The senior railwayman whose vision could be key to the future prosperity of East Midlands manufacturers and suppliers over the next decade has been announced as the second keynote speaker at the 2017 Dinner at the Roundhouse event at Derby on Thursday, October 19.

He is Phil Verster, the newly-appointed Managing Director of the East West Link, the brand new multi-million pound ‘M25 railway’ being aggressively driven forward by Network Rail. It will connect the university cities of Cambridge and Oxford within the next decade.

Mr Verster, who made quite an impact as the former Managing Director of ScotRail, will explain how the new direct cross-country line will benefit the economies of East Anglia and the Home Counties, and provide large-scale employment during both the construction and operation phases.

Also on the platform at DATR will be Charles W Moorman, President and CEO of Amtrak – one of the world’s biggest railway operators with a turnover of around £4 billion – will be in Derby later this year as the keynote speaker at the Dinner the Roundhouse event.

Businessman and visionary Mr Moorman is flying over especially to the UK from the United States to reveal to the DATR audience how he manages a business that operates across 46 states.

Rarely away from controversy and working from an office that is just a stone’s throw from President Trump at White House in Washington, he will be offering advice to Derby rail businesses on how to deal with the effects of Brexit. He has plans for 185mph expresses, developing the busy Washington-New-York inter-city and commuter corridor where 2,200 trains run every single day… and line the UK trying to move towards profit.

Says Dinner at the Roundhouse organiser Howard Johnston: “We now have two highly significant figures on the world and UK stages.

The dinner is now confirmed as a major event in the 2017 business diary. It is also a big opportunity for everyone in Derby to rub shoulders with both UK government and key industry leaders about current and planned investments.”

The annual Dinner the Roundhouse – now in its 7th year – is the UK’s flagship railway networking event, and its supporters include Bombardier, Hitachi, Faiveley/Wabtec, SNC-Lavalin, Resonate, Linbrooke Services, Eversholt, Porterbrook, Arriva Train Care,  Arcadis, Comech, and Tecforce.

The 2017 Dinner at the Roundhouse on Thursday 19 October is the climax of a day when hundreds of senior figures will be visiting the city for a series of ‘Engine Room’ special events for the RFEM’s Annual Conference.

Derby has been hailed by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling as the Engine Room of Britain’s railways – so there can no better name for the East Midlands Rail Forum’s annual conference which is also taking place.

Dinner at the Roundhouse, which attracts top keynote speakers to the historic surroundings of the 1839 Roundhouse that is now within Derby College, is normally a sell-pout event with up to 600 attendees, and provides the unique chance for convivial informal networking until 1.30am.

The audience includes many of the UK’s major transport decision makers, including ministers, MPs, worldwide manufacturers, passenger and freight train operators, rolling stock leasing companies, suppliers. Recent celebrity hosts have included Brian Blessed and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, so top quality entertainment is guaranteed.

It is the tradition that the Dinner’s keynote speakers are at the very highest level of the profession – recent attendees have included of Bombardier Transportation international CEOs Laurent Troger and Lutz Bertling, Brian Souter, Founder and Chairman of Stagecoach, Andrew Wolstenholme, CEO of London Crossrail (twice), Richard Parry-Jones, Chairman of Network Rail, Tim O’Toole, CEO of First Group, and Richard Brown, former Chief Executive Officer of Eurostar.

During the Engine Room day, a special RFEM Showcase in the adjacent Carriage Shop Theatre will highlight the work the body and its 150 business members employing 25,000 people are doing to support the development of the next generation of skilled workforce, growing exports and accelerating and supporting innovation.


To learn more about 2017 Dinner at the Roundhouse, and see pictures from 2016, go to mainspring.co.uk, or call 01733 367600.

Howard Johnston, Dinner at the Roundhouse, 01485 534081/07885 500883