Great British Railways – The future of rail?

Monday, 4th October | 14.00-15.00
Hosted by the IEA & RSSB

With the Williams-Shapps Review finally concluding and a fresh government plan on the future of the railways, what does the next decade look like? Uncertainty around the long-term impact of the pandemic on business travel and the viability of commuter routes looms large, but what can the new body – Great British Railways – bring to the table and can it meet the challenges ahead?

Mark Littlewood | is the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Since 2009, Mark has overseen the expansion of the IEA’s influence and media profile. Mark appears regularly on TV and Radio, often featuring as a guest on flagship political programmes such as BBC Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News and the Today Programme. He also holds a regular segment on Times Radio and writes a bi-weekly column for The Times.

Mary Grant | joined Porterbrook in 2017 and has over 24 years’ experience working in the UK and international transport sector. Previous roles include leading Eurostar’s New Fleet Introduction and Business Change Programme, Managing Director New Business Development at National Express, Divisional Managing Director, Bus and Rail at FirstGroup and Managing Director ScotRail. She has a proven track record of improving operational performance and delivering financial success as well as driving positive culture change within organisations.
Mary is a Board member of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) and the National Skills Academy for Rail.

Chris Loder MP | was elected in 2019 as the Conservative MP for West Dorset. Prior to entering Parliament, Chris had a 20-year career in the rail sector, beginning at the frontline as a train guard, to be Head of Operations for c2c and working with Deutsche Bahn to connect London and Frankfurt by direct ICE train. Immediately before the election, he was Head of New Trains for his local operator, South Western Railway where he was widely recognised as the guard that kept the trains running during the strikes in the run up to the election. Since being elected, Chris sits on the Transport Committee which scrutinises the Department for Transport.

Huw Merriman MP | was elected as Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee in January 2020 and has been a committee member since 2015. He has chaired, or is chairing, inquiries on International Travel, HS2, Decarbonising Rail, Zero Emissions Vehicles, Smart Motorways, Road Pricing, Recovering Public Transport post-Pandemic and E-Scooters. Every inquiry underpins the question as to how decarbonisation of transport will be delivered.

Mark Phillips | is the CEO of the Rail Safety and Standards Board and member of the Transport for London Board. Mark has over 30 years of experience working in the rail industry. Shortly after joining the RSSB as Director of Research and Standards in 2015, Mark was appointed as CEO in 2016.