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Amey's Cottrell aims to keep Tube Lines on track

Keith Cottrell is the managing director of new division Amey Tube Services, which became operational this month.

He talks to Joanna Booth

Why was Amey Tube Services created?

Following our acquisition of Jarvis's stake in Tube Lines it was felt that the company needed a dedicated division to reflect that twothird share. It won't affect the way Tube Lines operates - the appointment is internal to Amey.

What will your role involve?

I'll be the focus for accountability for the Tube Lines investment and operational responsibility.There are so many different parties involved in this contract, and everyone has a different perspective.Tube Lines is the second-largest investment worldwide for our parent company the Ferrovial Group so naturally it has a keen interest in how it performs.Previously, my role was part of a number of senior people's jobs, but this gives one point of contact.

Was it something you were working on in your previous role as managing director of Amey Ventures Investments?

Although Tube Lines was one of our investments, it was so large it stood outside our portfolio.

But I have a long history with Tube Lines. Before I joined Amey in 2002, I worked for the Bank of Ireland, arranging the financing for the original Tube Lines deal. Before that I was with Hyder Investments, when it was co-sponsor along with Amey, Bechtel and Jarvis. I suppose I've been associated with it since a year into the bidding process.

How has that level of familiarity helped in your new position?

I've heard all the different voices in the deal and it gives me a much wider perspective.My financial background has also been useful. I have the necessary knowledge of PPP structures and have sat on the boards of special-purpose companies.None has been as big as this, but the principles are there. I also have construction experience - I ran Hyder's construction arm back in 1994.

There has been much recent criticism of both Tube Lines and Metronet.How do you respond?

If you look at the general level of underinvestment in the Tube over recent years it is unsurprising that it can't be changed overnight. Big inroads have been made, but now is an early stage to judge in the span of a 30-year contract.You can't wave a magic wand.

Does Amey Tube Services have any projects other than Tube Lines?

I'm on the project company board for Croydon Tramlink. It's a long-term concession, and Transport for London is a party to that, so there's a synergy there.

We don't have involvement with other private finance rail initiatives and we're unlikely to in the near future.Amey's business focus has moved away from light rail projects.