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New General Manager appointed at heritage railway

A new General Manager has been appointed by the West Somerset Railway (WSR) plc following the departure of previous GM Paul Conibeare last year.

Justin Kerr-Peterson is a local Taunton railwayman and an active WSR volunteer. He has worked as a Senior Possession Strategy Manager, in Swindon, coordinating important track repair works since 2017 and, previously, as a senior manager for Network Rail.

He first joined the West Somerset Railway’s youth organisation as a keen teenage ‘tracker’ in 1998 and rose through the ranks to become a travelling ticket inspector when still at school, then becoming a guard whilst studying archaeology at Bournemouth University.

He joined the WSR’s commercial department full-time and worked as assistant to the General Manager and then deputy operating superintendent, before moving to a mainline railway job seven years ago.

West Somerset Railway plc Chairman, Jonathan Jones-Pratt, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Justin back to the WSR team. The board and I are sure he will show the strength, expertise, knowledge, values and commitment to the WSR that are required to take us forward for the next part of our railway journey together. 

“I am looking forward to working with him closely and I know our staff are also very pleased that we have appointed ‘one of our own’, too. This is another key milestone for the WSR as we rebuild our wonderful railway.”

Mr Kerr-Peterson said he was “thrilled and proud” to be re-joining the heritage railway: “The WSR holds a very special place in my heart having first starting volunteering back in 1998 as one of the first members of the Trackers Youth Group.

“Working for both Network Rail and Great Western Railway has given me a much wider appreciation of railways as a whole and the importance of having clear goals and how to achieve them.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the work of not only strengthening and re-building the railway’s family using my knowledge and skills, but also re-establishing the West Somerset Railway’s position in the premier league of UK heritage railways.”

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