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Profile David Hartshorne

Implementation manager for CTRL

Railtrack is getting increasingly keen to remind the world that the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is its project. Appointing David Hartshorne as CTRL implementation manager, reporting directly to project director Chris Jago, is the latest signal that it means business.

Hartshorne is a dynamic man of action inside and outside the office. He recently opted to beat the London commuting rush by donning leathers and investing in a Honda VFR superbike to dash across the Hammersmith Bridge from south west London to Union Railways' offices in Tottenham Court Road.

Hartshorne comes with more than 20 years of experience in construction. He started off in a design office with Howard Humphries before moving to property developer Stanhope and onto major projects with Trafalgar House and Kvaerner. He is one of the rare breed of Cranfield Business School MBA graduates that stay in the industry.

He is now getting his feet under his CTRL desk as Railtrack's eyes and ears on the ground, a task which clearly excites him.

'Implementation manager is a very good title for what I have to do here - it is more than just a straight construction director job,' explains Hartshorne. 'My role will be to protect Railtrack's interests and make sure it gets what it is paying for on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.'

However, he explains it is also vital that the project gives Railtrack what it wants and not what someone else might think it needs.

'It is the people on trains that complain. I have just come out of a PFI project which was all about service - putting together a deal with the ability to provide that service.'

Hartshorne's last job was with Kvaerner on the privately financed Queen Elizabeth hospital project in Greenwich. Before that he was on the £800M toll funded Vasco da Gama Bridge across the Tagus in Portugal which was completed last year. He describes this project, on which he acted as project director for concession company Lusoponte, as a massive success. This week Kvaerner sold its stake in the project to Infrastructure Trust of Australia (see News).

Under Hartshorne's direction Lusoponte brought the project in on time despite some very difficult moments, not least the falsework collapse of April 1997 which claimed seven lives, including that of UK suspension bridge expert Tony Freeman (NCE 17 April 1997).

'It was a very tragic accident, particularly as we had worked very hard to demonstrate better ways of doing things,' he explains. 'I am now utterly convinced that you can never drop safety down the priority list - and I'm happy to see that safety here is given the top priority.'

But of course just below on his priority list at CTRL is finishing on time and to budget, something Hartshorne is convinced is achievable. 'Lessons are being learnt in the construction industry,' he explains. 'I'm a great one for Egan and would like to see us becoming a demonstration project for the industry. Egan is all about the dissemination of good practice. It may not be new, it just that no one has written it down before.'

But although Hartshorne is now focusing on the CTRL, helping Railtrack towards purchasing the first section and working out its options for the second section into St Pancras, he is adamant that he has not joined Railtrack just for this project.

And while he is excited about the future with Railtrack, Hartshorne admits he misses the 'good days' spent with property developer Stanhope in the booming late Eighties. 'Construction seems a much more serious business now,' he jokes.

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