Can the railways get back on track post-covid?


  • 05/10/2020
    18:00 - 19:00
Coronavirus has had a seismic impact on our transport networks. With a nationwide lockdown keeping people at home and a stalled drive to get people back to the office, passenger numbers on trains plummeted and recovery is slow. What does this mean for a rail network now reliant on state support? How can we get the industry back on its feet and are the challenges a blip or more long-term?

This event will be live streamed to the Think Tent YouTube Channel here

Syed Kamall (Chair) | Academic and Research Director, Institute of Economic Affairs

Professor Syed Kamall is Academic and Research Director at the IEA and Professor of International Relations and Politics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He formerly worked in IT and as a strategy, public affairs and diversity consultant. From May 2005 to June 2019, he was a Conservative MEP for London. In the European Parliament, he was leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists political group of MEPs from 19 countries, and worked to promote open trade, tech start-ups and better financial regulation. As the most senior elected British MEP, he acted as an interlocutor between UK and EU negotiators.

Mary Grant | CEO of Porterbrook

Mary Grant joined Porterbrook in 2017 and has over 22 years’ experience working in the UK and international transport sector. Previous roles include leading Eurostar’s New Fleet Introduction and Business Change Programme, Managing Director New Business Development at National Express, Divisional Managing Director, Bus and Rail at FirstGroup and Managing Director ScotRail. She has a proven track record of improving operational performance and delivering financial success as well as driving positive culture change within organisations. Mary is a Board member of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) and the National Skills Academy for Rail.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP | Minister of State for Transport

Chris Heaton-Harris was appointed as a Minister of State at the Department for Transport on 25 July 2019, with responsibility for EU Exit Planning, rail, cycling and walking policy.

He was Conservative MEP for the East Midlands Region of the UK from June 1999 – June 2009, holding various positions in the European Parliament including that of Chief Whip of the British Conservatives from 2001-2004. In 2010, he joined the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Daventry.

Chris Loder MP | Member of Parliament

Chris is the Conservative MP for West Dorset, elected in December 2019.

Aged 18 he began his railway career with a job as a train guard on the Waterloo to Exeter line, then as a manager for the Bournemouth to Weymouth line. In 2003, he moved from Sherborne to work with major rail operators in London, across the UK and then to Europe in 2010. Returning to the UK railway in 2012 where he became Head of Service Strategy for the railway in the South West. He progressed to lead a team of 300 running the UK’s best performing train company, creating more train services and better connections for Dorset, whilst delivering the multi-million-pound upgrade of London Waterloo station – the largest in Europe.

Mark Phillips | CEO of the Rail Safety and Standards Board

Mark was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2016. He is deputy chair of the British Transport Police Authority and a member of the Transport for London Board. He is a member of the Department for Transport’s Transport Research and Innovation Board.

After graduating with a B.A. (Hons) in Economics from the University of York, Mark joined British Rail, later joining the privatisation team. He worked for Railtrack as Head of Operational Planning and Engineering, for Network Rail as Regional Director Anglia, and Deputy Managing Director for London Eastern Railway (Anglia).

Mark is a Fellow of the Institute of Railway Operators and a Fellow of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.

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