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Industry welcomes Bowker as 'new broom' SRA chief

SWEEPING CHANGES are expected at the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) when Richard Bowker is confirmed as the new chairman, it was predicted this week.

Bowker is co-chairman of West Coast Main Line train operating franchise holder Virgin Rail as well as Virgin Group's commercial director.

His anticipated appointment is expected to be welcomed across the industry, although some at the SRA are said to be sceptical.

One train operator said: 'He is very bright and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry with a good understanding of financial and contractual aspects.'

But an SRA insider said Virgin Rail had a poor reputation within the authority, adding that many saw the firm as 'charlatans'. The source added that Bowker would have to make changes to get the SRA to work for him.

It is believed all SRA staff will have to reapply for their jobs under Bowker.

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