Friday, August 25, 2017

Former Network Rail exec to head Metrolinx

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Former Network Rail exec to head Metrolinx Metrolinx

Metrolinx has named Phil Verster to be its new president and CEO, effective Oct. 1.

Verster's history includes a dozen years overseeing operations and major construction at rail providers in England, Scotland and Ireland. Most recently, he served as managing director of Britain's Network Rail where he ran the ScotRail Alliance and oversaw the delivery of a major electrification of the Scottish railroad.

He is also responsible for initiating work on the East West Railway, a new rail line linking Britain's high tech corridor between Oxford and Cambridge. Metrolinx says Verster led successful efforts to re-launch the project through creative partnerships with the municipalities and local leaders it will serve while simultaneously designing and engineering the project in the most cost effective way.

Rob Prichard, chairman of the Metrolinx Board, which approved Verster's appointment Aug. 24, pointed to the unique set of criteria in Metrolinx's search:

"We're implementing a CA$34-billion (US$27.16-billion) transit build – the biggest transit investment in Ontario's history and one of the largest in the world today. We're quadrupling the number of weekly GO Train trips - from 1,500 to 6,000. We're electrifying key GO rail lines to provide 15-minute express service all day long throughout the region and we're building new LRT lines to tie the region together.

"Moreover, as we execute this massive transformation, we need to continue providing the current high level of daily transit service that people throughout the region depend on. We sought as our next CEO a person with deep domain expertise and substantial executive experience operating and building railways. There are few people in the transit and rail industry with the know-how, experience and executive skills to drive transformation and maintain service at the same time. Phil Verster is one of them.

"Verster...has the expertise and executive experience we need to deliver on our ambitious agenda, leading the 4,000 employees of Metrolinx and working with all of our partners. We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx."

"I am very excited about joining the team of dedicated women and men at Metrolinx and to be part of one of the most exciting transit transformations taking place anywhere in the world. I believe Ontario is the place to be. Not just because of the very large scale of investment being made in transit, but because of the dynamism, optimism and quality of life that has made this region so envied all over the world," said Verster. "At the end of the day, it's important to remember that all the investment, all the construction, all the new trains and services are not an end in themselves. They're about improving the experience of passengers, contributing to communities and to the economy."

Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail in Britain call Verster "a gain to the Canadian railroad industry" and noted his "strong track record in supporting and developing teams to improve customer service and train service performance."