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Home Guest Writers Introducing Kelly Rail’s new Rail Operations Director for the North

Introducing Kelly Rail’s new Rail Operations Director for the North

Part of telecommunications specialist Kelly Group, Kelly Rail was established in the early 2000s. Today, the business is a principal contractor to all major UK rail industry service providers, delivering customer-focused, multidisciplinary solutions.

As it continues to gain momentum, Kelly Rail has appointed a new senior leadership team – including Rail Operations Director for the North, Ali Fagan. In this guest writer feature, Ali reflects on his long and eventful career at Kelly Group, looks at some of its recent projects, and outlines his goals for the future.

It’s been an exciting year for Kelly Rail, and a recent restructure – during which I was appointed rail operations director for the north – has streamlined and strengthened our team.


A longstanding career with Kelly Group

I was a telecoms engineer when I joined Kelly Group 28 years ago, and cut my teeth with United Artists, running fibre and copper for their new network. United Artists would eventually merge with a range of other cable TV service providers, before becoming Virgin Media.

I built on this experience in the years that followed, looking after MDUs in a supervisory role, and later becoming regional manager for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Manchester for our client, Atlantic Telecom. I’d been with the group for eight years when I moved to Kelly Rail.

Key projects

My first project with Kelly Rail was the migration works on FTN for copper and fibre, direct for Network Rail as a principal contractor. Of the many programmes I’ve overseen, this stands out – as do the signalling works for Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which we delivered successfully and on time.

After working on London underground for a few years, a re-signalling project in Colchester marked the end of my career in south England. I subsequently moved back to Glasgow, starting work on Kelly Rail’s BT sunset nationwide contract for NRT. This was a challenging project which we delivered collaboratively with NRT’s team.

A new role in an expanding business

Today, my role as regional operations director involves managing a range of important clients, and working closely with our two senior project managers.

Kelly Rail continues to expand, and 2022 has seen us take on some exciting new projects. As part of our strong partnership with BAM Nuttall, we are currently supplying and installing Station Information Security Systems (SISS) and Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) solutions for two new stations – Inverness Airport and East Linton.

Supporting decarbonisation goals

While Kelly Rail is renowned for CCTV, media installations, and maintenance, we also continue to build our reputation as a truly multi-disciplinary contractor. Working alongside Siemens Rail, the team recently helped to deliver the new comms network on the Borders Railway. We are currently supporting siemens on the Edinburgh trams, which will see the tram line extended as far as Leith, reaching suburban areas. This supports both ECC (Energy Consumers Commission) plans to electrify the whole city, and Scotland’s wider decarbonisation efforts. 

As part of our drive to reach net zero, Kelly Rail has also installed electrical vehicle charge points in stations across Scotland – including the newly-upgraded Kintore Station. Closed in 1964 and reopened on a new site in 2020, it now boasts 24 EV charging podiums – as well as a battery backup system that will enable the station to continue operating in the event of a power cut.

Surveillance solutions for Scotland’s stations

At Kelly Rail, we’re also committed to making railways safer – and I’m particularly proud of our involvement in a new nationwide CCTV scheme. This ambitious project will see us install replacement and additional 240 CCTV cameras in 59 stations across Scotland, working closely with our partner, Johnson Controls. The coverage these cameras provide will allow for anti-trespassing analytics to be fed back to local teams, notifying them of antisocial or suicidal behaviour on platforms.

Finally, Kelly Rail is re-establishing itself in Northern Ireland, and was recently involved in a civils, fibre, and copper telecoms project for Babcock.

Embracing change

These projects are testament to the breadth of our team’s skillset. They also reflect Kelly Rail’s commitment to embracing change; indeed, one of my goals as a regional operations director is to ensure that we move with the times, staying abreast of new developments.

Equally important is cementing our reputation as a leading multidisciplinary supplier to the rail industry, which we will achieve by continuing to deliver projects cost and time-efficiently.

To learn more about Kelly Rail, visit

Photo credit: Kelly Rail

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