MacKay Hannah

High Speed Rail Summit: "Faster and Further: a shared vision for High Speed Rail"


Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon was born in Irvine in 1970 and educated at Greenwood Academy. She studied law at the University of Glasgow, where she graduated with LLB (Hons) and Diploma in Legal Practice.
Before entering the Scottish Parliament she worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law and Money Advice Centre in Glasgow.
She was elected MSP for Glasgow in 1999, and is now MSP for Govan. Before being appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing after the May 2007 election she had been Shadow Minister for Education, Health & Community Care and Justice. In September 2012, still as DFM, she was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities with responsibility for government strategy and the constitution.

Keith Brown MSP

Minister for Transport and Veterans, Scottish Government

Keith Brown served with the Royal Marines before pursuing a career in local government administration, where he was also an active trade union representative with UNISON. He is a graduate of Dundee University and studied at the University of Prince Edward Island.

He has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament since 2007 and is currently the constituency MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane. Before his election he served for 11 years as a councillor in Clackmannanshire, and held the post of Council Leader from 1999 to 2003.

He became Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning in February 2009 and has since held a number of ministerial roles before becoming Minister for Transport and Veterans in September 2012.

He was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in November 2014 and appointed Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work in May 2016.

Originally from Edinburgh, Keith now lives in Dollar with his three children.

@KeithBrownSNP @ScotGov

Norman Baker MP

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, UK Government (video address)

Norman Baker MP has been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport since May 2010 and is the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Lewes, East Sussex.

Born in Aberdeen in 1957, Norman moved to Hornchurch, Essex, in 1968. He was educated at the Royal Liberty School, Gidea Park, before taking a degree in German at Royal Holloway College, University of London.

Prior to entering the House of Commons in 1997, he had a variety of jobs including periods as a Regional Executive Director for Our Price Records, a teacher of English as a second language and clerk at Hornsey Railway Station.

He was elected to his local councils – Lewes District and Beddingham Parish – in 1987, and two years later was elected to East Sussex County Council. In 1991 he became Lewes District Council’s first ever Liberal Democrat leader.

Norman held a number of portfolios in the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet, including Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.

As an MP, Norman made his reputation for uncovering scandal and as a dedicated and effective campaigner for the environment and animal rights.

Norman has a passion for music; collecting records, occasionally singing in a 60′s rock band, and hosting a Sunday morning radio show at his local radio station. He is married to Liz and has three daughters.


  • Rail (including commercial, operational performance and Community Rail)
  • Buses – including concessionary fares
  • Taxis
  • Light rail and trams
  • Smart ticketing (including rail fares and ticketing)
  • Traffic management
  • Regional and Local transport (including local roads, maintenance, Major Projects, winter resilience)
  • Natural environment – including biofuels
  • Sustainable travel – including walking and cycling  
  • Accessibility and equalities
  • Alternatives to travel
  • SMEs and growth

Professor Roderick A Smith

Research Professor of Railway Engineering, Imperial College London

Professor Roderick A Smith, now Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Transport, has had an academic career at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield and Imperial College. He has been Head of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering at both Sheffield and Imperial College London, and a Fellow of Queens’ College Cambridge and St John’s College Oxford. He holds visiting Chairs in several countries.

He has published widely in areas of fatigue and structural integrity, and has lectured in many countries. Latterly his work has centred round railways: he has held two Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs in advanced railway engineering at Sheffield and Imperial.  He is widely called upon as an expert witness, both in the UK and abroad: most recently he acted as an advisor to a major Government inquiry on metro failures in Singapore.  He has played a leading technical role in the inquiry following the Hillsborough football  stadium disaster, and led a specialist group investigating the effect of volcanic ash on jet engines in 2011. He is frequently quoted in the press and has made many radio and television appearances. He is immediate Past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was recently awarded the Degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa by the University of Lincoln.

He has made many visits to Japan, is married to a Japanese wife and initiated the gift of a “bullet” train to the National Railway Museum. He has served as a Trustee of the Science Museum for two four year terms. He is a keen mountaineer and member of the Alpine Club.

Jim Steer

Director, Greengauge21 and Steer Davies Gleave

Jim Steer is the founder of Steer Davies Gleave, transport consultants, where he is a Board Director.

He established Greengauge 21 in 2006 to foster debate on a high speed rail network for Britain. Greengauge 21 has an on-going programme of research funded by a Public Interest Group.

He was seconded to the Strategic Rail Authority from 2002-5, heading strategy and planning.

