Working together for a better railway

A Conference by Rail Partners at RSN 2024

The highly successful 'Rail Partners' conference returns for the 2024 Rolling Stock Networking Event

The detail of the Rail Partners 2024 Conference will be added to this page two months prior to the show date.

Speakers | 2023

EVENT HOST: Mark Gaynor, Director of Operator Services, Rail Partners


Mark has most recently been the Head of Railway Strategy at the Rail Delivery Group where his focus was on improving the performance and planning of the railway. Mark also led on sustainability within RDG as a member of the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Taskforce – which has developed a vision for how the railway can fully decarbonise – and the Sustainable Rail Leadership Group.


Mark worked at the Department for Transport, before joining RDG in 2017.  During his time in the department he worked on issues including the development of road vehicle safety standards, introducing new tax systems and incentives to encourage cleaner vehicles, developing the business cases for rail electrification schemes and leading the rail input to the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy.

Andy Bagnall, Chief Executive, Rail Partners


Andy has over twenty years of experience within government, across the private sector and most recently as the Director General at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), where he coordinated policy and advocacy activities.


Andy has held a number of policy and communications jobs, initially joining Rail Delivery Group as the Director of Strategy and Communications and then becoming Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to this Andy was KPMG’s Director of External Affairs, and spent five years at the CBI as Director of Campaigns. He was previously a special adviser to the UK government, serving two cabinet ministers in three departments over four years.

Will Rogers, Managing Director, East Midlands Railway


Will is Managing Director of East Midlands Railway, operator of intercity and regional services from the East Midlands to London, Lincolnshire and Liverpool. Following 20 years in the rail industry, in a range of roles and companies, Will knows that trusting collaborative relationships with an unwavering focus on customers is at the heart of success.  He is passionate about leading his team to make a difference to customers and communities and leave a lasting legacy.


A chartered mechanical engineer, Will uses his curiosity and desire to understand how things work to find simple solutions to problems.  He is often found by his flipchart, marker in hand!


Outside work Will is a proud dad and uses his spare time to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside.

Shakil Ismail, Head of Fleet, Eversholt Rail


Shakil joined Eversholt Rail in 2014 and was appointed as the Head of Fleet in November 2021. He leads the Fleet Team as the primary technical interface with customers and suppliers along with the hands-on Asset Inspection team. The team provides a central point of knowledge for the fleet to input into innovation, climate solution and major asset uplift projects; all with the aim of preserving the residual value of our assets.


Shakil began his career on the railway at Bombardier Transportation in 2007 as a Graduate Trainee, developing into a Fleet Engineer with experience across various depots and operators around the UK. Shakil has an MEng in Electrical Engineering.

Elaine Clark, Chief Executive, Rail Forum


Elaine leads the Rail Forum team; she is responsible for the Rail Forum’s strategy and ensuring the delivery of a strong value proposition across all membership activities. A Chartered Engineer, Elaine has 40 years business and industry experience gained in the electricity, chemicals and skills development sectors.

Dan Taylor, Senior Policy Advisor, Transport Focus


Dan is the policy lead on rolling stock design at Transport Focus and has contributed to each of its research rolling stock projects seeking to understand passenger expectations of new and refurbished trains. He led Transport Focus’s work on the new Merseyrail trains and has recently worked with Porterbrook to identify passenger needs from their Turbostar refurbishment programme. He also works on a range of policy issues including accessibility, passenger information during disruption and personal security.

Jag Maitala, Programme Director, Rolling Stock, Department for Transport


Jag has worked in various parts of the rail industry for over 20 years. This has included working at Network Rail, TfL and DfT. He is currently accountable for DfT’s Rolling Stock policy and contracts, which includes the IET contract.


Previous roles have included introducing new trains into service, as well as optimising train maintenance regimes. Jag was also the Lead Specifier for Train Services and Rolling Stock for SWR franchise and Project Director for the CrossCountry contract.

Ben Woods, Director of Engineering Business Development, First Rail


Ben is the Engineering Business Development Director for First Rail, a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has 19 years of rolling stock experience, having started his career with Porterbrook Leasing where he was a project Engineer on Hayabusa – the world’s first high speed battery hybrid train.


