Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Shaken and stirred: DfT appoints 'Directors General' for Rail Group!

This announcement from the Department for Transport, via a number of chums…

Director General, Rail Group
Polly Payne and Ruth Hannant have been appointed as Directors General for Rail Group, joining DfT from the Department for Education where they currently lead the Government’s work on Higher Education reform. 

Polly and Ruth are a very well established job-share team who together bring extensive commercial, financial and strategic policy experience to DfT, having worked in a range of roles in HM Treasury, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Government Investments.

(Having had first-hand experience of colleagues undertaking a job-share role, this can work really well. And impressive that the DfT is prepared to create our first ever Directors General. 

More importantly the connection with the Department for Education will be especially valuable as the industry collectively seeks to improve skills and diversity, which will need the active support of the DfE. 

This is beginning to look inspired! Ed).

Director General, Resources and Strategy
After 6 months as Acting DG for Rail - Nick Joyce will be taking up the role as Director General, Resources and Strategy. He will succeed Jonathan Moor who is leaving DfT in December to go on secondment to the Canadian Government as Chief Financial Officer for the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Building on his experience both as Director of Corporate Finance and as Acting DG for Rail, Nick has been asked to strengthen and lead DfT's shareholding function for Network Rail, High Speed 2 Limited and Highways England.

Precise timings of handover will be determined shortly, but we expect that Ruth, Polly and Nick will be in post before the end of the year.

Director General, High Speed Rail and Major Projects

Clive Maxwell was appointed as Director General, High Speed Rail and Major Projects earlier this month. Clive will formally take up his role on 20th November.

Clive joins DfT from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where he has held the role of Director General, Energy Transformation since 2014. He has extensive experience of working across Government, including leading work in HM Treasury in response to the financial crisis, and on consumer and competition issues at the Office of Fair Trading.

Clive’s experience of infrastructure, regulation and delivery of complex programmes will be an asset to the Department. His recent responsibilities include overseeing a number of Government Major Projects, including on Smart Meters and Heat Networks, as well as leading wide-ranging policy on energy and tackling climate change.

As well as HS2, Clive will lead our work with Transport for the North on Northern Powerhouse Rail, and be responsible for East West Rail as well as working with Transport for London on the Crossrail 2 project.

(Another example of a helpful flow of talent between BEIS and DfT, both departments having a common interest in the success of the railway's supply chain. Ed)

Non-Executive Team
DfT have also been refreshing our Non-Executive team and the Prime Minister and Secretary of State have approved the following appointments to the DfT Board:
  • Ian King, CEO of BAE Systems from 2008 to 2017, to succeed Ed Smith as DfT Lead Non-Executive.
  • Richard Keys, Director of Merrill Lynch International and previously Senior Global Chief Accountant at PWC. Currently Non-Executive Director at NATS and Wessex Water. 
  • Tracey Westall, Executive Director at SCC (Specialist Computer Centres) and Non-Executive Director on Innovation Birmingham, TechUK and Governor of Birmingham City University.
  • Richard Aitken-Davies, an independent consultant with wide experience in Executive and Non-Executive roles in the infrastructure sector in particular in rail and electricity.
Ian, Richard, Tracey and Richard will join Tony Poulter to make up the Department’s Non-Executive team, and we expect them to take these roles from early-November.

All in all, much to be pleased with here. Good effort.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Thin gruel at DfT threatens Open Access!

Exciting news from Great Minster House!

This important announcement seen today…



We may safely assume that DfT's former chilly support for on-rail competition, will now be as stone-cold as their canteen food.

Hitachi goes on the front-foot!

This, from Hitachi, is impressive...


How many other suppliers would have done this and so quickly?

Great Western IEP Launch - the highs and lows...

A day of mixed blessings…














To put the carping to one side, eight years after the contract was originally signed the new trains are finally entering service. 

Therefore, on balance, very good news!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Pointless signs - East Midlands Parkway

Not so much a Pointless Sign…


…as a sign that missed its own point.

Wolmarried!

Wolmar wed today!


