Thu Jul 24 2014


Categories: Featured Articles

R753 Feature















Alex Hynes was told being the managing director of a train operating company was the best job in the world. Ten months into the job at Northern Rail, he has seen nothing to contradict that statement.

This is not an easy job. But it does offer a lot of challenges - challenges that Hynes and his team are tackling head on.

Nearly a quarter of the UK’s population, and nearly a third of its workforce, lives in the area served by the operator. The cities it serves include Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Hull and York.

If the north of England were a European state, it would be the ninth largest economy in Europe (ahead of the likes of Sweden, Denmark and Belgium).

Where once the North was an industrial region, now it is a digital economy, and three years ago it was worth £250 billion as an area. Manchester is the second largest growing city outside London, and Leeds is the UK’s largest financial centre outside of the capital.

And yet the North is served by a franchise that was deemed to see no growth, although that is far from the case.

Hynes meets RAIL in Leeds on July 4. The Tour De France is starting in the region the following day, and the city is bustling with anticipation. Hynes suggests that around two million spectators will attend the event, and that rail’s market share is 30%.

Hynes will be donning a yellow shirt and volunteering to help staff where possible. He’s relishing the prospect. But as Northern Rail spokesman Carolyn Watson tells RAIL, Hynes likes to get involved. He likes to meet the operator’s staff and lead from the front.






... read more in RAIL 753, on sale 23/07/2014. Now available for your iPad!