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New Accommodation Opens for Unique West Midlands Transport Collaboration

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On Wednesday 10 October, the Grand Railway Collaboration (GRC) officially opened its new Collaboration Hub at Birmingham New Street station.

The space was the brainchild of Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director of West Midlands Rail Executive and John Robson, CrossCountry’s Regional Director West Midlands and North West, with strong support from the wider membership of the GRC. The idea behind the space was to provide GRC members a dedicated location that could also be used by other industry groups, the community, charities and social groups.

The hub is a neutral environment where frank discussions can be held about strategy, support and future plans.

Launched back in 2019, the GRC, is a unique partnership representing the West Midland’s six train operators, Network Rail’s Central route, the West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport Focus. The group are committed to working closely together to tackle performance, simplify rail fare structures, improve the passenger experience on trains and at stations, and deliver more efficient timetables.

Network Rail Central Route have wholeheartedly supported the initiative by providing the unit at New Street station and fitting it out with a toilet, kitchenette, chairs, tables and a screen. Mitie have agreed to maintain the area going forward.

Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director, West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “It is a fantastic space which is perfect for bringing colleagues from across the industry together, collaborating to make the railway better for passengers. I’m very grateful to all involved for their help in making this happen.”

John Robson, CrossCountry’s Regional Director West Midlands and North West, said: “The shared hub was important in bringing everyone together. My thanks go out to all those that supported the idea and in particular Network Rail Central for providing us with the space.”

Steven Ireland, head of stations, security and customer relationship management for Network Rail’s Central Route, said: “It’s great that we can take advantage of this unused space at Birmingham New Street, especially when it can be utilised for the benefit of colleagues across the industry. I’m looking forward to bumping into industry colleagues using the Hub, and I can’t wait to see what sort of cross-industry collaboration the new co-working area leads us to, as we strive to achieve great things within Central Route and the West Midlands.”



Pictured from left to right:

Martin Colmey – Operations Director, NWR

Malcolm Holmes – Executive Director, WMRE

Lucy Wootton – Head of GRC

John Robson – Regional Director, XC

Alex Warner – Chair of GRC

Karl Watts – Group President, Rail Ops Group

Eleni Jordan - Commercial & Customer Strategy Director, Chiltern Railways

Jonny Wiseman – Customer Experience Director, WMT