Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7678
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

So Alison Forster, Managing Director of First Great Western, has moved on to a new role, I read, where she won't be so involved with the regional or commuter trains.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7679
Written by Gwr2006 on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

I posted the following on another thread earlier this month but it is worth repeating here

Except that she doesn't...

All that has changed is that First Great Western management will now report to Andrew Haines who has been UK Rail Director at FirstGroup since last year (when he joined from Stagecoach - he was previously MD of South West Trains) rather than FGW's Finance Director, Dean Finch, as they have done until now. This brings the company into line with FirstGroup's other franchises - Scotrail, TransPennine, Hull Trains and First Capital Connect, and allows FirstGroup to have consistency across all the franchises

Alison Forster will continue to have overall management responsibility for FGW, and has also been given a focus on the high speed services. At the same time, two new managers will focus on the former Thames and Wessex areas, both reporting to Alison. Mike Carroll (from FirstInfo, and a former MD) has the role of Route Director, London & Thames Valley and John Curley will be Route Director, West. These are temporary positions to oversee performance improvements in these areas.

However, Alison hasn't moved on and still heads FGW but now has a different reporting line to the FirstGroup Board.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7680
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

The BBC reports ...

The managing director of rail franchise First Great Western (FGW), Alison Forster, has been moved to a new post after the company's poor performance.


She will now become Rail Safety and Performance Director at First Group.

Andrew Haines, the group's UK Rail managing director, will take over daily operations at First Great Western.

I don't believe everything I read, but I'm inclined to believe this one.  Other sources quite a few weeks back had given me Andrew's name as a new man who was going to be at, or very close to, the helm so as far as I'm concerned it's not totally out of the blue.  But as ever, reports can be a little incorrect in their early reporting to I stand willing to make further corrections.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7682
Written by Gwr2006 on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

Andrew Haines has obviously been looking hard at some of the issues at FGW since the management started reporting to him a few weeks ago and has decided to be the troubleshooter to put things right. The BBC news story is correct, and a press release was issued by FGW late yesterday afternoon confirming that Alison Forster has a new role within the FirstGroup rail division.

Time will tell if this wil make any difference as DfT ultimately dictate the pattern of services and rolling stock that is available to run them. In fact, FGW performance is slowly improving but Network Rail is falling woefully short against the recovery targets agreed with Government earlier in the year. If they improved too we would see a much better railway.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7685
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

Here is the FGW view on this (link below.)

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7689
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

Alison Forster:
[quote]"Despite the difficulties we faced last December and in the first few months of 2007, through the hard work and commitment of all of the employees at First Great Western our customers are now starting to see the benefits of our significant investment programme."[/quote]

The people of Melksham (population 24,000) look forward to starting to see significant benefits from your significant investment program.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7692
Written by Industry Insider on Wednesday, 19th September 2007

[quote author=Lee link=topic=4078.msg7685#msg7685 date=1190204008]
Here is the FGW view on this (link below.)

Well, it remains to be seen as to whether the departure of Alison will make much of a difference, or whether the apple is rotten a bit further into the core. One thing's for sure, and that is that there will be intense scrutiny as to how the new fella performs from both staff and stakeholders (to use a FGW buzzword) - I don't envy him at all!

One of her last bits of propaganda thanked the staff of Castle Carey (that's how she spelt it) on the fact that the station had been awarded best small station at the National Rail Awards in her weekly internal staff memo- no mention of the fact that we didn't get a sniff of any of the more important awards on offer. Perhaps it did so well because Castle Cary is quite a small little place and well away from the attentions of the management that has presided over the farcical situations that have arison since the start of the franchise.

As for the official statement from FGW - you could almost have guessed it word for word...

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7706
Written by Lee on Thursday, 20th September 2007

Here is Economy Klaus's view (link below.)

The views of Don Foster MP & MTLS can be found in the link below.

Re: Alison Forster moves on. Welcome to Andrew Haines/ - 4078/7726
Written by aik4on on Friday, 21st September 2007

Coming from First Group, Mr Haines is very 'bottom line' driven.  However, I happen to know that he is aware of the Melksham issue and I'm told requested a paper on the background and what could be done in the future ...

link to index of articles

Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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