Friday, 19 February 2010

Stations - Pay attention Adonis, Hall and Green!

News of the latest campaign on Facebook.

Carlisle station was recently 'done up' for a Homebase advert with wallpaper, hanging lights and a stripey footbridge.

Now a Facebook campaign has been started to Keep Carlisle train station like this!

As at 16:00 on Friday it had 5,310 members!

Perhaps not quite what Messrs Hall and Green, Stationers to Lord DafT Vader, had in mind?

So farwell NR's Midland Press Office

Telegrammed by the Major
Scribblers and industry commentators may be sad to hear that Network Rail's Midland Press Office will cease to exist from Monday 22nd February.

According to NR:

The York press office will cover the North East, East Midlands and Lincolnshire.

The Manchester press office will cover the North West, West Midlands and Staffordshire.

The soon to be defunct NR Midland Press Office is of course the vestigial tail of the erstwhile BR London Midland Region Public Affairs empire, which was also based in Birmingham, and included amongst its luminaries such legends as the great Phallex Murray and The Vice Marshall himself (deep doff of the bowler. Ed).

No matter - tempus fugit.

But what is confusing Brum hacks is the timing of the closure decision.

Which has been announced just as NR prepares to spend vast sums of taxpayers' money in putting a brand new roof on New Street station.

Surely not evidence of NR's lack of joined up thinking?

UPDATE: This from NR's Chief Spinmeister, Kevin Groves, for it is he...

It is indeed sad to see the Midlands office close.

It is particularly sad to lose a popular and effective member of the media team but CP4 efficiencies have to be made in all departments and resources reallocated as best we can.

We’re all joined up too as the £650m rebuild of Birmingham New Street will have its own dedicated communications professional looking after all its needs, including media.

Election 2010 - The Twitterverse

This from Tweetminster, via Twitter...

Cabinet Members on Twitter: 14.

Shadow Cabinet Members on Twitter: 4.

There are 15 Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Members on Twitter.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tories slide tackle Adonis

So the Tories have killed the consensus on High Speed 2.

Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers has declined to "give a political blank cheque to Labour" by refusing an advance view of the Noble Lord's HS2 White Paper.

Villiers also made clear that the Tories reserved the right to look at alternative routes.

Whilst this will raise a collective groan from the railway industry it makes sound political sense.

With sources suggesting Adonis' plan for HS2 will show the proposed route with a margin of error of as little as 25 yards there would have been howls of anguish from Tory constituencies in the Chilterns; None of which would actually gain any benefit from the new line whilst suffering all the pain of planning blight and construction works.

The other political benefit is that it hangs the Noble Lord out to dry. Non consensus allows the plans for HS2 to be kicked into the long grass for at least another Parliament, which with the current parlous state of the country's finances makes fiscal as well as political sense.

That said the Tories will need to come up with something else chunky if they are not to enter the election 'transport lite'.

UPDATE: This from Lobby Fodder...

I wonder if the decision by the Tories to pour cold water on Lord Adonis HS2 White Paper is in anyway connected with this story in today's FT?

The transport secretary has told London’s mayor that it is “not acceptable” for the capital to seek extra money to fund improvements on three underground lines, in a sharply worded reply to the mayor’s request.

Just asking that's all.

UPDATE: This, surprisingly enough, from Niccolo Machiavelli...

Labour would seem to have the Tories in a fianchetto if they publish the route of HS2 between London and the West Midlands before the election.

If the Tories support the route they alienate their own voters in home counties constituencies where Labour cannot prevail whilst merely sharing the credit in West Midlands constituencies where Labour is likely to win.

If the Tories criticise the route they can be portrayed as home counties toffs prepared to put their golf clubs ahead of the transport needs of the West Midlands

But with Adrian Shooter allegedly advising Theresa Villiers, the vision of Evergreen 5 could provide an effective counter.

And the Tories also have IEP up their sleeve (shome mishtake, shurely? Ed).

As I say in my book 'The Prince' (available as a Penguin Classic for only £2.99 from Amazon):

"The wise ruler does not overlook the cunning of ex British Rail engineers risen to high office".

UPDATE: This from Sun Tzu...

Can I support Signor Niccolo's comments on IEP being a Tory asset?

As I say in my book 'The art of war' (available from Amazon in paperback price £3.00):

"A highly expensive chariot fails to terrorise fleet footed infantry fighting in a swamp'.

That's enough dead psuedo management philosophy gurus. Ed

UPDATE: This just in from Will' Shakespeare...

I'faith, i know not what these men from foreign parts know about a railway of Puck like speed cutting through this realm of kings.

But as I say in my play Hamlet "for tis the sport to have the gricer Lord hoist by his own petard".

And the same goes for dead bards. Ed

UPDATE: This from Alfred Lord Tennyson...

Might I perchance inject a note of practicality into this discussion and ask what the Whig view is on noise issuing forth from this new rail way?

It was indeed I who conjured the phrase "The ringing grooves of change" and at the promised speed of 400 of those radical kilometres in the hour the ringing would indeed be loud.

UPDATE This from Mr Walt Whitman...

Might I...(Absolutely not. Literary Ed)

No more dead poets, bards and management gurus - please! Ed.

Ieuan Wyn Jones - stop whinging

This from Scotch Corner...

Here is the Welsh Deputy First Minister talking about mistrust in politics.....

Little wonder that there is mistrust when he has spent public money on an expensive loco hauled train from his home town to Cardiff, which has a fabulous first class dining offer on board, but alas is only used by half a dozen people or so each day.

And the subsidy is over a £1m!

Even if ten people used it each way everyday, that's £200 subsidy a journey!!

Not so much mistrust as seeing pork barrel politics for what it is!

Lookalike - Time Lord edition

ATW hung out to dry over rugger specials

This from the late Nye Bevan...

According to Wales Online...

THOUSANDS of rugby fans could find themselves stranded in Cardiff after Wales’ Friday-night clash with France, after one rail boss warned there will be no extra trains.

Now, a fair cop guv at first sight but as always there is more...

The stadium didn't tell people about the travel plan issues because they were worried about ticket sales, and there is no money in the pot for more trains so the best you can do is make them four coach sets on the Valleys.

But note how nobody takes the blame and the railway is put to the sword because the stadium has to play to the broadcasters (TV) tune and doesn't have the guts to be public about it.

And good to see the civil servants (sic) of WAG showing excellent form in line with their DaFT counterparts!

You quoted Fiennes earlier in the week, and indeed it is no way to run a railway, especially when your supposed friends leave you to face the music alone.