Top North East infrastructure and business bosses gear up to debate regional transport

The Journal and The Gazette's Transport Links Breakfast on September 25 brings together a stellar panel of senior figures in the North East

Helen Logan of Recognition PR Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited, which organised The Tees Valley Business Summit
Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited

An unrivalled opportunity to hear a group of the North East’s most senior figures in the world of infrastructure debate the region’s transport issues is drawing closer

Top infrastructure and business leaders are gearing up to share their views on the state of North East transport links at The Journal and The Gazette’s Transport Links Breakfast in association with East Coast.

The event takes place on September 25 at County Durham’s Ramside Hall, and offers businesses a unique opportunity to hear from top-level figures in the world of North East transport.

So far the roster includes:

  • Martin Turner, head of Sales, East Coast;
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick upon Tweed and director of the Dual the A1 Campaign Group;
  • Rachel Turnbull, chief executive office of TT2 Limited (Tyne Tunnels);
  • Stephen Catchpole, chief executive of Tees Valley Unlimited Local Enterprise Partnership;
  • Graeme Mason, planning and corporate affairs director at Newcastle International Airport;
  • Matthew Hunt, Port director at Port of Sunderland

Debate chair Graham Robb has described the panel as the “best panel possible line-up” to discuss transport issues facing the region.

TT2 Limited’s Rachel Turnbull has overseen one of the region’s biggest Public Private Partnership infrastructure projects - the reconfigured Tyne Tunnels and has steered the £360m to deliver returns for investors. The former accountant has been involved with the Tyne Tunnels project since its inception in 2007 and has managed the transition of Tyne Tunnel operations from the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority to TT2.

Elsewhere on the panel, Stephen Catchpole will provide the voice of the Tees Valley within the debate. The trained solicitor has led the Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) LEP for more than three years - spearheading much of the area’s regeneration - including transport developments.

Under his leadership, TVU - one of the first LEPs in the country to gain Government approval in 2010 - has overseen schemes to create thousands of jobs, boost skills and drive investment.

Bringing a wealth of knowledge and insight from the air travel industry is Graeme Mason, Newcastle International Airport’s planning and corporate affairs director. Graeme is often to be seen and heard in local and national media commenting on matters of a regional and international nature when it comes to air travel. Along with Airport chief executive David Laws, Graeme has been at the forefront of Newcastle International’s extensive masterplan - which maps out the airport’s vision up to 2030 to accommodate an estimated 8.5m passengers. Speaking as sponsor of the event, an East Coast spokesperson said: “With 19m passenger journeys a year, every journey counts and East Coast is dedicated to making its customers feel at home and providing unrivalled comfort and service.

“This is especially true for the business traveller, where East Coast offers dedicated first class lounges with complimentary tea, coffee and improved wi-fi, as well as at-table service in the very comfortable First Class coaches on the trains themselves, where complimentary food and drink is also served.

“The East Coast wi-fi service is connected throughout the East Coast mainline, even at 125mph, and to ensure the latest speeds are available with the 4G network, East Coast has upgraded its system with an investment of £2.2m.

“The East Coast route pioneered wi-fi on a moving train in the UK in 2003, delivering for the first time a ‘mobile office’ environment where passengers could send and receive email and surf the Internet during their journey.

“The system quickly became very popular, and was credited with giving business travellers a key advantage as users could stay connected and productive throughout their entire journey, unlike those choosing to drive or fly between the major cities served by its trains.”

The Transport Breakfast takes place on September 25 at Ramside Hall Hotel, County Durham, from 7.30am – 10.30am.

To reserve your table/tickets, or for further information log onto Alternatively contact Lesley Hampson, event manager on 0191 201 6435 or email


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