Working with Future Labs

You will work directly with at least one of the four Train Operating Companies within the Lab. Depending on your solution, we will pair you with the right match before the programme begins. Whilst on the programme, you will receive mentoring from a dedicated team of experts who are the right fit for your project throughout.

LNER is synonymous with some of the greatest moments in British rail history.

A rich heritage which incorporates pioneering firsts such as The Flying Scotsman, Mallard and Sir Nigel Gresley, we remain committed to our mission of continuing to transform rail travel. Our modern, eco-friendly fleet of Azuma trains set new, higher standards in comfort, reliability and customer experience and we constantly strive to understand and exceed the expectations of our customers now, and in the future.

Calling at more than 50 stations along almost a thousand miles of the East Coast route, LNER connects the major towns and cities between London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East of England and Scotland, and delivers over £2.3 billion of value to the UK per year. For every £1 spent running and investing in an LNER service, £2 is generated in economic value.

In the past year, LNER operated more than 50,000 services, saw 24 million passenger journeys and covered over 3,500 million miles . We’ve made huge inroads reducing our environmental impact, cutting our carbon emissions by 50% in the past five years alone, meaning we’re on track to achieving our goal of being net-zero by 2045. 
Our people are fundamental to our success, and with more than 3,000+ colleagues, we are proud to have been named a UK top employer for the fifth year in a row. We recognise the real benefits of a truly diverse, inclusive and representative workforce, that is reflective of the communities we serve.

TransPennine Express is an intercity rail provider with a vision to Take the North Further. Following an investment of more than £500m including the introduction of brand new Nova trains, we are continuing to transform rail services through high levels of performance, investment in stations, enhanced accessibility, measures to improve sustainability and more investment.

Our network is:  

North TransPennine – including Newcastle to Liverpool Lime Street, Redcar/Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport, Scarborough to York, Edinburgh to Newcastle and Hull to Liverpool Lime Street.

South TransPennine – including Cleethorpes to Liverpool Lime Street via Doncaster, Sheffield to Liverpool Lime Street, and Manchester Airport to Sheffield.

Anglo Scottish – including Liverpool to Glasgow, and Manchester Airport to Edinburgh.

Northern is the second largest train operating company in the UK running approximately 2,500 services a day, we manage over 460 stations, calling at over 500 across the north of England and transport 100 million people every year. We operate a fleet of over 360 trains (diesel, electric and bi-mode) which are maintained at our five Train Care Centres. This scale of our operation means we employ over 7000 people, our training academies in Leeds and Manchester are expected to train around 300 apprentices this year as part of our train driver and conductor training courses and in 2022 achieved “Main Provider” status with OFSTED. 

Southeastern operate one of the busiest rail networks in the country and plays a critical role in the UK’s transportation infrastructure, linking key towns and cities in Kent and East Sussex with London, and serving as a connective line for the commuter and the leisure travel markets.

Southeastern employs a workforce of 4,500 people, facilitating around 500,000 passenger journeys on weekdays and operating an average of 1,700 train services daily, servicing 180 stations with a fleet of 399 trains, including the UK’s first and currently only domestic highspeed service from London St Pancras into Kent. Since launching over 12 years ago, the highspeed line has cut journey times and played a significant role in the regeneration of the east Kent coast and Medway towns.

Southeastern’s extensive rail network spans a diverse region, encompassing thriving towns and cities including London, Canterbury, Ashford, Maidstone and Rochester, scenic rural landscapes and areas of outstanding natural beauty such as Kent’s North Downs, plus popular seaside towns including Margate, Hastings, Broadstairs and Whitstable as well as London commuter areas and 5 south east London boroughs.

Innovation leads

Ross Welham

Lead Digital Research & Innovation Manager


Ross has over 10 years experience of rail research and innovation.  With a background in academia, government and industry, he has a blend of expertise that can guide any stage of development. 

Before joining LNER in 2021 Ross guided government flagship innovation programmes, scoped multi-million pound research and innovation portfolios as well as penning investment cases for multi-billion pound transport schemes.  Since joining LNER, Ross has led the delivery of multiple research and innovation projects that have seen new to rail organisations embedded and new technologies rolled out.

Colin Kelly

Head of Continuous Improvement & Efficiency 

TransPennine Express

Colin has been with TransPennine (TPE) for 8 years, having previously spent 20 years in retail. Originally joining as eCommerce Manager, then moving into innovation, he has enjoyed working on innovation projects with most areas of the business. 

His roles often include Project Manager, allowing him to engage with digital and non-digital initiatives and collaborate with diverse colleagues and stakeholders. Having recently run a number of Innovation Roadshows across the TPE network, he was delighted with how engaged and insightful our colleagues are. Passionate about Future Labs, he sees it as an opportunity to tackle challenges collaboratively with Train Operators and supply chain experts to deliver innovative solutions for colleagues and customers.

Christine Lefroy-Owen

Innovation Manager


Christine has been in rail for 10 years and has spent all those years with Northern. Starting her career as a conductor working on board trains before spending time in Performance, she has personal experience of the challenges which Northern’s colleagues and customers face. Her experience and expertise lies in rail operations and performance, but she now works with teams across Northern.

Her expertise and insight was recognised when she was asked to sit on the Strategic Advisory Board at the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield. Christine is also passionate about people and has an interest in improving diversity and equality within rail. A life long learner, Christine is studying for a Master’s in Philosophy and is keen to see career, learning and development opportunities extended to all in rail who want them.

Daniel Taylor

Retail Transformation Manager


Daniel is new to the rail industry, having been part of Southeastern for the last 18 months. Before the railway, he spent his career within the retail sector and developing to be a qualified project manager, taking on roles within leadership and leading on numerous retail projects. Having come from an innovative industry, Daniel cannot wait to be part of this programme, to see how companies can contribute to this industry, keep customer at the heart of all conversations, and bring technology that will change the way we travel by rail, helping bring new users to rail and contribute to the overall recovery of the rail industry.

Working solely in a transformative role and with a fresh pair of eyes, he brings a new perspective and looks to see how we can evolve and lead the way within the travel industry.  Daniel also has a passion for people and progression, having mentored numerous individuals to progress their careers to the next level.

L Marks is a leading global innovation specialist which has created over 90 programs with its partners in Europe, Asia and North America. Founded in 2014 with an established presence in the UK and the US, L Marks has developed and delivered results-driven corporate innovation solutions, trusted by world-leading brands including BMW, Lloyd’s of London and Sodexo.

Through their award-winning Innovation Labs, L Marks’ partners have worked with over 400 start-ups with a successful deployment rate of over 76%. The L Marks New Ventures unit supports its clients to create and develop new revenue-generating businesses through its Venture Studio and transform their corporate culture within their Intra-Lab.

Building on its experience in innovation delivery, L Marks is expanding their advisory and capability development support through their recent acquisition of The Inovo Group, a US-based innovation consultancy with over 20 years of expertise in implementing scientific research and advanced analytics to guide organisations to succeed at strategic innovation.