New job for rail watchdog boss

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Image copyright Stephen Pimlott
Image caption Rail users were frustrated by train delays and disruption

The boss of the rail watchdog that strongly criticised the recent timetabling chaos is to join the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Joanna Whittington has been chief executive of the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) since January 2016.

The ORR said she was returning to the energy industry where she has many years of expertise.

She will be taking up the role of director general, the ORR said.

Ms Whittington will leave her post on 5 October and a recruitment process is under way to appoint the new chief executive.

‘Poor information’

Earlier this month, the ORR published a damning report about the timetable chaos that affected services in the north and south-east of England.

Ms Whittington said: “The inquiry found that passengers had been let down by the failures of the rail industry.

“The industry placed engineering and planning concerns ahead of serving its passengers, and that was made worse by the poor information train operators provided when disruption happened.”

ORR chairman, Stephen Glaister, who carried out the review into the timetable chaos, is also stepping down from his role to return to the ORR’s board at the end of the year.

He will be replaced by Declan Collier, who used to be the chief executive of London City Airport.

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