Phil Kirkland, who was part of the team that assisted with the design and construction of Metro in the late 1970s, has been promoted internally after returning to the organisation in 2007. He brings with him over 35 years of railway industry experience.
Based at Metro’s operational base in South Gosforth in Newcastle, Phil, and his dedicated team, are responsible for the inspection, maintenance and renewal of all Metro’s tracks and other associated infrastructure.
The majority of Metro’s maintenance goes unnoticed by passengers – much of it takes place in the early hours – but it ensures that Metro keeps running safely, smoothly, and on time.
When periods of disruption do occur due to engineering problems it is the Metro infrastructure team’s job to solve those problems and make sure the repairs are done correctly.
Phil, 53, of Stocksfield in Northumberland, said: “Metro is a fantastic system and I am determined to make sure that continues.
“It’s hard to believe that since we laid the first tracks Metro is now almost 30 year-old and it needs now some modernisation. This is being addressed through a determined effort to apply investment, higher standards, innovation and a desire to continue to provide a safe and compliant railway system.
“Behind the scenes the family atmosphere is alive and well on Metro. Everyone knows each other. It is a true railway community.”
Metro Director, Mick Carbro, said: “This is a hugely important, safety critical role and Phil is absolutely the right man for the job. He has many years of invaluable experience in railway engineering and is passionate about the industry. We are delighted to have him at Metro.”
Phil’s 35 years as a career railwayman saw him seconded to Metro from British Rail in the late 1970s to assist with the design, conversion and construction of the network.
When Metro opened in 1980 Phil went back to British Rail and provided management roles in developing in track maintenance and renewal. He worked on the development of mechanised track work across Northern England and the electrification of the East Coast Mainline.
Other notable career highlights include being the engineer for the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway for five years, being track engineer for the West Highland line, and being appointed as production manager for the first ever high output track relaying train in the UK based on the West Coast Main line.