He is Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and a columnist for the Transport Times, and was a member of HS2 Ltd’s Strategic Challenge Panel.

Dr Pete Waterman OBE

Supporter of High Speed Rail

Dr PETE WATERMAN OBE, DL is the most successful British producer-songwriter in pop history, an author, DJ, Pop Idol judge and television presenter and a lifelong entrepreneur. Perhaps best known as one-third of the phenomenally successful Stock Aitken Waterman team and for his world-famous PWL label and production company, Pete has sold in excess of 500 million records around the world over five decades, launching artists such as Kylie Minogue, John Travolta, Rick Astley and Steps. Amongst countless international industry awards, in 1990 Pete was recognised as the Music Industry’s Man of the Year.

Beyond music, Pete has a lifelong love for the railways. Since buying the first national rail franchise in 1993, Pete has continued to contribute massively to the preservation and development of this historic and essential industry. In 1997, he established London & North Western Railway, a state-of-the-art independent railway maintenance company. In 2005 he sold LNWR to Arriva (now DB Schenker), allowing him to focus on Britain’s largest railway heritage business, London & North Western Railway Heritage Company, an independent facility in Crewe for the repair and maintenance of diesel locomotives which employs 50 people.

Pete is also the proud owner of significant commercial and historic locomotives (at one time including the legendary ‘Flying Scotsman’) and rolling stock, the largest O-gauge model railway in Europe and Just Like The Real Thing, his own model train company, and recently led the successful campaign for the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering. Not bad for a lad who started his railway career as a fireman!

Pete is a director and currently chairs the board of Cadogan Entertainment Investments Ltd, the landlords of County Hall, Britain’s second biggest building and a key London tourist attraction. After receiving honorary degrees from Coventry University in 2001 and the University of Liverpool in 2004, Pete was awarded the OBE for his services to music in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2005, and Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire in 2010.

Councillor Alistair Watson

Council Business Manager, Glasgow City Council

Alistair Watson entered local government in 1995 after an active period with the trade union ASLEF. He is 58 years of age and resides in Cardonald in Glasgow, broadly representing the area in which he grew up.

Alistair's aim is to achieve change on behalf of the community, particularly from a transport perspective as this is the brief which interests him most. 

Since becoming a councillor Alistair has held the following positions at various times:-

• Vice-convener, Roads and Transportation Committee
• Convener, Land and Environmental Services Department
• Chair, Road Safety Committee
• Chair, West of Scotland Road Safety Forum
• Chair, Strathclyde Passenger Transport
• Chair, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
• Chair, Regeneration and the Economy Committee
• Chair, Intelligent Transport Systems Political Grouping
• From 27 June 2013, Executive Member for Sustainability and Transport
• Current Business Manager of the Council

Andrew Boagey

Business Director for Northern Europe, Systra

Andrew is Systra’s Business Director for Northern Europe and leads Systra’s participation as project delivery partner for London’s Crossrail.

Andrew also led Systra’s involvement in Britain’s first high speed line, HS1 and is now advising HS2 - the promoters of the UK’s next high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham - on the railway’s design parameters.

Colin Stewart

Global Rail Business Leader, Arup

Colin is a Director of Arup, where he is jointly responsible for the Partnership’s international design operation for transport projects.

Colin was the Technical Director and Deputy Project Director for the design and project management of the UK’s first high speed line, the £6bn HS1 (the Channel Tunnel Rail Link), before moving on to the Board of Control which oversaw the successful delivery of the project to time and budget.

He is currently Project Director for the route options study being carried out by Arup for HS2 Ltd., to identify a new high speed line from London to the West Midlands and also the proposed Y-route to the North-East.

He leads Arup’s Global Rail Business, which has a turnover of approximately £180m, and incorporates rail projects from light rail to high speed in countries across the world, including Europe, East Asia, America and Australia.

Arup High Speed Rail projects include High Speed 1 and High Speed 2 in UK, California High Speed Rail, Texas High Speed Rail, Express Rail Link (China to Hong Kong), Portugal HSL, High Speed Line Holland and Beijing South High Speed Rail Station.

Colin has played key roles in the delivery of major infrastructure projects and has first hand experience of private finance projects through his roles as project manager, designer and technical advisor to financial institutions and strategic advisor for the implementation of private finance initiatives.

Councillor Paul Watson

Chair, Association of North East Councils

Councillor Paul Watson was elected as Chair of the Association of North East Councils in October 2009.

The Association of North East Councils brings together the 12 local authorities in the North East of England on a cross Party basis.  Working together they are a strong voice for the local government sector and seek to influence national policy decisions on key issues for the North East, including transport, the economy, resources, culture, health and the environment.

