Key appointment for largest rail project in north of England

Neil Holm, pictured, has been appointed MD of the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester and York.

A key rail project in the north of England has appointed a managing director who says he is proud to lead “thousands of brilliant people” in transforming rail travel for northerners.

Neil Holm spoke of the “exciting future for rail in the north of England” as he was appointed managing director of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

Work is well underway across the route, which spans 70 miles between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

Holm, previously programme director of Transpennine Route Upgrade – a position he has held since January 2021 - said: “We’ve already delivered key upgrades across the route and have a big year ahead, including the ongoing construction of a new station at Morley, upcoming major works at Stalybridge beginning in March, and several other major steps in our plans throughout 2023. 

“I look forward to the challenge of delivering the many benefits of the Transpennine Route Upgrade for the millions of people that live along the line.”

The multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade aims to bring faster, cleaner and more reliable trains along one of the country’s key rail arteries, transforming journeys for millions of passengers across the north.

Core benefits of the upgrade include the electrification of the 70-mile route for greener trains, a fully digital signalling system and doubling tracks to enable more frequent, faster trains.

Station upgrades to accommodate longer trains are also planned, as well as greater accessibility.

Before joining the Transpennine Route Upgrade, Holm was programme director for HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier, where he was responsible for leading the carrier through assembly, commissioning and sea trials to final delivery with the Royal Navy.

Prior to this he was head of programme for HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Holm spent his early career in military aerospace after graduating from the University of Cambridge with a post-graduate degree in Design, Manufacture and Management and undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Strathclyde University.

He said: “I hold a lifelong passion for engineering and guiding ambitious visions from concept to completion. I am excited to bring my expertise and experience to help deliver a better future for rail in the north of England.”

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