Ministers should be held to account

October 4th, 2012 Times 3 comments
This was a train crash waiting to happen. The franchise process, an invention more suited for KFC than railways, has long been creaking more loudly than a Victorian train carriage. The East Coast Main Line franchise has been “temporarily” renationalised since 2009. And now we have the waste of £40 million on the abortive West Coast bidding process. Eight train operators are also in “special measures” and receiving funds to cut ...

Rail 705: Greening pays the price for principles

September 15th, 2012 Rail Magazine 2 comments
Here we go again. Another year, another transport secretary. For no fault of her own except to stick by government policy, the latest incumbent of that hot seat, Secretary of State for Transport, has been despatched to International Development, apparently spitting furiously that she did not go into politics ‘to hand out aid money’. Apart from the fact that rather suggests Ms Greening was not quite as nice as some people ...

Rail 704: rail industry’s annual report card

August 31st, 2012 Rail Magazine no comments
This is fun. Really fun. It’s time for the annual assessment of how the railway school has performed over the past year and to look at new arrivals and old departures, and boy oh boy, have we had an eventful time. There was a period in the middle of the school year when the railways never seemed out of the news with fares rises, franchise hiccups, HS2, investment plans, electrification ...

The future’s electric

July 17th, 2012 Daily Telegraph 16 comments
Jimmy Savile was wrong. This is the age of the train, rather than the late   Seventies/early Eighties when he was the face of British Rail advertising   and immortalised that slogan. The huge prominence given to yesterday’s announcement of the investment   programme for the railways shows how far we have come from the dog days of   the Beeching cuts and the decades that followed, years in which British   Rail’s finances were ...

Greening gets a taste of her own medicine from ATOC

April 16th, 2012 Christian Says 4 comments
Having been rapped on the knuckles in my one ever (short) conversation with Justine Greening, I take some pleasure from the fact that she has had the same treatment meted out to her by the normally supine ATOC. My verbal bashing as I have reported before, came at the press conference to launch the government's long awaited Command Paper. I had the temerity to suggest that Paper did not seem to ...

Rail 692: Command paper as bland as MacDonalds

March 15th, 2012 Rail Magazine 15 comments
I had expected better. Justine Greening, the transport secretary, is clearly a sharp cookie and has picked up her brief assiduously and rapidly. However, in publishing the long-awaited Command Paper, Putting the customer first, she has clearly allowed the civil servants free rein to produce a document as anodyne as a MacDonald’s hamburger without relish. Any hard decisions have been postponed until later in the year when we hear what ...

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