Merseyrail unveils new managing director

An executive with a background in both the rail and retail sectors is named as the new managing director of train operator Merseyrail with just five years remaining of the 25-year franchise. Tony McDonough reports

Neil Graham
Neil Graham, managing director of Merseyrail


Train operator Merseyrail has unveiled Neil Graham as its new managing director.

Current customer services director at East Midlands Railway, Mr Graham, replaces Andy Heath who departed earlier this year and Jane English who has been acting MD for the past few weeks.

Mr Graham has also held executive roles for rail operator Greater Anglia and retailers Signet Jewellers and Lidl.

He joins Merseyrail at a time of significant change. Earlier this year it began rolling out its new 52-strong fleet of class 777 trains, first on the Kirkby line and then on the Ormskirk Line.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority invested £500m in the new Stadler units. This week battery-powered versions of the trains were undergoing their final testing on the network. They will start serving the new £80m Headbolt Lane station at Kirkby this year.

Merseyrail Electrics has a 25-year franchise to operate the Merseyrail network, which runs 600 services every weekday. This is due to expire in 2028 so Mr Graham could be the final managing director in the current era.

He said “I feel very proud to have been given the opportunity to lead the fantastic team at Merseyrail, who I know share my ambition to deliver a railway that the communities we serve can be proud of.


First new 777 class Merseyrail train at Sandhills bound for Kirkby. Picture by Tony McDonough
Andy Heath, former managing director of Merseyrail


“This is an exciting time of transformation, with new trains being introduced, and the opportunity to deliver real improvements in the journey experiences of our customers.”

Mr Graham will take up his post from mid-August.

John Whitehurst, managing director of franchise holder Serco’s transport business, added: “We are delighted that Neil is joining Merseyrail.

“He brings with him a wealth of experience and a real focus on customer service, which is so important for Merseyrail as we continue to transform the service on the back of the new train introduction.”

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