Austin takes up role with new transport unit

Chris Austin, British Railways Board’s director of policy and public affairs for the past four years, is joining the Westminster Communications Group, heading a new unit specialising in the railway industry.

Chris Austin, British Railways Board’s director of policy

and public affairs for the past four years, is joining the

Westminster Communications Group, heading a new unit specialising

in the railway industry.



The Newbridge Partnership will be 51 per cent owned by

Westminster Communications - BRB’s longstanding public affairs

adviser. The other 49 per cent will be held by Austin and fellow

director Richard Gibson, a BRB press officer who is moving over

with Austin next month.



Newbridge will work with Westminster’s existing transport unit

which already works for train operating company, Connex South

Central. Austin said Newbridge would be ’adding a new dimension,

focusing very much on the needs of the railway companies,

particularly the passenger transport companies.’



He confirmed he has had discussions with the Association of Train

Operating Companies, which is looking for a retained public

affairs consultancy (PR Week, 28 February).



Austin is one of seven people affected by the closure of BRB’s

public affairs department last week. With the transfer of the

last passenger franchise, ScotRail, to the private sector next

week BRB will cease to operate train services and retain only a

residual role.



- BRB press officer Graham Coombs has been appointed director of

communications for the Railway Industry Association.



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