Turner & Townsend's rail director Martin Berry talks to us about the challenges he faces
You joined construction consultant Turner & Townsend last December from Railtrack. What does your new role entail?
My appointment to Turner & Townsend signifies the company's commitment to the rail sector. Primarily, my role is to aid development and growth across the UK in the rail and transportation sector.

What kind of projects are Turner & Townsend involved in?
We were involved in the opening of the new Manchester Piccadilly station, ensuring that it was on track to be opened in time for the Commonwealth Games. We also work with some other major stations on cost management schemes and have been involved in new train enhancements, specifically dealing with power supply upgrades.

We are currently working with London Underground on the Tube PPP. We also provide a consultancy service to Transport for London with regards to cost and project management.

You used to work at Laing and Gardiner & Theobald. Why did you decide to move from general construction to the rail sector?
I thrive on personal challenges and that is how I viewed a move into the rail industry. Over the past two years, there has been enormous change throughout the sector and a public desire for more consistency across the board.

I have always been interested in management, and the management side of the rail sector now faces new challenges to deliver growth in services and passenger numbers. I am really looking forward to the added responsibility of making sure we deliver on these.

What would you say to encourage somebody contemplating a career in construction?
First, it is very important to get rid of the "dirty builder" misconception surrounding construction. In this country, we're not very good at promoting how many diverse professions there are within the industry, apart from the seemingly glamorous world of architecture.

Personally, I have always had as much responsibility as I could handle and if you're good at what you do and determined enough, early challenges will come your way.

In the course of your career so far, what is the hardest project you have worked on?
Probably the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow. The sheer scale and complexity of the project were enormous – providing an upgrade to a live railway with the trains still running requires an incredible amount of planning.

Martin Berry

Age 40
Lives New Cross Gate, south-east London, with his wife and two children
Current job Director of rail at Turner & Townsend since December 2002
Employment history 1998-2002 principal contract manager at Railtrack; 1997-1998 project director at Laing; 1990-1995 senior project manager at Gardiner & Theobald; 1985-1989 planning manager at Taylor Woodrow, also involved with company’s construction management
Qualifications Degree in building and economics from the University of Salford
Interests Skiing, sailing, riding motorbikes