Transport for Greater Manchester’s new Metrolink Director will be Peter Cushing it has been announced. Mr Cushing will replace Philip Purdy who is returning to his native Australia next month for family reasons. Previously with Central Trains Peter has also worked alongside TfGM’s Metrolink team on a long term but interim basis during the major expansion programme.
Mr Cushing has a wealth of expertise and experience in the rail industry and helped to rejuvenate Central Trains as Operations Director between March 2003 and January 2005. He was also part of the team involved in DfT’s remapping of the heavy rail network that saw the creation of the East Midlands Trains, London Midland and Cross Country franchises and has been involved in several rail franchise bids winning three.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Peter’s appointment puts Metrolink in very capable hands. He is thought of very highly within the industry and
brings a great deal of experience to the role. In recent years he has been supporting the existing team while we deliver the £1.4 billion Metrolink expansion and, in doing so, has built up a thorough understanding of the network. In welcoming Peter, we have to bid farewell to Philip who has steered Metrolink through the most challenging period in its history with grace, professionalism and absolute dedication. We wish him and his family the very best for the future.”
Peter Cushing added: “I’m delighted and looking forward to the exciting challenges ahead. The Metrolink network will soon become the biggest light rail system in the country and, as part of that, is undergoing the most significant change in its history. In 1992, Metrolink consisted of 30km of track, 27 stops, 26 trams and one depot. We will soon have an entirely new fleet of 94 trams, two depots and a network covering 97km of track and 99 stops. It is a remarkable achievement, driven entirely by its own success, but a project of this magnitude, on an existing, well-established and well-used network, is going to come with some growing pains and teething problems. How we work through those inevitable issues is crucial. The network has grown steadily from an ambitious vision in the early 1980s to part of the fabric of daily life in Greater Manchester. It is a crucial part of what the area has to offer and is the envy of most other major cities; it is something to be incredibly proud of. For me, the aim is to continue the fantastic work Philip and his team have done in very challenging circumstances: managing the delivery of the expansion – the largest transport project in the country outside London – at the same time as running
an effective day-to-day operation. Passengers want a service that is reliable, clean, efficient, and focused on their needs – that’s what our focus is and will continue to be as we grow.”
Peter will formally take up his role from 4th February before Philip Purdy heads back to Australia.