Sollitt previously held a key role on HS2. Credit: Network Rail

Transpennine upgrade senior team bolstered

Pete Sollitt has started as managing director of TRU West Alliance as Network Rail gears up for an important year on the Leeds-Manchester route.

He joins with a wealth of major infrastructure projects expertise after more than 10 years of leading roles, most recently with the HS2 programme, where he was the Phase 2A delivery director. Prior to working in rail, he spent 20 years in British Army leadership roles.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade is a long-awaited multi-billion-pound programme that will bring faster, cleaner and more reliable trains across the North of England, transforming rail travel across the Pennines.

Sollitt steps up at a vital time for TRU with the Department for Transport’s recent announcement of a £3.9bn funding boost for the programme meaning that 2024 will see significant progress made on a number of projects between Manchester, Leeds and beyond.

Once the core benefits of the programme have been achieved, the 70m of railway between Manchester and York will be electrified, a new fully digital signalling system will be in place and key areas of the line will be double tracked, enabling more frequent, faster and greener trains to stop at improved, accessible stations along the route.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade follows an enterprise business model – led by TRU Managing Director Neil Holm – in a structure that consists of individual projects that are delivered via Alliances both East and West of Leeds, with Sollitt now overseeing operations in the west.

Sollitt said: “I recognise this is a complex, fast-moving programme with many facets.

“A key priority of mine at this early stage is to ensure that every single person working on the Alliance is safe and well. We all need to play our part in supporting a vigilant culture that protects ourselves and our colleagues.”

“In terms of the delivery of the programme, we need to maintain and enhance our performance so that excellence becomes a habit.

“Looking at what the Alliance has achieved so far, I’m certain that we have the capability, expertise and experience required to achieve that.

“We now have the opportunity to all pull together as one team and take it to the next level – I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and the role the West Alliance will play as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.”

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