Cllr Watson is also Leader of Sunderland City Council (since May 2008), after previously serving as Deputy Leader since May 2006.  Prior to that, he was Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Community Cohesion.

Born in Sunderland, he served an apprenticeship at Sunderland Shipbuilders where he worked until 1981. He has been a self-employed businessman ever since. Cllr Watson has an Honours Degree in Law awarded by Teesside University in 1998.

The Leader of the Council, as Leader of the controlling majority political group, Chairs the Cabinet and acts as the Council’s lead political spokesman.

He is also Chair of the Port of Sunderland, one of the leading North Sea ports.

Cllr Watson represents the City Council at national and sub-national levels on a number of key organisations.  As well as being Chair of the Association of North East Councils he is Executive Member of the Local Government Association; Chair of the Sunderland Economic Leadership Board; Chair of the Tyne and Wear Development Company and is a member of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions. He also sits on the board of the Sunderland Football Club foundation.

Picture of Rupert Walker

Rupert Walker

Head of HSR Development, Network Rail

Stephen Clark

Rail Programme Director, Transport for Greater Manchester

Stephen has been the Rail Programme Director at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) since 2010 – a role created to build a stronger focus around rail in the region.  He has played a leading role in developing evidence and stakeholder support for rail investment in the north of England, such as that included in DfT’s recently published plans for the period to 2019. 

In 2011 the ten Greater Manchester districts formed the country’s first Combined Authority (GMCA).  In this context Stephen has led Greater Manchester’s work, with partners across the North, to develop a proposition for Westminster government to devolve decision-making in rail franchising.

Stephen joined TfGM after a stint at Manchester City Council where he combined the roles of Head of Transport Policy for the city and Deputy Clerk to GM Integrated Transport Authority.

In 2008 Stephen moved to Greater Manchester from the Department for Transport where he had been Head of Rail Strategy.  His time at DfT included negotiating the relocation of railway carriage sidings to make way for the Olympic site and Orbit sculpture.  Prior to DfT he had been Director of Planning at the Strategic Rail Authority – where he published the first Route Utilisation Strategies.  Before that time Stephen had a railway industry career including roles in British Rail, Network South East, Thameslink, OPRAF and Railtrack.  These roles included making case for the Leeds station re-development in 2002, procuring first generation franchises in 1997, developing Thameslink services to Brighton in 1995, and advising on British Rail on forecasting for European freight and InterCity sandwiches!  He has a PhD in geological sciences, and is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Transport Policy Panel. 

David Hodges

Public Affairs Manager, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

David's policy brief at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry focuses on 'London's Infrastructure', with a particular focus on major transport projects. David has spoken at a number of events on the vital importance of projects like High Speed 2 to the economy on behalf of the business community.

Previously David has worked in the House of Commons, and in political consultancy advising a number of international businesses across the technology, manufacturing, energy and skills sectors. Prior to entering politics, David studied History and Politics at the University of Leicester before completing a Masters at Brunel University.

Picture of Julian Daley

Julian Daley

Network Development Officer, Merseytravel; Lead Officer for the West Coast Rail 250 campaign

David Thrower

Transport Consultant, North West Business Leadership Team

David Thrower has had a longstanding interest in high speed rail, going back to 1989 when he served on the former North West Channel Tunnel Group, which successfully sought the inclusion of a study of a high speed rail link into the North West's regional plans.

For most of the past decade, following working for two Passenger Transport Authorities, he has on a freelance basis advised the North West Business Leadership Team on high speed rail issues, including assisting with giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee and the All Party Campaign for High Speed Rail. He is based in Warrington, Cheshire.

David Simpson

Route Managing Director (Scotland), Network Rail

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, has been running Scotland’s Railway since 2005. Having originally joined the rail industry as a BR graduate trainee in 1986, David has worked in a wide variety of roles for BR, Railtrack, Network Rail and within freight operating companies. David, who was educated at Aston University in Birmingham, was also heavily involved in the introduction of Pendolino trains on the WCML and has led the devolution of Network Rail’s business in Scotland. Developing the resilience of Scotland’s rail network is a key part of David’s role and there has been significant progress made in recent years.