Any suggestions that this is a publicity stunt prior to the publication of his new book 'Railways and the Raj' have been strongly denied.

'Railways and the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India', is being launched at Daunt Books on the 30th October. Priced at a very reasonable £25, it is available… (That's quite enough gratuitous puffery, Ed).

Many congratulations to the happy couple: Deborah and Christian!

Railway Pride - Hampton Court

This from a Mr Penson...

What a reassuring sight to greet you on arrival at Hampton Court's platform 2.


As Henry Francis Lyte observed: 'Change and decay in all around I see'.

The Case of the Silent Krankie

The scene: A room at 221b Baker Street...

I am sure Watson, that you will have noted the significance of the Scottish Statement of Funds Available

But Holmes, the Scottish SoFA has yet to be published

That, Watson, is the significance!


Friday, 13 October 2017

Railway Pride Restored - Belper

This from the Weaver…

'Railway pride restored in Belper - thank you to all involved'.

Older Eye hands may remember this image from Belper in September.



Great joy!

Pictures from today!




Railway Pride is restored in Belper.

A reminder, as the late great Noel Coward might have said…

Railway Pride has been handed down to us.
Railway Pride is a flower that's free.
Railway Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.


Good effort!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Money behind SoFA bigger than expected!

Much rejoicing over the size of the Statement of Funds Available!

A cool £48bn for CP6, and apparently almost all of it on OMR.

Plaudits to RIA, RSG, RDG, RFG, RFEM, NR etc… for a job well done.

The devil of course will be in the detail!

Meanwhile, supply chain colleagues, SHARPEN YOUR PENCILS!

And then sharpen them again. And possibly still further!

Alas, there is a dark cloud…

Cynical Eye readers have been asking whether the disclaimer found on the government website this morning, announcing the SoFA allows DfT wriggle room?


Worrying if true!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pointless signs - Emergency Electrification!

A welcome return for Eye's occasional series of Pointless Signs!

This from Steady as She Goes…



Emergency electrification?

Has someone just discovered 'the Reading area' needs to be juiced?

Steve Marshall RIP

Captain Deltic writes...

I was saddened to learn of the death of Steve Marshall at the early age of 60.


Steve took over as Chief Executive of Railtrack when Gerald Corbett resigned, under pressure from a pusillanimous board, a month after the Hatfield derailment in October 2000.

As Railtrack's Finance Director he had been in the thick of the Company's battles with Rail Regulator Tom Winsor over the settlement for its second Control Period, against a background of the cost of the West Coast Route Modernisation spiralling out of control and performance  reacheing new lows after Hatfield. To cap it all a new Chairman with zero railway experience was appointed.

Then, in October 2001, transport Secretary Stephen Byers forced Railtrack into Administration. While his Chairman prevaricated Marshall resigned immediately, agreeing to stay on until a replacement was appointed in March 2002.

His immediate concern was to obtain compensation for his shareholders, which eventually came to pass. During this second drawn out battle  he continued as a non-executive director of the residual Railtrack company.

Most of my contact with Steve was during this turbulent period. It could not have been easy for a reserved  finance man to be pushed into a high profile public position.

To me he was the only player to emerge with dignity from the enforced collapse of Railtrack, which was reflected in his subsequentlly successful career.

Rail and Air Quality crawls up the agenda

This written answer from the Rail Minister

Andy McDonald(Middlesbrough) Asked on: 12 September 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the announcement of 26 July 2017 on the end of sales of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, what his policy is on the use of diesel trains after that date.

Paul Maynard Answered on: 09 October 2017
We are encouraging the railway industry to improve air quality by proposing solutions that reduce emissions from trains and also to develop innovative solutions around future fuel technologies such as hydrogen and battery power. In the nearer term, there are currently a number of new bi-mode trains being delivered or on order. The rail industry expects rolling stock to typically have an expected life in the range of 30 to 35 years. There is no policy at present on the use of diesel trains post 2040.

The key words appear to be 'no policy at present'. Developing...


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

World's longest serving TOC MD speaks!

