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Network Rail confirms appointment of David Davidson to run the railway in Kent and South East London

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Network Rail Southern region has appointed David Davidson to lead the operation of one of the busiest rail networks in the country.

David joins Kent route today (June 12), succeeding Fiona Taylor and Adrian Hanstock, who were the first in the company’s history to share the directorship.

David joins from Network Rail’s Western route where he has been interim route director since October 2022, overseeing efforts to improve train performance and prepare for the introduction of two timetable changes.

Prior to this, David was Operations Director for the Anglia route, leading the team through Covid, industrial action and recently Operation London Bridge.

David started on the railway in the then Wales and Marches area of the Western route as a General Management Graduate in 2006. His career has taken him from Cardiff, to London via Derby, Ipswich, Washington DC and New York. He spent three years working for Network Rail Consulting undertaking roles in performance, operations and control management, working on some of the world’s busiest transport networks.

Network Rail’s Kent route is one of the busiest and most congested routes in the country, with Southeastern running over 1,600 trains a day and carrying more than 400,000 passengers.

The railway in Kent and South East London is vital to the economic prosperity of the region, serving many markets and communities including commuters in and out of London and linking major towns and cities such as Canterbury, Ashford and Dover.

The route also serves channel routes to Europe and has the UK’s first domestic high-speed service, with trains that travel at a top speed of 140mph, with high volumes of freight traffic, while also transporting large numbers of leisure travellers to the Kent coast and other tourist destinations.

David said: “I’m delighted to be joining Kent route, which is a critical part of the network connecting passengers in London, Kent and the wider south east of England. This route plays an important role in supporting commuters, leisure travellers, connecting the country with Europe as well as key freight services.

“I’m eager to continue building on my most recent experience as interim route director of Western route and I’m looking forward to working with the fantastic and hardworking colleagues in Kent route as well as our many partners across the route, particularly Southeastern.”

Ellie Burrows, regional managing director for Network Rail’s Southern region, said: “We help thousands of commuters get to work and home again every day, and carry thousands of leisure travellers to support Kent’s thriving economy and year-round tourism.

“I’m really excited to welcome David, who brings a wealth of incredible railway knowledge that will help us deliver a safe, reliable and thriving railway for South East London, Kent and East Sussex, with a focus on putting customers at the heart of everything we do.

“I’d also like to thank Fiona and Adrian, who have seen us through the challenges of Covid and industrial action, while overseeing billions of pounds of investment throughout CP6 to make the railway safer and more reliable for our passengers.”

Image credit: NWR