Monday, 28 February 2011

NR restructuring - let them eat cake!

This from BR Old Timer...

Having just read the latest edition of Modern Railways I am intrigued by Roger Ford's reference to the possible privatisation of the Anglia Route by July 2014 -- conveniently just ahead of a general election (if the Coalition holds together).

After all, is not Anglia where it all began!

BR had plans for a new business-led vertically-integrated structure, and put them to the test by creating a new Anglia Region (in 1987/88, I think), bringing together the engineering functions with InterCity Anglia and NSE Anglia and LT&S — bringing together the passenger businesses and, of course, the Railfreight and RfD businesses, too, as they then were, to determine their engineering requirements and oversee the engineers' budgets.

John Edmonds was made Anglia's General Manager and Graham Eccles the Regional Operating Manager.

When the Tories won in 1992 they dismissed BR Chairman Sir Bob Reid II's 'Future Rail' proposals, proceeding instead to develop their privatisation plans. J Edmonds then became CEO of Railtrack, overseeing the concept that the company merely outsourced management and maintenance of the infrastructure, which started to go belly-up with the Southall and Ladbroke Grove collisions, then the Hatfield crash, and ultimately the Potters Bar derailment.

Strange to relate, the latest announcements on future restructuring of Network Rail were made just before NR indicated they would submit a guilty plea (as the successor to Railtrack) at the Crown Court to Health & Safety charges arising from the Potters Bar crash, following last year's much-delayed inquest.

Graham Eccles went on to become Divisional Manager on BR's South Central Division and then, after privatisation, was appointed MD of SWT, which has long argued for a return to vertical integration.

Now we are told the Wessex Route is to be one of the first two to be subjected to the new structure proposed by Network Rail, whose board now includes Graham Eccles as a Non-Executive Director — while brother Richard is employed by NR to mastermind the Route Utilisation Strategies.

Is the railways' future now to be Eccles' shaped?