Sir Michael Holden interviewed by Frank Paterson

Frank Paterson

Oral history interview with Sir Michael Holden, conducted and recorded by Frank Paterson at the Union Jack Club, London, on 27 November 2018. Duration: 2 hr. 43 min. 10 sec. British Rail (BR) Traffic Student 1974; marketing Southern Region; Assistant Station Manager; staff relations; Station Manager Twickenham; engineering works experience; Clapham Junction; Assistant Station Manager King's Cross; Motorail; Class 43 High Speed Train (HST) coolant problems 1984; Area Customer Services Manager Slough; Area Manager Watford; driver only operation (DOO) Northampton; South Western Operations Manager; preparation for sectorisation; DOO safety issues; vertical integration; central control of marketing; considerations about move to Railtrack; signalling strike 1994; Zone Director East Anglia; Railtrack Investment Panel; zone team; relationships with train operating companies (TOCs); penalty regimes; minimum changes on privatisation; operational train performance improved; McKinseys consultancy; Zone Director Southern; Hatfield accident; Ladbroke Grove accident; collapse of Railtrack; renewal shortfalls; Railtrack in Administration; Managing Director South Eastern; early retirement; consultancy; Directly Operated Railways (DOR) East Coast; reflections; Williams Review

One of over 150 oral history recordings made as part of the Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) archive project. BRAC was set-up to cover gaps in documenting the railway privatisation process in the United Kingdom, between 1994 and 1997, when the government-owned British Rail was dismantled into over 100 privately-owned companies. The interviews capture the recollections of people involved in the planning and implementation of the privatisation process, the management of change and running the railway during privatisation.


Oral Histories
Object Number:
oral history interview
Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) oral history archive, created in partnership with the Friends of the National Railway Museum, the Retired Railway Officers’ Society and the National Railway Museum.