will oversee Hull Trains, Tram Operations Ltd, the Group’s East Coast open access rail company which begins operating in late 2021, and other businesses outside the rail franchising programme.

Andy is currently Managing Director at South Western Railway (SWR» (South Western Railway - about)) and will take up the role on 6 January. He will stay with SWR until that date. Mark Hopwood, currently Managing Director of Great Western Railway (GWR (Great Western Railway)), will become Interim Managing Director at SWR. Mark’s role will be covered during this time by Matthew Golton, GWR’s current Deputy Managing Director.

Probably worth splitting into a new topic by a mod not on a mobile phone!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 04:19:15 pm by Richard Fairhurst » Logged
Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 04:18:43 pm »

Done!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 04:28:45 pm »

https://www.firstgroupplc.com/news-and-media/latest-news/2019/29-11-19.aspx

Quote

29 Nov 2019

Andy Mellors is to take up the position of Managing Director, Non-Franchised Businesses within FirstGroup’s Rail division. As part of this role, he will oversee Hull Trains, Tram Operations Ltd, the Group’s East Coast open access rail company which begins operating in late 2021, and other businesses outside the rail franchising programme.

Andy is currently Managing Director at South Western Railway (SWR» (South Western Railway - about)) and will take up the role on 6 January. He will stay with SWR until that date. Mark Hopwood, currently Managing Director of Great Western Railway (GWR (Great Western Railway)), will become Interim Managing Director at SWR. Mark’s role will be covered during this time by Matthew Golton, GWR’s current Deputy Managing Director.

Commenting, Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director, said:

“We are looking ahead to delivering our plans for more capacity and better customer experiences at all of our rail companies, including the launch of our Avanti West Coast services from 8 December.

“With this in mind, we have created a new role to oversee our non-franchised businesses – as the industry evolves this area of our business is becoming ever more important.

“Andy Mellors brings with him a wealth of experience gained over many years in the industry and has worked hard to improve services for customers at SWR since the beginning of the franchise. I wish him well as he takes forward this new role within First Rail.”

SWR have a month-long strike starting on Monday - Andy moving on once it's over.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2019, 05:04:09 am »

Froma report on the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
[snip]

Analysis

Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent

Mark Hopwood, the boss at Great Western, is one of the most highly regarded industry leaders, who has successfully steered Thames Valley services through a decade of massive upheaval - rebuilding Reading station, botched electrification and whole fleets of new trains, yet somehow he kept the service running.

It's an interim appointment.

But here's a thought: Mr Hopwood did a deal with the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) at Great Western.

Most of its suburban trains run through the Thames Valley without a guard. On new trains, drivers operate the doors. All without a fuss, all without a strike.

What can he do at under-performing South Western?
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a-driver
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2019, 05:35:20 am »

Let’s just hope it is temporary and he does return to GWR (Great Western Railway).  Would be a huge loss if he didn’t.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2019, 06:45:58 am »

Let’s just hope it is temporary and he does return to GWR (Great Western Railway).  Would be a huge loss if he didn’t.

Indeed ... BUT .. bear in mind that he has a pretty darned good stand in in the form of Matthew Golton.

In past generations, the Exeter (via Salisbury) line from London was taken over by the Western folks from the Southern folks and then run down. Strangely, I have no such concerns with the GWR MD taking on responsibly for it - I wish him well on that line, with the main SWR» (South Western Railway - about) electric business, and in linking the Swindon - Westbury service which he has done so much to help us with to the Salisbury to Southampton and Romsey service of SWR, for the mutual benefit of both services and both franchises.
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Timmer
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2019, 08:00:32 am »

Of course in a few months time First may not be running the GW (Great Western) franchise, depending on how talks are going with Dft on the next direct award.

Is Mark’s move to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) a sign that this could be the case so that his ‘interim’ role becomes a permanent one at SWR should First not wish to continue running or not be awarded a continuation of the GW franchise?

Of course I’m totally speculating as I have no idea how talks are going.

Whatever the case may be, Mark has quite an ‘in tray’ to deal with at SWR. I feel a bit for Andy Mellors as the writing was on the wall before First/MTR took over the franchise from Stagecoach that there was trouble ahead in various forms and this has turned out to be the case culminating in a month long strike about to start.

You kind of get the impression this is a ‘make or break’ decision by the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) to hold such a long and costly period of industrial action.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2019, 09:43:52 am »

Of course in a few months time First may not be running the GW (Great Western) franchise, depending on how talks are going with Dft on the next direct award.

Is Mark’s move to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) a sign that this could be the case so that his ‘interim’ role becomes a permanent one at SWR should First not wish to continue running or not be awarded a continuation of the GW franchise?

Of course I’m totally speculating as I have no idea how talks are going.

Whatever the case may be, Mark has quite an ‘in tray’ to deal with at SWR. I feel a bit for Andy Mellors as the writing was on the wall before First/MTR took over the franchise from Stagecoach that there was trouble ahead in various forms and this has turned out to be the case culminating in a month long strike about to start.

You kind of get the impression this is a ‘make or break’ decision by the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) to hold such a long and costly period of industrial action.


It'll be interesting (and hopefully refreshing) to see some new ideas from the incoming chap (or chapess) at GWR (Great Western Railway), certainly there are huge deficiencies in customer service, maintaining adequate levels of staffing 7 days a week, reliability, communications etc - hopefully these won't be at the bottom of his or her's "in tray" when they arrive, as there's a fair bit left behind for them to deal with.

