A highly experienced transport executive has been appointed as the new Chair of the organisation representing the country’s light rail sector.
Stephen Edwards joins UKTram with a successful background in strategic development, business planning and operations management – most recently as Executive Director and Director General of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).
In a role with statutory responsibility for the delivery of public transport services across South Yorkshire, he was instrumental in securing over £1bn in funding from central government for a wide range of projects.
His high-profile appointment as Chair of UKTram will provide a major boost for the organisation. Managing Director, James Hammett, explained: “We are delighted that Stephen has agreed to take on the role as our organisation looks towards further growth and the delivery of an ambitious strategy for the future of light rail in the UK.
“Under previous Chairs, UKTram has gone from strength to strength. Stephen’s appointment will help drive the further evolution of the organisation as we strive to deliver even more benefits for members.
“His broad experience and extensive contacts will also prove invaluable as we step up efforts to promote tramways and similar transit systems as the most effective way to improve urban connectivity while reducing pollution and congestion and driving inward investment.”
Since joining the SYPTE in 2015, Stephen has led the promotion of the organisation across a diverse stakeholder group, acting as an ambassador and effectively representing it at a local, regional, and national level with government departments, the Transport Commissioner, commercial transport operators, and other formal bodies and organisations.
He’s also delivered a range of capital projects, including the first tram-train service in the UK and a £200 million light rail asset renewal project. More recently, he was responsible for the integration of SYPTE into the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.
On his latest role, Stephen said: “The case for light rail gets stronger by the day as we face the challenges of climate change and an increasing need to improve urban connectivity as a means to driving economic growth.
“I’m particularly looking forward to working with the UKTram team and colleagues from across the wider light rail sector to help remove the barriers to the future expansion of existing systems and proposed new tramways as part of the fully integrated public transport networks of the future.”
A graduate of the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he earned a BSc in Electronic Engineering, Stephen has since successfully completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and a Masters in Business Administration at City University Business School and Manchester Business School, respectively.
A former director and Chair of the Urban Transport Group, he has previously worked for Liberata UK Ltd and BT in a variety of roles.
James Hammett added: “In addition to welcoming Stephen to the role of Chair, on behalf of the board and our members, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lindsay Murphy, who has held the position on an interim basis, for all her hard work and support over the past few months.”