HomeLight RailEx-Abellio executive to become West Midlands Trains' MD

Ex-Abellio executive to become West Midlands Trains’ MD

Incoming train operating company West Midlands Trains (WMT) has appointed a new managing director.

On December 10, WMT will take over the West Midlands franchise from London Midland with Abellio UK’s former deputy managing director to become its managing director. He replaces Patrick Verwer, who announced his retirement from the helm after six years before the new franchise was awarded.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde said that it was an honour to take on the role in such an exciting time for the region.

WMT is expected to announce the rest of its executive team before the new franchise begins.

Most recently Jan has been Merseyrail’s managing director since 2015 and before that he spent three years as Abellio UK’s deputy managing director, where he spent a critical role in the successful bid for the ScotRail franchise.

In addition Jan has been operations director at South West Trains, commercial director at Southern and operations & retail director at Thameslink.

He first joined the sector in 1989 as a British Rail general management trainee.

Jan added: “Performance and customer satisfaction levels at Merseyrail were best in class during my time there, and I’m looking forward to delivering similar improvements at West Midlands Trains.”

Jan’s deputy at Merseyrail, Andy Heath, is to be promoted to managing director following Jan’s departure.

Andy has worked at Merseyrail for more than 20 years and said that the focus on his tenure will be on the delivery of new trains, modernising ticketing, and improving customer facilities at Merseyrail stations.

WMT – an Abellio, JR East and Mitsui partnership – was awarded the West Midlands franchise in August, 2017.

Read more: West Midlands franchise award a ‘step towards golden era for local trains’