Councillor Frank Ross

City of Edinburgh Council

As part of the Capital Coalition, Frank is Convener of the Council’s Economy Committee where he is responsible for taking forward the Coalition’s pledges to ensure Edinburgh’s economic growth and continued prosperity.
Frank is Chair of - EDI Group Ltd; Waterfront Edinburgh Limited; PARC Craigmillar; Marketing Edinburgh Ltd and the Capital City Partnership.
Frank is a Director of - Cre8te Opportunities Limited; Edinburgh International Conference Centre Limited; CEC Holdings limited and the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
Frank is a Ward Councillor representing Corstorphine Murrayfield where he has lived for over 40 years.
Originally from London, Frank went to school at Leith Academy primary followed by George Watson’s College and finally on to Napier University.
Frank has been a key figure in major Scottish businesses, working in the manufacturing/engineering sector of industry, mainly in Scotland, for a range of blue chip companies such as Racal, Chubb, Tomkins and Motherwell Bridge. An accountant to trade (FCMA) Frank worked his way up to operate at the highest managerial level in these organisations.
More recently Frank has operated as a self employed Interim Manager focussing on Company turnarounds. This allowed Frank to become more politically active resulting in his election to the Council in 2012.
Frank is a member of the Corstorphine Youth Community Centre management committee.

Richard Lakin

Communications Manager, Go-HS2 & Centro

Richard Lakin is a former journalist with experience of working in communications in the rail industry in London, the West Midlands and the North West.

He leads communications activity for the Go-HS2 consortium of groups and organisations which supports bringing high-speed rail to the West Midlands. Go-HS2 members include Birmingham City Council, West Midlands transport authority Centro, Birmingham Airport, NEC Group and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

James Bethell

Campaign for High Speed Rail

James uses twenty years’ communications experience working across government, media and industry to build businesses for other people. He started his career in newspapers working for The Sunday Times and the Independent. A political campaigner, he has worked in the U.S. Senate, the European Commission and as a Parliamentary candidate. As a development professional, James continuously advises organisations on their growth plans, including Ministry of Sound, Capital Radio, Portland Communications (where he was managing partner) and PoliticsHome. James has been running the Campaign for High Speed Rail for the past 18 months.

Picture of James Alexander

James Alexander

Senior Policy Manager, Scottish Council for Development and Industry

James joined SCDI in December 2009, working from SCDI’s Glasgow office. James has worked to develop and promote SCDI’s Blueprint for Scotland, focusing on growing Scotland's economy by creating an enterprising nation, maximising our assets and realising the potential of our people. James played a central role in the development of Scotland’s cities strategy that created the Scottish Cities Alliance and now chairs its Delivery Group.

Prior to joining SCDI, James was President of the National Union of Students, Scotland. During this time, James sat as an observer on the Scottish Funding Council and Chaired the Funding Council’s review into the quality of further and higher education in Scotland. Following this, he worked for Scotland’s Colleges, representing the college sector as Senior to politicians and the media.

James has a degree in Mathematics from Heriot-Watt University.

John Morrison

Day One Chair: Former BBC Scotland Chief Political Correspondent and Owner, Morrison Media Strategies

John Morrison is a popular and accomplished conference facilitator and chairman. As a former senior BBC correspondent he understands the importance of balance and neutrality.

John Morrison is the owner of Morrison Media the leading PR, Public Affairs, Digital Communications and Media Training company. Previously, John was BBC Scotland’s Chief Political Correspondent and Europe correspondent based in Brussels reporting on all the institutions of the EU. He was also Scotland Correspondent for the BBC network news. John's current and previous roles mean that he has a unique understanding of both legislatures and lobbying.


Professor Iain Docherty

Day Two Chair: Professor of Public Policy and Governance (Management), University of Glasgow

Iain Docherty BSc PhD CMILT is Professor of Public Policy and Governance and Head of Management at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School. Iain’s research and teaching addresses the interconnecting issues of public administration, institutional change and city and regional competitiveness, with particular emphasis on the structures and processes of local and regional governance, policies for delivering improved economic performance and environmental sustainability, and the development and implementation of strategic planning and transport policies. His total research and consultancy awards in the last six years exceed £2 million, and he is currently Co-Director of the Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre and Co-Investigator on two major Research Council projects on sustainable transport and low carbon transitions.

Iain has worked with and advised a range of private sector, governmental and other organisations including governments and public agencies in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Sweden, and the OECD. He served as Non-Executive director of Transport Scotland, the national transport agency for Scotland, from 2006 – 2010, and in 2011 was appointed as one of the inaugural members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland.

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I was drawn to the conference because of the good feedback from previous participants. It was a great conference and I enjoyed hearing Gilly (MacMorran) speak.

Charlene Clark, West College Scotland,
Delegate at ACES 2015

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