East West Railway Company appoints two new non-executive Directors

East West Railway Company (EWR Co) has appointed Professor Lynette J Ryals, OBE and Joanna Whittington as non-executive Directors of the Company. Their appointment took effect from 1 November 2020.  

Professor Ryals, MK:U Chief Executive, is leading the development of a proposed STEM-focused university in Milton Keynes and combines extensive leadership experience with a demonstrable commitment to driving the regional development which sits at the heart of the East West Rail Project. She was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for services to Higher Education.  

Ms Whittington is Director General, Energy and Security at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Her previous roles include CEO of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), and she has used her considerable knowledge of railway markets and economics to spearhead projects and improve standards across several organisations.  

Rob Brighouse, Interim Chair of the East West Railway Company, said: East West Rail will help to create an unrivalled knowledge arc, using new infrastructure and innovative technology to link internationally renowned science parks and world-beating universities. Lynette and Joanna both bring with them the kind of passion and experience which will help to guide EWR Co as we look to deliver an exciting new rail link. I am sincerely looking forward to welcoming them both into the NED team."

Professor Lynette J Ryals, OBE, MK:U Chief Executive and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University, said: “I’m delighted to be involved in this important and innovative infrastructure project which will bring sustainable transport to residents and businesses, underpinning growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. I look forward to working as part of the EWR Co team and further developing our region’s mix of highly-planned transport infrastructure and new technology initiatives which has already become a model for smart living and an example for planners to follow internationally.” 

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East West Railway Company non-executive Directors 

  • Anne Baldock – an experienced non-executive director who has advised several company, charity and governmental boards. Previously partner and the global head of the Projects, Energy and Infrastructure Group at international law firm Allen & Overy LLP 

  • Dyan Crowther – Currently Chief Executive Officer at High Speed 1 (HS1), Dyan has over 30 years of experience working in the rail industry, including senior posts at train operators, Network Rail and British Rail. 

  • Simon Murray – coming from a long career in infrastructure development, spanning senior roles at Arup, BAA, TfL and Anglian Water Services, Simon is an experienced non-executive Director, formerly sitting on the Highways England Board. 


Link to photo of Professor Lynette J Ryals, OBE.
Link to photo of Joanna Whittington

About the East West Rail project 

East West Rail will create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge. Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads. 

Network Rail was responsible for developing the first stage in this project, connecting Oxford with Bicester, and is a partner in a construction alliance to develop the second stage of the route, where East West Railway Company (EWR Co) is acting as the Department for Transport’s sponsor. 

EWR Co is now developing the route to enable services to run to Cambridge via Bedford and will be seeking statutory powers under the Planning Act 2008, following a period of extensive consultation. 

About East West Railway Company 

East West Railway Company (EWR Co) was set up by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2018 to develop East West Rail, a railway with customers and communities at its core. 

We have a mission to innovate and challenge the status-quo in the rail and construction industries, leading to a more efficient and cost-effective project delivery, and a great experience for passengers and the communities we serve. 

Our distinctive outlook and commitment to doing the right thing for our customers and local communities runs through everything we do and every decision we make.