Thursday, 4 February 2010

New NR HQ to obliterate Milton Keynes - Official

Good news for those who hate concrete cows!

This from New Civil Engineer...

Network Rail has received planning permission to build its new eco-friendly national centre in Central Milton Keynes for 3,000 employees.

The 122km² building will be built on the site of a former hockey stadium...

Talk of a 500lb gorilla now appear somewhat conservative.

Lobby Fodder on PR puffery gone wrong

This from Lobby Fodder...

I thought your readers might be interested in this example of PR puffery gone wrong.

Many Westminster colleagues received an email today from Grand Central celebrating the score it received in the Autumn 2009 Passenger Survey, the results of which were published today.

Unfortunately GC's PR (the soi disant 'veteran' observer. Ed) appears to have suffered a keyboard malfunction, judging from the subject line in this email:

Unless of course this is a new front in the War of SLC2?

Eccles to join NR Board - but for how long?

Exciting news from Network Rail!

The company hopes to appoint two new non-Exec directors, subject of course to the pliant Members rubber stamping the appointments in July.

So who are these giants of corporate governance?

Why none other than ODA Chief Executive David Higgins and railwayman's railwayman Graham Eccles.

Eccles at least should bring some much needed board focus on the needs of train operators.

But what's this?

Is NR not keen to give the uber-operator too much visibility?

Study these pictures closely, contained in NR's email release announcing the appointments, and see if you can find Mr Eccles amongst the sea of Higgins...

Looks like Network Rail spin machine is already starting to airbrush the Silver Fox out of existence.

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Eye is being a little unfair.

Obviously this is part of NR's determination to become economic and efficient.

If all NR non-Execs were called Higgins it would save a fortune on stationery costs.

UPDATE: This from NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...

This is what happens when I don't check releases before they go out.

Rest assured it was put right in minutes of the email going out and the website version is correct.

Of course it's not a surfeit of Higginses we have at Network Rail, but of Eccleses.

Graham, of course, joins his brother Richard who is our head of route planning

UPDATE: This from Driver Potter...

Right, I want to make things clear at the outset that I'm only asking because I don't want to look an idiot later on.

The Missing Eccles isn't the same as The Famous Eccles, is he?

Eye is sure NR's Eccles will be paying a similar amount of attention to times written down on a piece of paper...

IEP lobbying explained

This just in from Jumbo...

Overheard on the Derby train: A man telling his travelling companions that he is shortly to meet Captain Deltic and convince him that the bi-mode extravaganza will save the world.

Shome mishtake shurely?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

How intriguing.

I am indeed going to Ashford Depot tomorrow on a technical visit to find out how the Hitachi Class 395 fleet and the Class 465 re-powering is going and an SET update has been promised over a working lunch.

If Jumbo will provide details of the train I will ask which of those present was on it and actually admitting to talking to me.

They must be coming up to retirement.

UPDATE: Jumbo responds...

I thought that the IEP only had one supporter.

UPDATE: More from Captain Deltic...

Having fallen off his chair laughing the Captain gets his breath back and points out that Jumbo is being very naughty.

So which train from Euston to Rugby was it?

UPDATE: This from our International Correspondent...

What perfect symmetry.

Uncloaking industry secrets by ear-wigging over-talkative and indiscreet rolling stock engineers in the First Class end of anything leaving Derby was an intelligence gathering technique pioneered in the early 80s by one Captain Deltic, in between bouts of car-park watching (a practice now known more colloquially as 'Dogging').

Of course he was just a junior subaltern in those days.

UPDATE: Captain Deltic reminisces...

It was on a train to Derby that a foursome of Department of Transport civil servants were talking about closing the WCML north of Preston.

They didn't seem to notice that I was taking notes.

A minor stir, denials and a witch hunt ensued following publication.

Odd that while DfT is daft, we never referred to DoT as dotty.

It must have been the age of deference. Or perhaps in those dim and distant days the civil service had higher standards of competence.

UPDATE: Further cryptic details from Jumbo...

Definitely a train to Derby, well Sheffield to be strictly correct.

And a clue, it was not the noble Lord but another recently ennobled person, well gonged actually...