Five minutes with Northern's Regional Stakeholder Manager

Thu, November 21st, 2019

Owain Roberts discuses working for Northern Rail, sector improvements and more

Q1: Introduce yourself – What is your name? Where do you sit in the business? and what does the business do?

My name is Owain Roberts and I am the Stakeholder Manager for the West Region at Arriva Rail North (Northern). We operate rail services across the entire north of England extending from Carlisle and Chathill in the north to Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham in the south. We operate 3000 trains per day and 1 in 4 passenger trains operating in England is a Northern service! My region encompasses all of our network on Merseyside, parts of Cheshire and the majority of Lancashire and Cumbria.

Q2: What does a typical working day look like?

I have approximately 150 stakeholders all of whom have an interest in what is happening on the railway. These include MPs, Councillors, Local Authorities, Chamber of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Community Rail Partnerships to name but a few. A typical working day can involve meetings from anywhere between Chester and Carlisle sometimes on the same day. I also regularly attend evening meetings to inform stakeholders about what is going on in the franchise and improvements coming up.

Q3: What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

It’s been fantastic to see investment in the network over the past 10 years whether this be the infrastructure – for example the rebuild of the platforms at Liverpool Lime Street and electrification of the line between Liverpool and Manchester/Wigan or within the Train Operating Companies. Northern are currently in the process of introducing 101 brand new trains to the network which provide the modern facilities our customers want to see including air conditioning, table seating, power sockets and wifi. Over the past few months we have introduced these on our Liverpool-Blackpool North and Liverpool-Manchester Airport via Warrington Central routes with more to come before the end of 2019 and into 2020. So far this year we have operated over 50,000 more train services than in the same period last year on a primarily 2-track mixed traffic railway which encompasses fast, local stopping and freight services. It’s vital that we continue to invest in the infrastructure to support the delivery of additional trains and ensure reliable operations.

Q4: What advice would you give your teenage self?

Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice.

Q5: Where would we find you on your day off?

I love getting out into the countryside or to the coast for a good walk. There are some fantastic opportunities in Liverpool City Region – the section between Freshfield and Crosby and the walk out to Hilbre Island being two of my favourites.

Q6: What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

Career development is best achieved through a balance of your skills and expertise combined with something which you have a passion for.

Q7: Who or what has inspired you in your career?

I have worked in the rail industry now for over 11 years and have been fortunate to have had many supportive managers and colleagues in all the places I have worked. The rail industry is vast and can be complex so the sharing of knowledge is vital to ensure success.

Q8: Why choose Liverpool City Region?

It may be a cliché but quite simply it’s a great place to live, work and do business. It’s been fantastic to see the development of the City Region over the past 20 years from the world class city centre and waterfront right through to investment such as the Liverpool2 Deep Water Container Terminal. From a rail perspective we’ve seen additional services between Liverpool and Manchester, the recent new link to Chester via Liverpool South Parkway, the imminent launch of direct services between Liverpool and Glasgow and the plans for 2 trains per hour between Liverpool and London as part of the forthcoming West Coast franchise. I like to think that Northern is fully playing it’s part in the city regions continuing successes.

Meet the Members

Arriva Rail North Ltd

Arriva Rail North Ltd

Ground Floor, 4 Travis Street, MANCHESTER, Manchester, UK, M1 2NF

  • T: 0161 822 1067

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