THE chair of infrastructure manager Network Rail, Lord Peter Hendy, has been appointed as minister of state at the Department of Transport (DfT), joining the cabinet formed by Britain’s new prime minister, Sir Keir Starmer.

Hendy joined the board of Network Rail in 2015 from Transport for London (TfL), where he was commissioner from 2006 to 2015. He brings extensive rail industry experience to his new role as transport minister, unlike his recent predecessors at DfT under both Conservative and Labour administrations.

“In my opinion, Peter is the outstanding transport professional of his generation,” says Network Rail chief executive, Mr Andrew Haines, on social media.

“I know he will be a relentless champion for passengers and freight users, for the railway, and for rail’s contribution to economic growth.”

“It is rare to have an incoming minister with such a high level of operational experience and expertise even before starting the role,” says Mr Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA).

At DfT, Hendy will report to Ms Lousie Haigh, who was appointed as secretary of state for transport on July 5.