Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hammond - master of all he surveys

This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

A most pleasant luncheon at Boisdale, in Pimlico today.

Over a thoroughly agreeable postprandial dram (the 35 year old Glenfarclas) my erstwhile colleague and I reflected upon young Philip Hammond's recent performance.

We both agreed that the Thameslink decision was masterful and I complimented my dining partner on the way it had played out.

"Of course" she continued, "our man has come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks."

"When was the last time," she asked "that you heard a Secretary of State admitting to opening his own envelopes?"

I looked at her in awe and refreshed our glasses.

"Perhaps," she suggested "it is a little unfair to call our man Petrol-head?".

"We much prefer Paper-knife!" she concluded with the smallest of chuckles.

It goes without saying that I picked up the bill.

Railway Garden Competition - Harrow & Wealdstone

Hammond fiddles while Derby burns

After a busy morning defending the arduous task of 'opening envelopes' it is good to see that the Secretary of State is still able to relax with friends.

This from the Campaign for High Speed Rail...

House of Commons launch for cross-party high speed rail group

A new cross-party group supporting high-speed rail has launched today at an event at the House of Commons. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which is a powerful new voice in favour of building a new high speed rail line, has already secured the backing of MPs from across the political divide and is chaired jointly by Graham Stringer MP (Labour) and Stuart Andrew MP (Conservative).

Speaking at the launch event Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“I am delighted that our plans for high speed rail have such widespread cross party support. This is a major project in the national interest which will take many years to complete and will benefit hugely from being taken forward with all-party support."

No doubt Cowardly-custard will soon be assuaging irate Chiltern residents with the comforting mantra that HS2 is all the fault of the previous government?

From the Hammond Organs to Kelly's Heroes?

Regular Eye readers will recall that the DafT press office is lovingly referred to as the Hammond Organs.

Now Network Rail's media monkeys are to be known as Kelly's Heroes, following the news that former Blair Uber-Spinner Tom Kelly is to join NR as Director of Comms.

This from PR Week...

Eye hopes that Tom won't be bringing his photographer with him.

UPDATE: This from the Kelly's Heroes over at King's Place...

Private Kelly has just asked me to forward the following:

"You can re-assure Railway Eye that the photographer has indeed been fired - on their recommendation."

Good effort.

Bombardier - Almost 1,500 Derby jobs to go

This from Bombardier Transportation...

Bombardier Transportation Announces Proposed Downsizing at its Derby facility

Loss of Thameslink contract and completion of existing workload forces announcement

Derby 5 July 2011: Bombardier Transportation today announced that it will initiate a 90 day statutory consultation process to downsize and adjust capacity at its train manufacturing facility in Derby. Employees were told today that there was not sufficient workload going forward to keep the facility operating at current levels. A total of 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary contract staff would be affected in the proposed readjustment.

Derby is now completing orders for metro cars for London Underground’s SubSurface Lines and Victoria Line and Turbostar diesel multiple units for London Midland. All but the SubSurface Lines contract will be complete by the end of September this year.

“The culmination and successful delivery of these projects and the loss of the Thameslink contract ,which would have secured workload at this site, means that it is inevitable that we must adjust capacity in line with economic reality,” said Francis Paonessa, President of the Passengers Division for the UK.

“We regret this outcome but without new orders we cannot maintain the current level of employment and activity at Derby” Francis Paonessa added. “Over the next 90 days together with employee representatives we will work with individual employees to ensure the best possible outcome for our people,”

Bombardier acquired the Derby site from Daimler Chrysler in 2001 and over the ten year period has invested substantially in creating a state-of-the-art train manufacturing facility and centre of excellence for high technology rail engineering. The company has also successfully exported UK-built trains. Derby site currently employs 3000 and supports an estimated 12,000 employees in its supply chain.

Colin S Walton, Chairman of Bombardier Transportation in the UK, commented: “The loss of the Thameslink contract, has forced us to conduct a UK-wide review of our operations. This announcement today is part of an on-going process.”