Karen Letten

Associate Director

Karen has more than 20 years of experience in strategic and commercial issues in transport in the UK and in Continental Europe. Her transportation experience includes both high speed and classic rail. Her experience has been in both high speed and classic rail, and covers transaction advice, commercial due diligence, partnering and joint ventures, business and corporate strategy, strategic planning, business case development, franchise specification and procurement, stakeholder management and transformational change.

Prior to Steer, Karen was responsible for SNCB (Belgian Railways)’s international strategy, first as Deputy to the General Manager, later as Divisional Director International Partnerships and Joint Ventures (2008-2013). In close cooperation with other international railways she worked on successive projects to consolidate their Eurostar and Thalys businesses and to enable these ventures to operate in an open access environment. In 2013 Karen joined the UK Department for Transport as Project Director for the Rail Franchising Programme. In that capacity she acquired a good understanding of the franchising process and the characteristics of sustainable franchise proposals. Karen also acted as reviewer of major projects for the Infrastructure and Project Authority (IPA). In 2018 Karen became Corporate Strategy Officer for SNCB responsible for the development of a transversal strategy to guide SNCB through the changes in industry structure and market dynamics that would result from the 4th railway package (liberalisation of the domestic rail market). 

At Steer, Karen will be working on strategic and commercial issues both in the UK and in Continental Europe and will focus on leveraging Steer’s industry expertise to help clients with market opportunities in Europe.

Articles and insights by this expert

15 Dec 2021

Steer report helps European Commission develop action plan to boost long-distance and cross border passenger rail.

On 14th December, the European Commission published its Action Plan to boost long-distance and cross-border passenger rail. The Plan comprises a detailed list of initiatives building on the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.  The Steer report on ‘Long-distance cross-border passenger rail services’, which identified a range of potential measures to develop these services, enabled the development of the Action Plan.

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29 Jan 2021

Steer commissioned to conduct study on cross-border long-distance trains in Europe

In November 2019, the European Commission declared its commitment to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 (the European Green Deal). The Green Deal is a response to the challenges presented by atmospheric warming, climate change, destruction of habitats and extinction of species, and has major implications for transport policy.

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29 Oct 2019

Karen Letten joins Steer to lead its European rail market

Steer is pleased to welcome Karen Letten as European Rail Market Leader in the London office. Karen has more than 20 years of experience addressing strategic and commercial issues in transport in the UK and in Continental Europe. 

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10 Sep 2019

Open access on the verge of success?

The European Union’s first three legislative railway “packages” liberalised international freight from 2006, domestic freight from 2007, and international passenger services from 2010. The fourth railway package, adopted in 2016, will liberalise domestic passenger services from December 2020 by permitting “open access” throughout the EU, subject only to a test that these services do not affect the “economic equilibrium” of a supported Public Service Contract (PSC).

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