This from Arriva CrossCountry…

"An innovative partnership has been launched in the North East to coincide with the start of ‘Rail Week’, where the rail industry and educational establishments come together to promote careers in the rail sector.

"Embracing the regions proud legacy of rail engineering and operational history, Britain’s largest train operator, CrossCountry, and the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (Cont p94…)




"CrossCountry’s Managing Director, Andy Cooper, said: “This partnership is a great opportunity for us all to work together to help the Academy’s students gain some real-life railway experience, which will add true value to their knowledge of the rail sector. The North East was the birthplace (Also cont page 94…)

Longevity is evidently the father of loquaciousness!

None the less. Good effort!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Wales joins Scotland in rejecting DOO

Eye hears, lots of Welsh voices in Marsham Street today.

No matter.

Meanwhile this from Andy McDonald, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport:


That sound? That is the sound of the DfT and every TOC management team in England sobbing.

Railway Garden Competition - Norwich

This from a Mr Ed Starr…


Perhaps a special award could be made to Network Rail for their rather splendid water garden feature in platforms 2/3 at Norwich station?


What an unbelievable disgrace!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Railway Pride - Beeston

This from a Mr Ed Starr…

My entry to your exciting competition comes from Beeston in Nottinghamshire.



Which apparently also has a Sealink terminal!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Grayling to face Transport Committee on 16th October

This from the Transport Select Committee

Planned electrification on railway lines scrapped

In the first public evidence session for the Committee, MPs will unpick the thinking behind policy changes by the Department for Transport, including the scrapping of planned electrification on railway lines in Wales, the Midlands and the North of England.


Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, commented:

"The new Transport Committee wants to get to grips with the rationale for Department for Transport decisions. We want to understand the Department's thinking – get into the nuts and bolts of why they have made recent changes to policy. 

"For example, the Government announced it would scrap electrification of several high profile routes including projects between Kettering and Sheffield, Cardiff Central and Swansea and Oxenholme and Windermere. Transpennine electrification is also likely to be 'discontinuous'. Members of the Committee will want to know how the Department reached that decision, and why.

"The Secretary of State should expect to be asked how the public is served by current transport policy, whether the passenger is a disabled person seeking wheelchair spaces on buses, a regular user of the railways, or seeking updates on investment in transport in their region. 

"The Transport Committee intends to scrutinise Department for Transport decisions which impact lives across the UK, every day."

Eye notes that Lilian Greenwood is the MP for the Midland Main Line, whoops, sorry… Nottingham South.

Captain Deltic calls Andy McDonald to order!

This from report on a Labour Party conference fringe meeting...

While Labour didn’t want to “recreate British Rail”, Mr McDonald asked the audience not to decry the old days too much, arguing BR did an excellent job despite declining passenger numbers and low investment in its latter years.

Captain Deltic snorts, "the man's a crypto privatiser parroting the well-worn line of a declining industry!

"Ridership in 1983 stood at 18.3 billion passenger miles, Ridership in 1988/89 was 21.3 billion passenger miles. The ridership graph clearly declining rapidly upwards.

"As for low investment. East Coast main line electrification, new freight locos and wagons, 4500 new passenger vehicles ordered in the 10 years before privatisation etc etc.

"However, on reflection this resurgence did happen under Margaret Thatcher so I can see a certain sensitivity."

Details of Alstom Siemens merger

Headlines from today's Alstom/Siemens merger announce.

  • Signed Memorandum of Understanding grants exclusivity to combine mobility businesses in a merger of equals
  • Listing in France and group headquarters in Paris area; led by Alstom CEO with 50 percent shares of the new entity owned by Siemens
  • Business headquarter for Mobility Solutions in Germany and for Rolling Stock in France
  • Comprehensive offering and global presence will offer best value to customers all over the world
  • Combined company’s revenue €15.3 billion, adjusted EBIT of €1.2 billion
  • Annual synergies of €470 million expected latest four years after closing
Details here.

All eyes now on Bombardier

UPDATE: Reuters has a good video primer on today's announcement here