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
- BRB press officer Graham Coombs has been appointed director of
communications for the Railway Industry Association.