Friday, 19 June 2009

Again... Who speaks for the Railway?

This from the BBC...

The government is wrongly prioritising investment in rail over roads, despite 92% of all passenger journeys in the UK being made by car, the RAC has said.

A bold challenge from a well connected and highly effective lobby organisation.

So who will pick up the RAC's gauntlet and defend the railway industry?

The supplier group the Rail Industry Association wouldn't say boo to a goose and sadly the Railway Forum has become mute in recent years.

Which leaves us dependent on Network Rail or ATOC.

But can either be said to speak for the whole industry?

So where is the railway's 'RAC' and who should be our Glaister?

UPDATE: This just in from Ithuriel...

No one can speak for the railway industry because there is no 'industry' sharing common objectives - unlike the RAC (we want lots of roads for our member's cars), or the SBAC (we want orders for lots of planes), or even the Rail Freight Group (we want passenger trains abolished and the entire network cleared to continental gauge).

Getting ATOC to agree to anything is like herding cats, and even then it daren't offend Marsham Street.

Network Rail thinks it speaks for the railway industry in much the same way that Spitting Image portrayed Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet at dinner. 'What will you have Iain? 'I'll have steak'. What about the vegetables?' 'The TOCs will have steak too'.

The Railway Industry Association speaks only for the supply industry'

And the Railway Forum is reported to have lost the First big beast in its membership.

So that leaves Railway Eye or Lord Adonis.

UPDATE: Manifestly some Eye readers have too much time on their hands. This from the late Sir Arthur Sullivan...

Stand up, stand up for railways, at Euston and “The Cross”;
Lift high the CP4 plan, it must not suffer loss.
From apathy to victory , the DfT must lead,
Till every train runs "On Time", - Adonis, Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for railways, the trumpet call obey
We need a gallant champion, someone who’s here to stay.
For those who run a franchise are more concerned with brass
And those in the freight business, are “looped” to let them pass.

Stand up, stand up for railways, who’s good at slick PR?;
Someone who’ll “up the anti” against the friends of car.
Someone who‘s credibility; is something to be feared
Some say that it’s “The Captain”? whilst others say “The Beard”. (Nah!)

Stand up, stand up for railways, the strife will yet be long;
Forget about the bonus, forget about a gong!.
To those who raise the standard and fly it till they die;
Will have eternal Glory, (bowler tip to Railway Eye).