Monday, 14 October 2013

ATOC and RDG ushers in new era of transparency

Good news for fans of greater RDG and ATOC integration.

Word reaches Eye that tomorrow's RDG meeting is likely to see closer co-operation between the two bodies placed firmly on the agenda.

An ATOC spokesman observed today: 'Discussions are on-going'.

Quite so.

In fact so 'on-going' are discussions, that in certain recent conversations you might almost have mistaken ATOC speaking for RDG!

Perhaps helpful to recall that transparency is, as transparency does.

UPDATE: This from Sidney Supplychain...

No doubt there are plans in hand to communicate these exciting developments to, and engage more fully with, RDG's Associate Members?

Didn't think so.

UPDATE: This from Leftoutin Thecold...

This is the full list of RDG Associate Members, as at 16th September.

  • Ashfield Consulting Ltd
  • Babcock
  • Birmingham Centre for Railway Research
  • Bombardier Transportation
  • Bond Dickinson LLP
  • Brisk Projects
  • British Transport Police Authority
  • Carillion
  • Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum
  • Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey Ltd (GHD)
  • Jacobs UK Ltd
  • MTR
  • Optimum Consulting Limited
  • Rail Freight Group
  • Rail Media Group
  • Railnews Limited
  • Rail Vehicle Engineering Ltd (RVEL)
  • Railway Industry Association (RIA)
  • Siemens Railway Systems
  • Young Railway Professionals
No doubt they will be fully briefed on the exciting future for the RDG very soon...

Global capitalism explained - why new trains may cape Euro referendum

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of Eye that Hitachi have been lobbying HMG over relations with the EU.

In July Eye noted that the Hitachi website offered the following reflections on Britain's membership of the European Union:

"The Government of Japan expects the UK to maintain this favourable role."

According to Saturday's Daily Telegraph the president of Hitachi also bent iDave's ear: 

David Cameron has been warned by one of Japan's biggest UK investors that pulling out of the European Union could put at risk £1bn of funding for Britain's railways and nuclear energy programme.

The president of Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi, has revealed that he met the Prime Minister in May and raised his concerns. Speaking in Tokyo yesterday, he said that any exit from the EU could lead to less investment by the industrial giant.

In November last year, Hitachi signed a £696m deal to buy Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture with GE to build as many as six new nuclear reactors at two sites, Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury in south Gloucestershire.

Last summer, a Hitachi-led consortium also won a £1.2bn government contract to build new trains under the Intercity Express Programme. The deal will provide new rolling stock for routes to the south-west and on the East Coast mainline. 

Of course there is no suggestion of any connection between Hitachi rescuing the government's moribund nuclear power programme and DfT awarding Hitachi contracts to replace both HST and IC225 fleets on the ECML.

Even so the decision to replace the 225 fleet raised one or two eyebrows. As Eversholt Rail said when the DfT announced that it would proceed with IEP Phase 2:

We continue to believe that the best option would have been to let the market decide...", a view shared by many in the industry. 

No matter.

What is perhaps more surprising is this section of the interview where Hitachi's President said: 

"One of the requests [from the DfT] was to set up the current Intercity Express Programme," Mr Nakanishi said.

"The Government requested me to set up the whole supply chain in the UK and try to sell UK-made train systems to the continent."

Eye can only presume that this was after Hitachi was declared preferred bidder in a procurement competition with the Bombardier/Siemens consortium! 

With Her Majesty's Government and Hitachi evidently hand in glove, what price now for Cameron's much vaunted 2015 In/Out EU referendum?