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Ben Harding - Strategy Director

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Ben Harding B.Eng, C.Eng, FIMechE, FCIRO, FCILT, FRSA, MICP&EM

Ben has over 40 years’ experience in the railway industry, with 30 of these spent at senior management and board level. Ben specialises in operations, engineering, customer service, safety, bid management and delivery, and incident investigation. His experience in these areas extends to both heavy and light rail environments in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North America.


Ben has developed North Star’s strategic consultancy capabilities. He has assisted two airports in their strategic plans for rail, worked on several bids in the Middle East, Europe and the UK, providing bid management, independent review and specialist operations input, and has undertaken three expert witness commissions in the Middle East and UK. Ben has worked on two DfT framework projects including leading the North Star team on the CrossCountry franchise Direct Award, and provided specialist operations and safety input to two major train operating companies. Ben has also supported the nationwide ERTMS projects in Denmark and Norway.


Ben began his career in the transport sector in 1973 with London Transport, where he stayed until 1996. Between 1983 to 1987, he was seconded to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) project where he formed part of the senior management team that led the service from the initial planning stages through to the first two years of revenue. In 1996, he was appointed Managing Director of Heathrow Express where he created an operating company and gained the necessary approvals to bring it the service into operation. He remained a non-executive director until 2013. In 2000, Ben joined Atkins as Operations Director for the Metronet bid team, which won two of the three franchises for the management and modernisation of London Underground's infrastructure. He remained with Metronet as Safety Director and as Vice President responsible for whole life asset management. Ben was an Atkins consultant from 2007 to 2015, working on projects in the UK and overseas.


Ben has made significant contributions to the railway profession outside of his employment. He was a board member of the Railway Division of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, becoming its Chair in 2000. He was a founding member of the Institution of Railway Operators, and has been a tutor at degree and diploma level for the Institution’s BSc Safety module and lead tutor for Customer Service. He was also a founding member of the Institute of Emergency Management on the basis of being a lecturer on the University of Hertfordshire’s degree course in emergency management.


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