Former Crossrail boss appointed to Cambridgeshire metro scheme

PUBLISHED: 16:38 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:48 26 August 2020

Simon Wright OBE, a former Crossrail boss, has been appointed to support the development of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro. Pictures: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Simon Wright OBE, a former Crossrail boss, has been appointed to support the development of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro. Pictures: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Archant

A former Crossrail boss has been appointed to support the development of Cambridgeshire’s metro.

A glimpse of what Cambridge travel might look like in coming years. Picture: GREATER CAMBRIDGE PARTNERSHIPA glimpse of what Cambridge travel might look like in coming years. Picture: GREATER CAMBRIDGE PARTNERSHIP

Simon Wright OBE will work on a part time consultancy basis on the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro project, which is set to be delivered between 2023 and 2029.

The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority says he joins the scheme at an ‘important phase’ and has ‘considerable experience in delivering multi-billion pound infrastructure programmes’

His role will involve providing ‘strategic input into the development of a “One CAM” strategy which is bringing the programme’s component projects together in an integrated scheme’.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Wright said: “This is a highly innovative, bespoke transport concept for the region and there are few other systems in the world quite like it.

James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
 Pictures: Richard MarshamJames Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Pictures: Richard Marsham

“But the method of delivery, through a special purpose vehicle, is very familiar and my job will be to challenge how the CAM develops in a positive way.

He added: “That means asking the right, and sometimes difficult, questions to ensure that the assumptions that the scheme are based on are always sound and that the innovative thinking required also leads to cost effective and efficient delivery of a reliable system.”

In November 2018, it was reported in the national press that Mr Wright was stepping down as the chief executive of Crossrail ‘as planned’ having been in the position for nine months. Overall, he had been working on the scheme since the summer of 2014.

He was Director of Infrastructure and Utilities at the Olympic Delivery Authority for six years leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A map of the CAM Metro. Picture; CAPCAA map of the CAM Metro. Picture; CAPCA

Between 2013 and 2014, he handled the £3 billion redevelopment of Euston railway station.

James Palmer, the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Simon, who brings a wealth of invaluable and highly relevant experience gained from the delivery of major infrastructure programmes.

“CAM is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UK and a world-first. We need leading people who can combine the bold new thinking necessary with a clear-eyed focus on practical delivery. Simon’s role will be to challenge and improve how CAM is developed.

“Harnessing and deploying the right expertise and talent at the right time will be critical to building the CAM. We are now working to recruit an outstanding Chair and Board for our new special purpose vehicle and we expect to attract more leading minds locally, nationally and globally because of the innovative nature of this scheme.”

Earlier this month, the leader of Cambridge City Council Cllr Lewis Herbert warned the metro’s completion could be delayed by years and called for a clarification on time scales.


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