From platform to parliament – SWR’s Chris Loder is elected West Dorset MP

Chris Loder, 38, Head of New Trains at South Western Railway has been elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for his home constituency of West Dorset. He won with a record number of 33,589 votes cast – the highest mandate ever recorded for a West Dorset MP since the constituency was created in 1885.

Chris, a non-graduate, began his career as a station assistant at Salisbury and then train guard on the West of England line with South West Trains before going into management. He leaves behind a railway career spanning 20 years to be MP for a constituency that covers the West of England and Heart of Wessex lines, including his home town of Sherborne, Maiden Newton and Dorchester.

Chris said: “Keeping the country moving and the economy thriving by rail is a vocation for many of us and I’m sad to be leaving the railway, which has been part of my life for the last 20 years. However, the time has come to open a new chapter, and as the only MP to have worked extensively on the railway, I shall be sure to champion transport reform and to challenge the parts of it that need to improve, while finding ways to make sure our staff in this industry have a proper voice in parliament”.

As somebody with huge personal commitment to the railway, Chris was the original founder of the Young Rail Professionals, former Chairman of the Institution of Railway Operators in the South East and a Director of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. His career highlights include heading the operation of c2c when he was just 25, then spending time with Chiltern Railways and Deutsche Bahn before returning to SWT in 2012 to lead service planning, commercial and latterly the new trains teams.