James Henry Collins, known as Jim Collins, was born in 1952. He began his career in British Rail from 1971 to 1990 in operational roles, culminating in Area Manager Plymouth and Cornish Railways, and then he served as Personal Assistant to the British Railways Board Chairman Sir Robert Reid. Before privatisation in 1990 he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Thameslink train operating unit from 1990 to 1995. He then worked as Informed Traveller Project Director and subsequently as the Managing Director of Rail Direct between 1995 and 1998. He then moved to Railtrack (subsequently Network Rail) as Head of London Development serving from 1998 to 2003. He then joined the Strategic Rail Authority as Director of Franchise Specification and Planning. He has undertaken franchise bid work for Chiltern Railways and has been the Head of Rail for Steer Davies Gleave consultants from 2003 to 2018.