Wouldn't be too surprised to see "Mark" back at some stage, senior appointments in public/quasi public operations such as these are often on a merry go round basis.
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Gordon the Blue Engine
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2019, 10:28:04 am »

Froma report on the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
[snip]

Analysis

Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent

Mark Hopwood, the boss at Great Western, is one of the most highly regarded industry leaders, who has successfully steered Thames Valley services through a decade of massive upheaval - rebuilding Reading station, botched electrification and whole fleets of new trains, yet somehow he kept the service running.



It's an interim appointment.

But here's a thought: Mr Hopwood did a deal with the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) at Great Western.

Most of its suburban trains run through the Thames Valley without a guard. On new trains, drivers operate the doors. All without a fuss, all without a strike.

What can he do at under-performing South Western?

The DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) agreement for Thames Valley Turbos was done and successfully implemented around 1990, when the service was run by the Thames and Chiltern Division of Network Southeast, based in Reading. 

Whilst the current GWR (Great Western Railway) management team successfully rolled over this agreement to 387’s and 80x’s working what were previously Turbo services, I’m sure they would agree that credit for getting DOO accepted lies not with them or their immediate predecessors at Swindon, but with Richard Fearn, T & C Divisional Director in 1990, and John Reeves, then Operations Director.  Both highly respected railway managers who I had the privilege to work with (and in those days we NEVER cancelled trains for lack of traincrew, the resources we had were better managed).
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 10:55:33 am »

Originally the intention was for all IET (Intercity Express Train) services to have doors controlled by the drivers.  Eventually management backed down and, in terms of avoiding mass industrial action, that turned out to be a very sensible decision. 

Separate deals were then struck with LTV (London [and] Thames Valley) drivers who had the DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) agreements to operate certain IET services within the existing DOO area, though that hasn’t been fully implemented yet due to the ongoing bodyside camera issues.

Good news for GWR (Great Western Railway) passengers who didn’t have to face lots of strike days.
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To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
broadgage
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2019, 02:38:13 pm »

Let’s just hope it is temporary and he does return to GWR (Great Western Railway).  Would be a huge loss if he didn’t.

Agree.
Whilst I am not entirely in agreement with some of Mr. Hopwood's views, it must be said that firstly he has had the courage to join these fora and to answer questions, rather than to hide as has been the case with some managers. And secondly he does understand railways and have an interest therein unlike some managers at some TOCs (Train Operating Company) to whom it is "just another business" not fundamentally different from building houses, or running a supermarket.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2019, 03:31:17 pm »

Of course in a few months time First may not be running the GW (Great Western) franchise, depending on how talks are going with Dft on the next direct award.

Is Mark’s move to SWR» (South Western Railway - about) a sign that this could be the case so that his ‘interim’ role becomes a permanent one at SWR should First not wish to continue running or not be awarded a continuation of the GW franchise?

Of course I’m totally speculating as I have no idea how talks are going.

[snip]

First's bid for the next 2 or 4 years from 1st April 2020 went in in June, and we've now waited a full JASON (July, August, September, October, November) to hear any news.

At least one major party's manifesto includes "renationalise the railways" and should party(s) form the government from 13th December, or be a partner in one, they could take this cyclic opportunity to switch to direct operation. So what happens depends not only on negotiations, but also the political climate we'll find ourselves in by Christmas.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2019, 04:44:55 pm »

Let’s just hope it is temporary and he does return to GWR (Great Western Railway).  Would be a huge loss if he didn’t.

Agree.
Whilst I am not entirely in agreement with some of Mr. Hopwood's views, it must be said that firstly he has had the courage to join these fora and to answer questions, rather than to hide as has been the case with some managers. And secondly he does understand railways and have an interest therein unlike some managers at some TOCs (Train Operating Company) to whom it is "just another business" not fundamentally different from building houses, or running a supermarket.



Hold on a sec - we used to see those who had the "courage" to face their customers face to face at regular & well publicised "Meet the Manager" sessions at Paddington and elsewhere, without the benefit of 5 days notice to prepare answers to questions.

Not wishing to demean Graham's achievements in getting him to engage in online sessions, but let's not lower the bar too much when it comes to these matters!
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2019, 07:12:41 am »

Hold on a sec - we used to see those who had the "courage" to face their customers face to face at regular & well publicised "Meet the Manager" sessions at Paddington and elsewhere, without the benefit of 5 days notice to prepare answers to questions.

Not wishing to demean Graham's achievements in getting him to engage in online sessions, but let's not lower the bar too much when it comes to these matters!

To clarify - our achievements here were indirect.  Not mine or ours to take more than a proportion of the credit as the suggestion / desire to run them came in very high proportion from GWR (Great Western Railway).   The fact that we are somewhere they want to come is, of course, credit to everyone who posts here and our moderators.

I note there's a "meet the team" at Paddington on 5th December - http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=22274 , has been a series of customer panel meeting which (these days) are pretty much open to all.  And as we're in a new management, I recall an excellent meeting we (the Coffee Shop) held at Didcot to help us and our members prepare for out inputs to the franchise consultation a couple of years back. It was Matt Golton who gave up his Saturday for that.

Yes, we should maintain a desire and high bar pressing for further excellence, but also give credit where, at times, it's very very much due.
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