Monday, 17 October 2011

Sailing by...

This from Robert Wright of the FT...

As many of you will already be aware and as others will be delighted and relieved to learn, I'm starting a new job.

Instead of covering transport in general for the FT in future, I've been appointed to a new job focusing on shipping and logistics.

My replacement, whom some of you will already have met or spoken to, is Mark Odell.

For those of you who have been helpful to me over the last eight years, I'm very grateful. Please continue to give Mark the same assistance.

For the rest of you, please help Mark in all the ways you didn't help me.

My new job will keep me involved in covering freight transport issues and consequently I will still be covering the freight or logistics arms of some of your operations. Mark will cover all forms of passenger transport all over the world, except aviation.

I will continue to write my Rail Professional column, which may keep me in touch with some of you occasionally. I'm also still open to chairing conferences and so on (within the FT's rules on these matters).

To those of you with whom I'll no longer be in regular contact, it's been mostly a pleasure and farewell.

So farewell to Robert from the railway, unless you are a freighty of course, and welcome to Mark.

Meanwhile, in happier news perhaps we can also wave goodbye to the preposterous soi disant 'veteran observer', Brennan-Brown, whose words of wisdom (sic) regularly peppered FT articles in the past?

Eye firmly hopes so!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Brennan-Brown...

Please stop referring to me as the "soi disant veteran observer"!

I have emailed you repeatedly about this, pointing out that it is neither funny nor...
(sadly, owing to pressure of space, Eye is unable to publish the rest of this email from the soi disant 'veteran observer'. Ed).

UPDATE: This from John...

Your comment that, with the departure of Robert Wright from the FT, Rupert BB may also disappear, seems to be unfounded.

Not 24 hours later an article appeared from newcomer Mark Odell quoting one "Rupert Brennan-Brown, a long-time industry observer".

So its business as usual at the FT!

Lookalike - Annoying men on the Tube

An amusing tale from the Daily Mail...

In a deliciously naff attempt to pretend that he is a common-man the Prime Minister has travelled on the Underground (just the once you understand).

And as if determined to prove that it was a completely alien experience iDave actually spoke, uninvited, to other passengers!

Sadly for the Downing Street spinners the loony eyed PM nearly had his collar felt by the BTP: "
when the baffled woman had to ask her husband who the strange man was enquiring about their child".


Perhaps iDave should have learnt from his role model Mr Tony that these things can go badly wrong...

Message to Downing Street spinners: Get your man to fix the Tube, rather than pose on it.

Lookalike - Electric Mayhem?

Ticket office closures is first test for Greening

Good news for those concerned about proposals to reduce booking office hours and station staffing!

This from the constituency website of the new Transport Secretary...

Justine Greening said:

"These Government-backed plans will seriously inconvenience thousands of Londoners who use these stations every day. To slash opening times by over 200 hours is staggering- and that's just in London .

"Worse still, the serious cuts in weekend and evening services raise real concerns over passenger safety. Rail passengers already face delays and over-crowding, and now the Government is making it harder for them to simply buy a ticket.


Although these wise words were uttered whilst in opposition, it is surely inconceivable that the MP for Putney will change her tune just because she has moved to Marsham Street?

Labour reshuffles Transport team

Amidst all the excitement of Friday's Foxtrot the following from the Labour party may have gone un-noticed:

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP has reorganised the responsibilities of Labour’s front-bench transport team in line with the priorities that emerged from the first year of the party’s policy review.

The shake-up has also enabled a move away from a strict mirroring of the government’s division of Ministerial responsibilities and instead seen the creation of three new cross-cutting briefs covering international, national and regional/local transport.

Ed Miliband MP’s recent reshuffle of Labour’s front-bench saw Lilian Greenwood MP join the transport team as Shadow Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Regional and Local Transport. She joins Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Shadow Minister of State for International Transport and London; John Woodcock MP, Shadow Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Transport; and Pat Glass MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Maria Eagle, with responsibility for young people’s transport.

In addition to these cross-cutting briefs, each member of the frontbench team will take responsibility for the areas of Labour’s transport policy review that have been identified as priorities for the coming year.

Demonstrating the importance that Labour is attaching to the issue, Maria Eagle MP will lead a review into reform of the rail industry. The review will look at all options for reform, with its starting point being that tackling the fragmented structure of the industry is vital to deliver better affordability for both tax-payers and fare-payers. Labour’s policy review has supported the devolution of rail services and the review will look at how best to achieve this, while identifying the right future delivery model for inter-city services.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP will lead a review looking at how we can best deliver the aviation capacity needed for economic competitiveness, while reducing emissions and increasing sustainability. While a third runway at Heathrow has been ruled out by the government, there is a growing consensus that British business is suffering from the decision not to permit aviation growth in the South East. This review will look at how best this can be achieved.

John Woodcock MP will lead a review looking at how transport infrastructure and procurement could contribute to growth and jobs through longer term planning. The review will also look at how investment in different modes, such as road and rail, could be better integrated and jointly planned. In addition, John Woodcock MP will lead a review into how surface transport’s contribution to climate change should be tackled. It will look at what the different roles of government and industry should be.

Lilian Greenwood MP will lead a review into how best to further devolve transport decision making and funding, including local roads and rail services. The review will look at the powers and responsibilities of Integrated Transport Authorities and how these could be extended and rolled out across other parts of England. The review will also seek to identify how best to deliver a reversal of bus deregulation and ensure local communities can deliver bus services in a more effective way that puts passengers first.

Finally, Pat Glass MP will continue the work that has been done over the past year in Labour’s parallel Young People’s Transport Policy Review. In particular, she will lead a review into affordability and accessibility of transport for young people and how to deliver a concessionary fares scheme for 16-18 year olds in education and training.

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP said: Labour has set a new direction for its future transport policy: putting communities in charge, tackling irresponsibility at the top, backing British manufacturing, jobs and growth and making the affordability of transport our number one priority. It’s great to have such a strong parliamentary team to hold this Tory-led government to account and, just as importantly, do the hard work needed to enable us to deliver on our new transport priorities in the future.

So now you know.

UPDATE: This from Banker76...

Two interesting things tucked away here: one the recognition that the railway industry is too fragmented. Two the recognition that bus deregulation has not worked.

Of course, they only had 13 years to do something about both issues when in power, so don’t hold your breath.