Adonis knows his trains

The new rail minister is Lord Adonis which is much better news than the appointment of his boss, Geoff Hoon – though to be fair to Hoon, apparently his father and grandfather were both railwaymen. Adonis is a real enthusiast for the railways and even reviewed my book, Fire & Steam, in Prospect http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/books/fire_steam_feb,08.shtml very favourably, though he could not resist an ill-informed jibe at British Rail.
Insiders who worked with him education say he is a charming chap who is a micromanager but a competent one. His two passions are schools and railways, and this is his dream job. He has a lot to sort out as I will outline in my next Rail column, but it is good news that there is someone in the post with a big brain and an ability to think outside the box. However, whether that means he will be willing to steer the Department away from the ridiculous procurement processes that are going to lead to expensive disasters on both the Intercity Express Project and Thameslink orders is another matter. He is, like everyone in New Labour obsessed with the private sector and the type of complex financial arrangements that have got us all into so much trouble.

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