Ben went on to be a Technical Support Engineer, Overhaul Project Manager and Depot Manager with East Midlands Trains before moving to Wales as Head of Engineering for Arriva Trains Wales. After a short spell as a Track RAM for NR, and a consultant for IPEX, he joined FirstGroup where he has successfully led the development of train service operations plans for South Western Railway, Trans Pennine Express and Great Western Railway, securing direct awards.


Ben is currently producing GWR’s future fleet and depots proposal which provides a pathway to meeting government’s ambition to remove diesel only trains by 2040 and achieve net zero by 2050. 

Rich Fisher, Head of Strategic Planning – Network and Integration, GBRTT


Rich has over 20 years’ of industry experience from a wide variety of roles within both train operators and Network Rail.  He currently leads on key aspects of the Long Term Strategy for Rail (including rolling stock, decarbonisation, operations and major programmes) which is seeking to examine how rail can contribute to key public priorities (environmental and financial sustainability, meeting customers’ needs and growing the economy).

Lorna McDonald, Head of Sales – Commuter, Hitachi


Lorna begun her career as a motor vehicle engineer before joining Humberside Police where she was the lead for community cohesion as well as a child protection officer. Lorna also spent time working in the Counter Terror Command in London. 


Having spent 22 years in policing, Lorna decided that joining the rail industry would be an exciting career change. After a year in central government at BEIS as the lead for the UK rail supply chain, she joined Hitachi as a business manager. 


Lorna is currently responsible for introducing battery technology into the UK rail market. Lorna is committed to supporting the UK supply chain and works alongside various rail trade associations supporting new entrants into the market place. 

Robert Tiller, Engineering Specialist, GB Railfreight


Rob started his railway career in 1976 as a BR Old Oak Common Apprentice and worked through to become Engineering Director of UK’s leading Railfreight business.


Rob is now responsible for the repower of EE class 56 locomotives to EMD class 69 and the design and award of the new Class 99 bimode, the future of UK rail freight traction.

Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director


Paul joined Eversholt UK Rails Group in 2006. Paul began his career on the railway at London Underground in 1999 as a Graduate Trainee. Following this he moved to South West Trains and worked on rolling stock maintenance and major projects. Paul was appointed as Client Services Director in January 2020 where he has responsibility for Fleet, Projects, Customer Engagement and Product Development.


Paul is a Chartered Engineer and fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers with BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering.

2024 – A Conference by Rail Partners




Simply turn up to this event.  Registering to attend RSN is all you need to access this promising event.

The conference – held upstairs, above the main exhibition hall – begins at circa 10am and runs through until circa 3pm. 

Exact timings will be published here in the conference timetable.

The speakers will be announced on this page and simultaneously by Rail Partners.


About the host

The mission of Rail Partners is to make the railway better by harnessing the expertise and creativity of private sector operators for the benefit of those who use the railway, passengers and freight customers, and those who pay for it, including taxpayers.


Rail Partners brings together independent owning groups, train and freight operating companies.

Between them, our Partners have hundreds of years of experience on Britain’s railway and have moved tens of billions of passengers and billions of pounds worth of goods.


Their experience, dedication, creativity and investment helped transform the industry over the last 25 years, they’re committed to ensuring a sustainable future for the industry, our customers and the wider economy.

Our partners are international transport companies delivering passenger and freight services globally.

Conference information

The Conference at RSN 2024 is not organised by Rolling Stock Networking and is organised by Rail Partners.

Rolling Stock Networking provides space to those third parties and each sub-event is entirely in the control of the respective organisers.

These complementary events in airline style seated format are expected to deliver a series of engaging programmes with a full programme of sub events during the day with speakers and topics focusing on the wider rail industry, its challenges and specifically in building a better railway.

What our customers are saying

“161 Brochures taken and 9 Zoom calls booked over 3 days next week – that is what I call networking!

“It has been an unbelievable event for me.”

– Martin Whitbread, the Orange Train Wash Company