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TransPennine Express boss to leave struggling rail firm

Credit: PA

The boss of struggling rail operator TransPennine Express (TPE) will leave his role on Thursday, its owner has announced.

Managing director Leo Goodwin will be "leaving the business... to pursue opportunities outside the group", First Rail said.

There has been major disruption on TPE services since new timetables were introduced on December 15.

Industry figures show just 39% of scheduled station stops were made within one minute of the timetable between December 8 and January 4, compared with the average across Britain of 62%.

The firm has blamed train faults and crew shortages for causing disruption.

Leo Goodwin is leaving TransPennine Express. Credit: PA

First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leo for his contribution to First Rail. We wish him every success in his future career."

TPE finance director Liz Collins will act as the interim managing director while the operator seeks a permanent successor for Mr Goodwin.

Henri Murison, director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which represents businesses and civic leaders, said: "The changes made by First Group, with Leo Goodwin leaving his position as managing director of TransPennine Express, is a welcome signal that the reckless shambles of the last December timetable change and previous errors in leadership, such as resisting legitimate press and wider scrutiny, have been rightly put at his door.

"He was warned by elected leaders in West Yorkshire, he was warned by experienced operational leaders in the rail industry; yet he still started running a timetable without necessary workforce agreements or enough trained drivers for instance.

"The wider First Rail business have an otherwise much better reputation on other parts of the rail network.

"It is right to assume that as they are getting a grip that improvements for their long-suffering customers here in the North can't be far behind, with engineering work linked to TransPennine route upgrade in the coming years requiring a customer-focused business working in close partnership with Network Rail."