MERSEYRAIL has appointed a new managing director after Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde takes top position at West Midlands Trains.

Liverpool-born Andy Heath will take over the role after being at the company for twenty years.

Previously deputy managing director, Andy has also held the operations director position and has been a regional traincrew manager based in Colchester.

Both new jobs will begin on December 11.

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde said: “I have enjoyed my time at Merseyrail enormously.

"There’s a great team in place here, and staff are consistently willing to go the extra mile for the benefit of customers – I see this every day with my own eyes.

“Since the beginning of the concession in 2003, the business has been transformed.

“I’m now leaving it in the very capable hands of Andy, who I know will see Merseyrail continue to go from strength to strength.”

A new fleet of driver-only trains that will replace the current 40-year-old rolling stock in 2020.

This new stock has caused walk-outs from rail guards and drivers who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) - crisis talks have yet to reach a settlement.

Andy told the Globe: “I am extremely pleased to be taking on this new position, having worked at Merseyrail over the last two decades.

“During this time, we have delivered one of the best performing franchises in the country – an achievement that I will endeavour to maintain under my stewardship.

“My focus as managing director will be on three major projects: to deliver the new trains, modernise ticketing and improve customer facilities at our stations.

“This will not only drive Merseyrail’s success, but also support the ambitions of the Liverpool City Region.”

Frank Rogers, chief executive at Merseytravel said: “Jan has done an excellent job at pushing Merseyrail to the next level, having overseen a hugely successful period in the concession, which saw record high levels for performance, passenger satisfaction and fleet reliability.

“We wish him all the best for the future.

"Andy is a talented business leader and I have every confidence that he will build on Jan’s success, providing seamless continuity and drawing on his experience in the rail sector, the city region and the Merseyrail business overall."