Since joining what was then First Great Western in 2008 as managing director, Mark Hopwood has had to content with a number of major challenges, including serious overruns and scope changes on the Great Western electrification programme, the complexities of the rebuild work at Reading and the new Crossrail programme, a series of blockades, having to vacate Old Oak Common depot for HS2 without alternative suitable facilities being ready, a cancelled franchise competition, a series of Direct Award negotiations and the challenge of introducing the new IEP trains.
Problems with the planned fleet cascade through the franchise has affected every part of the fleet and depot estate. Overcoming these challenges has involved procuring a new fleet of Hitachi high-speed trains for the west of England services and a new fleet of Bombardier EMUs for the Thames Valley commuter services. This has recently reached a major transition point, of an eight-car 110mph commuter train service from Maidenhead to Paddington.
Through all of this Mark has led his team calmly and without fanfare, overcoming every difficulty that has been placed in their way, and managing to improve the passenger experience along the way.
Through his inspired leadership and gritty determination, Mark has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the UK rail industry.
Mark sits on the Board of the Institute of Railway Operators and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Before joining FGW, he was managing director for three rail businesses for National Express Group and prior to this he was operations director for NX Londonlines (c2c, Silverlink and WAGN), overseeing all service delivery issues on the commuter rail businesses.