Chief Executive UK Ultraspeed


UK Ultraspeed (UKU) was the brand name of a 840km strategic infrastructure project, funded by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, linking all the major cities of Britain with a new intercity passenger transport network using 500 km/h maglev instead of 300 km/h conventional high speed rail. Introductory videos are here and here.

UKU was initiated and led by Alan James . His role included direction, leadership and P&L sign-off for the multi-million planning and promotional phases of the Western world’s most highly developed business case for ‘next generation’ ground transport.

UKU used the German developed Transrapid magnetic levitation maglev system. Maglev travels at 500 km/h (311 mph), compared to 300 km/h – 330 km/h (186 - 204 mph) TGV-style trains.


TR09 Canal Trees Greenery

Funded by the maglev technology owners, Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, the role of Expert Alliance was to develop and promote this multi-billion dollar infrastructure programme as the “Faster, Better, Cheaper and Greener” investment option for Britain’s strategic transport. Leading this assignment, Alan James' mission was to take the project to the point of 100% readiness for competitive procurement. This was achieved in 2010.

UKU Small Image 2

In a genuinely strategic leadership role, Alan’s task as CEO was to lead and drive the project from its beginning as a concept on a single sheet of paper, to ‘battle-readiness’ for competitive procurement. This involved enlisting the private sector multinationals who own the technology as funding partners, and then producing and delivering the entire UK Ultraspeed business case to meet public policy objectives.

Alan acted personally as the chief point of contact for Government. This role included one-on-one sessions with the Prime Minister and First Minister of Scotland, and with successive Secretaries of State for Transport and top tier Civil Servants. In 2008 – 10, he led the team instructed by the (then) Shadow Secretary of State to produce a detailed case for a high speed link from London to Northern England. He was also responsible for generating and fronting broadcast, print media and influencing campaigns, with special emphasis on building regional support for a national high speed transport scheme.

The work covered all aspects of Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Maintain (DBFOM), and all the in-depth financial, commercial, engineering, organisational and environmental data underpinning the case.

In Scotland, very considerable progress was made with a £2bn, sub-15 minute, Glasgow – Edinburgh ‘Stage 1’ route, until the global banking crisis put paid to the PPP then proposed to finance it. The introductory video is here.

To summarise: Alan personally initiated the UK Ultraspeed project, secured its substantial financial backing, wrote the business plan, and then assembled and directed multi-disciplinary teams, under Expert Alliance leadership, which delivered the technical, engineering, business and project finance case for a multi-billion strategic infrastructure investment.

Expert Alliance carried full sign-off authority and P&L responsibility for every aspect of the planning and promotional phases of one of Europe’s largest strategic infrastructure projects. Alan spearheaded it in person at the very highest levels of Government, Civil Service and multinational business.

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