First TransPennine Express (FTPE) has appointed Nick Donovan as the company's new Managing Director.

Nick, 48, succeeds Vernon Barker OBE who was appointed as Managing Director of First Group's Rail Division in September.

Having joined the company as new trains project director, Nick has worked for FTPE since the start of its franchise in 2004. In this role he successfully managed the introduction of a new 51-strong fleet of Class 185 diesel trains.

Most recently Nick has been the company's Engineering Director, managing relationships with train maintenance suppliers, leading on environmental initiatives to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions and running some of the country's most reliable trains.

Nick commented: "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to take on the role and to build on the tremendous successes that have been achieved.

"FTPE has always been a company that has innovated and we are entering a really exciting period. There are a range of infrastructure projects upcoming and we are working closely with the Government to increase capacity and provide more carriages by 2014.

"My aim is to lead FTPE's already successful team through these great opportunities and provide an even better service to our customers."

FTPE and the Government reached agreement earlier this year to extend its original eight year franchise to 2015.

Announcing the appointment, Vernon Barker congratulated Nick on his new role saying: "I wish him continuing success in leading the company to rise to the exciting challenges of the franchise extension and beyond."

Nick joined British Rail as an Engineering Management trainee in 1981. He worked in project development and tendering in the UK, Australia and Taiwan, working for Alstom from 1997 and joined First Group in 2001.

In 2011 Nick completed the London to Paris bike ride in aid of the Railway Children and raised over £7000.00

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