See below for details of our three exciting Day 1 keynotes and challenge panel experts. The Research Challenge session brought together five panellists to discuss issues affecting HSR including Economics, Resilience, Integration, Power and Digitalisation.
Mark Thurston, CEO at HS2 Ltd
As the CEO of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, Mark has the privilege and ultimate responsibility for leading the company that has been charged with delivering a new high speed railway that will connect the major cities of the UK.
The vision is for HS2 to be a catalyst for growth across Britain and become the backbone of Britain’s rail network. It will better connect the country’s major cities and economic hubs and will help deliver a stronger, more balanced economy, better able to compete on the global stage. It will open up local and regional markets and will attract investment and improve job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people across the whole country.
HS2 Ltd began operations in January 2009. The company currently employs around 1,600 people, with the majority of staff working at its headquarters in Birmingham. Mark joined HS2 Ltd in March 2017; he has some 30 years’ experience including leadership roles in engineering, project and programme management and business operations.
Having worked for client, consulting and delivery organisations, Mark has a successful track record across a mix of major organisations and investment programmes and worked on both the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail. He was previously the European MD of engineering and projects company CH2M. Mark started his career as a technician apprentice on the London Underground. He is a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management at UCL and an honorary fellow at both the Association for Project Management and the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 2019 he received an honorary doctorate of technology at the University of East London.
Inaki Uriarte, New Operations and Innovation Director for Transport Mobility, Euskotrenbideak-Ferrocarriles Vascos
Director of the new operations and innovation department of the transport company Euskotren, which covers regional trains, trams, metro and bus operations. Inaki is responsible for the company´s digital transformation in accordance with the new directives and regulations of the European Union (4 railway package), managing projects from the regulatory and operational view to integrate regional and urban transport services for door-to door service providing relevant information for customers. Including the planning of resources, booking, administrative tasks, tracking and tracing, invoicing, etc.
Inaki is an expert in commissioning, system integration and risk identification between different suppliers and contractors, company structure definition and creation of partnerships for railway operation, as well as defining the conditions for rolling stock acquisition and homologation, PSO governance and contracts definition.
He has extensive experience in transport and urban mobility projects, start-up operations and implementation of metros, electric buses, trams and regional train services, development of financial feasibility analysis, environmental and social impact studies, carbon footprint analysis, urban development impact, demand studies, design projects, construction, operation and maintenance of rolling stock in several countries.
Luisa Moisio, Director of Research and Development at RSSB
Luisa is responsible for the cross-industry programme run by RSSB and funded predominantly by the Department for Transport, which provides answers and solutions spanning a broad range of engineering, operations and sustainability topics.
Luisa Moisio joined RSSB in 2005 to improve the evaluation of changes to standards. She moved to the R&D department in 2008 to enhance the in-house analytical and research capabilities and became Head of Programme Strategy and Analysis for Research & Development in 2013. She was appointed Director of Research and Development in 2017.
Since 2014 Luisa has also been a member of the organising committee of the World Congress of Rail Research, and is currently its Chair in preparation for the next Congress which will be hosted in Birmingham in 2022. She is also closely involved in the UK Innovation and Research Network (UKRRIN) which fosters and brings together the Centres of Excellence in rail research with supply chain and the wider industry. She has recently played a key role in the newly released Rail Technical Strategy.
Luisa has an MSc in Decision Science and Operation Research from the London School of Economics, and a degree in International Sciences and Economics.
Panel Host - Professor Clive Roberts, Head of School of Engineering and Director of BCRRE
Clive is Professor of Railway Systems and Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He is Director of the University’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, which has over 160 researchers. He works extensively with the railway industry and academia in Britain and overseas.
Clive leads a broad portfolio of research aimed at improving the performance of railway systems, including leading the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) - a £92M academia/industry collaboration, as well as initiatives to encourage SMEs to work in the rail sector. In 2017 his group was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education for supporting the UK and international railway industries. His main research interests lie in the areas of railway systems research including: railway simulation, future control strategies, traffic management and operations, condition monitoring, data integration and cyber security, power system design and energy efficiency, and overall system integration.
Economics - Professor John Preston, Professor of Rail Transport at the University of Southampton
John Preston has been Professor of Rail Transport at the University of Southampton since 2006. His research interests include demand and cost modelling, operations research, regulatory studies, land-use and environment interactions and economic appraisal and evaluation. He has held over 150 research grants and contracts, worth over £19 million, successfully supervised over 30 doctoral students and published around 350 articles, book chapters, conference and working papers. He is Co-Chair of the World Conference on Transport Research Society’s (WCTR) Rail Special Interest Group and a Committee Member of the International Association of Rail Operations Research (IAROR).
Resilience - John Dora, Director at Climate Sense, Founder of John Dora Consulting
John Dora has thirty-nine years’ experience in managing infrastructure, including flood risk management and asset management of railway structures. He is a recognised international expert on climate change adaptation and standards, with clients including the UK Met Office, World Bank, and the International Standards Organisation. Before founding John Dora Consulting in 2012, he was Network Rail’s Principle Systems Engineer on Climate Change, having previously worked in water management and extreme weather mitigation roles. John is also an accomplished lecturer, designing and delivering courses on sustainability, asset management and resilience at a number of UK Universities.
Power - Dr Pietro Tricoli, Senior Lecturer in Electrical Power & Control at the University of Birmingham
Pietro Tricoli is currently a Senior Lecturer in electrical power and control with the Department of Electronic, Electrical, and Systems Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, U.K. He has authored more than 100 scientific papers published in international journals and conference proceedings. His current research interests include the modelling of storage devices for road electric vehicles, railways, and rapid transit systems, wind and photovoltaic generation, railway electrification systems and the modelling and control of multilevel converters.
Pietro is a member of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society and the Energy Institute. He is the Web and Publication Chair of the International Conference on Clean Electrical Power. He is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Feature Editor of the IET Journal Renewable Power Generation. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Italy.
Digitalisation - Luca Fracassi, Head of Business Development, Strategy and Innovation at Siemens
Integration - Toufic Machnouk, Programme Director for the East Coast Digital Programme at Network Rail
Toufic is leading this cross-industry partnership that will transform performance on the East Coast Mainline, one of the UK's vital economic railway arteries, with digital signalling.
Having started his career in infrastructure management and operations, Toufic went on to deliver major investment projects and industry programmes. He worked on the Reading redevelopment delivering the first new multi-traction train maintenance facility for the Great Western Railway. His team was recognised for breakthroughs in safety performance, industry and supplier collaboration, and successfully delivering a cross-industry change, receiving national awards. More recently Toufic worked on the Crossrail project where he oversaw upgrades to the existing networks train control systems, including the introduction of digital signalling into the Heathrow branch, and delivered major infrastructure upgrades in the Greater London area.
He is passionate about technology and skills development, lecturing at universities and colleges, and mentoring people from across the industry. He holds a degree in Engineering and Design, has completed the accelerated business leaders programme with Warwick University and is completing his executive MBA with Bath University.
Luca Fracassi is the Head of Business Development, Strategy, and Innovation - Digital within Siemens Mobility. The mantra at Siemens Mobility is to provide a great service to passengers, moving people sustainably and seamlessly from the first mile to the last; digitalisation plays a central role in achieving that!
Luca has worked within Siemens for several years, firstly involved in signalling and train control projects and more recently within the rolling stock business unit. Within his current role he is responsible for setting the digital services strategy for Siemens Mobility in the UK.
The main objective within the Siemens Mobility Digital Team is to make trains intelligent to improve the lives of passengers, operators, maintainers, and asset owners, day by day, by providing them with actionable information and insights.