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Rail Partners’ conference at the Rolling Stock Networking event

Rail Partners - Rail Partners’ conference at the Rolling Stock Networking event
06 July 2023

10:00 - 15:00

Derby Arena

Rail Partners’ conference at the Rolling Stock Networking event

Rail Partners hosted a conference at the annual Rolling Stock Networking 2023 event in Derby.

The conference explored how owners, operators and suppliers of trains can deliver for both the customer and the environment, and featured an informative and engaging with a mix of presentations and lively panel discussions.

For further information on the Conference itself, please visit Rolling Stock Network’s event page.

Watch our video to find out more about the day:


Our speakers

Host: Mark Gaynor, director of operator services, Rail Partners

Mark has most recently been the Head of Railway Strategy at the Rail Delivery Group where his focus was on improving the performance and planning of the railway. Mark also led on sustainability within RDG as a member of the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce - which has developed a vision for how the railway can fully decarbonise - and the Sustainable Rail Leadership Group. 

Mark worked at the Department for Transport, before joining RDG in 2017.  During his time in the department he worked on issues including the development of road vehicle safety standards, introducing new tax systems and incentives to encourage cleaner vehicles, developing the business cases for rail electrification schemes and leading the rail input to the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy. 

Morning session: Delivering for customers​

Andy Bagnall, chief executive, Rail Partners

Andy has over twenty years of experience within government, across the private sector and most recently as the Director General at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), where he coordinated policy and advocacy activities. 

Andy has held a number of policy and communications jobs, initially joining Rail Delivery Group as the Director of Strategy and Communications and then becoming Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to this Andy was KPMG’s Director of External Affairs, and spent five years at the CBI as Director of Campaigns. He was previously a special adviser to the UK government, serving two cabinet ministers in three departments over four years. 

Will Rogers, managing director, East Midlands Railway

Will is Managing Director of East Midlands Railway, operator of intercity and regional services from the East Midlands to London, Lincolnshire and Liverpool. Following 20 years in the rail industry, in a range of roles and companies, Will knows that trusting collaborative relationships with an unwavering focus on customers is at the heart of success.  He is passionate about leading his team to make a difference to customers and communities and leave a lasting legacy. 

A chartered mechanical engineer, Will uses his curiosity and desire to understand how things work to find simple solutions to problems.  He is often found by his flipchart, marker in hand! 

Outside work Will is a proud dad and uses his spare time to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside. 

Shakil Ismail, head of fleet, Eversholt Rail

Shakil joined Eversholt Rail in 2014 and was appointed as the Head of Fleet in November 2021. He leads the Fleet Team as the primary technical interface with customers and suppliers along with the hands-on Asset Inspection team. The team provides a central point of knowledge for the fleet to input into innovation, climate solution and major asset uplift projects; all with the aim of preserving the residual value of our assets.  

Shakil began his career on the railway at Bombardier Transportation in 2007 as a Graduate Trainee, developing into a Fleet Engineer with experience across various depots and operators around the UK. Shakil has an MEng in Electrical Engineering.

Jag Maitala, programme director, rolling stock, Department for Transport

Jag has worked in various parts of the rail industry for over 20 years. This has included working at Network Rail, TfL and DfT. He is currently accountable for DfT’s Rolling Stock policy and contracts, which includes the IET contract. 

Previous roles have included introducing new trains into service, as well as optimising train maintenance regimes. Jag was also the Lead Specifier for Train Services and Rolling Stock for SWR franchise and Project Director for the CrossCountry contract.  

Dan Taylor, senior policy advisor, Transport Focus

Dan is the policy lead on rolling stock design at Transport Focus and has contributed to each of its research rolling stock projects seeking to understand passenger expectations of new and refurbished trains.

Dan led Transport Focus’s work on the new Merseyrail trains and has recently worked with Porterbrook to identify passenger needs from their Turbostar refurbishment programme. He also works on a range of policy issues including accessibility, passenger information during disruption and personal security.

Elaine Clark, chief executive, Rail Forum

Elaine leads the Rail Forum team; she is responsible for the Rail Forum’s strategy and ensuring the delivery of a strong value proposition across all membership activities. A Chartered Engineer, Elaine has 40 years business and industry experience gained in the electricity, chemicals and skills development sectors.   

Paul Sutherland, client services director, Eversholt Rail

Paul joined Eversholt UK Rails Group in 2006. He began his career on the railway at London Underground in 1999 as a graduate trainee, following which he moved to South West Trains and worked on rolling stock maintenance and major projects.

Paul was appointed as Client Services Director in January 2020 where he has responsibility for Fleet, Projects, Customer Engagement and Product Development.

Paul is a Chartered Engineer and fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers with BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering.

Afternoon session: Delivering for the environment​

Jonathan Waters, principal rolling stock engineer, First Rail

Jonathan is a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has 11 years of rolling stock experience, having begun his career as a graduate trainee at Eversholt Rail in 2012. In 2017 Jonathan joined Agility Trains where he worked on the successful delivery, introduction, and ongoing engineering management of fleets for the Intercity Express Programme.

Jonathan joined First Rail at the start of 2023. He is currently supporting operators with fleet strategy and procurement. 

Rich Fisher, head of strategic planning – network and integration, GBRTT

Rich has over 20 years’ of industry experience from a wide variety of roles within both train operators and Network Rail. He currently leads on key aspects of the Long Term Strategy for Rail (including rolling stock, decarbonisation, operations and major programmes) which is seeking to examine how rail can contribute to key public priorities (environmental and financial sustainability, meeting customers’ needs and growing the economy).

Robert Tiller, engineering specialist, GB Railfreight

Rob started his railway career in 1976 as a BR Old Oak Common Apprentice and worked through to become Engieering Director of UK's leading Railfreight business.

Rob is now responsible for the repower of EE class 56 locomotives to EMD class 69 and the design and award of the new Class 99 bimode, the future of UK rail freight traction.

Lorna McDonald, head of sales – Commuter, Hitachi

Lorna begun her career as a motor vehicle engineer before joining Humberside Police where she was the lead for community cohesion as well as a child protection officer. Lorna also spent time working in the Counter Terror Command in London. 

Having spent 22 years in policing, Lorna decided that joining the rail industry would be an exciting career change. After a year in central government at BEIS as the lead for the UK rail supply chain, she joined Hitachi as a business manager.

Lorna is currently responsible for introducing battery technology into the UK rail market. She is committed to supporting the UK supply chain and works alongside various rail trade associations supporting new entrants into the market place.