Roger Cobbe

Roger Cobbe

Policy Director, Arriva Trains


Roger Cobbe is Policy Director for Arriva Trains, working primarily on business development and senior stakeholder relations. This includes franchise/concession bidding in the UK and mainland Europe, business restructuring and train procurement.

He had a leading role in Arriva’s successful bid for the CrossCountry franchise awarded in 2007 and, in 2003, he led Arriva’s winning bid for the Wales & Borders franchise, together with the subsequent mobilisation process that delivered a smooth start on the agreed date.

Roger has also been closely involved in concession bidding in the Netherlands and Denmark, together with train procurement and other development projects to support Arriva’s expanding mainland Europe rail activities.

Roger is Arriva’s member of the ATOC Board and also of the cross-rail industry National Task Force. He was chosen by ATOC to be the UK representative on the Community of European Railways (CER) Management Committee in Brussels, of which he has been made Vice President, and the UK representative on the European Management Committee of the UIC in Paris.

Roger joined British Rail (BR) in 1989 and, until 1994, was Service Group Manager, Yorkshire for the Regional Railways division, responsible for service planning, marketing and the business performance of a portfolio of regional express, urban and rural services across much of Northern England.

He directed the development and expansion of the Trans-Pennine Express services, increasing passenger numbers from 9 to 40 million per year and worked in partnership with Passenger Transport Executives in West and South Yorkshire to improve the commuter networks in these areas operated by BR under contract.

He also established community rail partnerships to support and develop rural lines and picked up the challenge of creating a new and partnership-based future for the Settle-Carlisle line.

Prior to this, Roger worked for 10 years at West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, involved with the planning, management and financial support of rail, light rail and bus services.

A key achievement of this period was the West Yorkshire Rail Strategy of 1986, ending a period of uncertainty about the role and value of train services. This set the basis for over 20 years of rapid growth in the rail business, supporting the emergence of Leeds as a major economic centre.

He started his career at Nottinghamshire County Council’s public transport unit, where from 1974 to 1979 he dealt with bus subsidies and service planning, together with related bus priorities, pedestrianisation and traffic management against a highly contentious political background.