Tom Keighley

Railway operations move to York

Network rail will move full control of the London North Eastern route from London to York on Monday.

A new route managing director and his team will take up responsibility for the hundreds of miles of railway.

The change will afford the team in York a greater decision-making authority, and is seen as a strategic manoeuvre to allow fast response to issues on one of Britain’s busiest rail routes.

It also forms a central part of Network Rail’s plans to deliver continued efficiency savings, with a target to cut the cost of running Britain’s railway by more than £5bn between 2009 and 2014.

As of Monday, the LNE route will operate as a separate business unit within Network Rail, with its own set of accounts, allowing for greater benchmarking of financial performance and efficiency between routes.

Phil Verster, previously deputy CEO and chief engineer at Irish Rail will take up the role of route managing director for LNE.

He said: “This is a significant change for the way we manage the railway.

“Instead of segregated teams reporting to various head office functions on operations, electrification, signaling, track and structures, we will now have local autonomy and a local focus.

“We are already running a record number of services, getting more passengers to their destinations and moving more freight than ever.

“However we need to do this more consistently and with greater responsiveness to train and freight operators.”

The changes follow the recommendations of the McNulty report, which said savings of up to £1bn a year could be made by continued closer working between Network Rail and the train companies.

Phil added: “I know the team on LNE already have strong relationships with our customers and I look forward to developing those and embedding partnership approaches at the heart of everything we do.”

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