Nick Illsley interviewed by Michael Robson

Michael A. Robson

Oral history interview with Nick Illsley, conducted and recorded by Michael Robson in London on 28 June 2019. Duration: 1 hr. 21 min. 04 sec. Career overview; Department for Transport (DfT) view on privatisation; separation of Thames and Chiltern; Adrian Shooter (Managing Director); West Midland Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE); preparation of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for franchising; on bidding and conflict of interest rules; Virgin bid for Thames; finance; differences of approach to ITT; Chair of Ticket and Settlement Management Group; Philip Benham; Computer Analysis of Passenger Revenue Information System (CAPRI); Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services (ORCATS); management buyout (MBO); Go Ahead; purchase of shares; relationship changes as privatisation progressed Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 payments; Chief Executive Officer National Rail Enquiries Service (NRES); British Telecom (BT); Serco; revenue growth; move to Transport Direct; future of rail industry

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.