Saturday, 4 October 2008

True grit

Industry hard man Captain Deltic has no time for sentiment.

Whilst the rest of the industry was busy commiserating with the former rail minister the good Captain stuck the boot in.

"Yes, you were an excellent figurehead minister, did a great job on supporting exports, and spoke up for the industry wittily and well. But in my book you failed to get a grip on your directorate. This is, of course, par for the course and I don’t expect any better from your successor. But I for one hoped for more after our first meeting when you came into the job."

Perhaps the Captain's intervention will create a pearl of great value. Alternatively perhaps he's just being contrary?

Strachen to Oz

Peter Strachen is heading down under.

Antipodean railway site Rail Page offers the following from NR's intranet posted Friday:

"Peter Strachan, route director, is to take up a new position running the entire public transport system of Brisbane and south east Queensland, Australia. Peter will take up the new position as chief executive officer of Translink Transit Authority in February 2009."

The search is on for a new Midlands route Director.

Railway thumbs down

Jeremy Candfield, of supplier organisation the Railway Industry Association, has also shoved his head above the parapet.

He writes on Tom's blog:

October 4, 2008 at 4:34 pm

"Deeply disappointed. The railway needs and respects your common sense, wisdom and obvious commitment. You have left a hard act to follow; we will miss you."

As the scaredy-cat industry wouldn't normally say boo to a goose the growing list of railway names mourning Tom's departure is beginning to sound like a vote of no confidence in Gordo's reshuffle.

Damned lies and statistics

A quick word of thanks to our readers, and those who link to this site, for helping to grow Railway Eye's readership.

Since the 13th of May 2008 Railway Eye has received 17,030 visits from 5,286 unique visitors.

Apparently you have viewed 28,218 pages in total.

No, I don't understand it either but that's what Google analytics says so it must be true.

Named and shamed

Chris Paul, the Mancunian smelly sock blogger, blames Railway Eye for the downfall of Tom Harris!

What a Blot on Brown's Copybook

Off the fence

For several years now the Railway Forum has been near invisible.

However, the Forum's Director General, Paul Martin, today put his 'cohones on the line' by posting a public message of support for Tom Harris on the former Minister's blog.

It reads:

"So sorry to hear this. I’ve greatly enjoyed working with you and genuinely feel that the rail industry has lost a great champion and friend. The whole industry has seen you as the most effective Rail Minister in memory and we feel that your achievements richly deserve promotion in government rather than what has happened."

The Fact Compiler applauds the Railway Forum's Director General for coming "to bury Caesar, not praise him".

But was this wise?
Such off message comments do not play well in every quarter.

The temperature at the first meeting between Gende Homo and the Railway Forum may be somewhat cool.

Just in time government

The Department for Transport's reputation for attention to detail is legendary.

So The Fact Compiler thought he'd pay a quick visit to the DafT website to see who will be serving in the new team under Gende Homo.

Alas, Whitehall web wonks can't yet be arsed to update their site, which still lists Tom Harris as Minister of State - a mere 18 hours after one eyed Gordo gave him the black spot.

Oh bugger!

Tom Harris has been relegated to the back benches.

Read Tom's blog piece here.

Below one of the comments posted to his site by 'Very much anonymous'.

Tom, I’m very sorry to hear this news.

I’m not a Labour supporter and I won’t be voting Labour at the next election. However, I know that most politicians of any political persuasion genuinely want to do their best to help their constituents and the people of the UK. You exemplify this.

You have, from all the evidence available to me, been a conscienscious and hard-working Minister. You’ve handled a difficult portfolio extremely well and have built up a lot of respect on a personal level within the rail industry. I am sure that the industry’s journals will decry your treatment for weeks to come.

You have been courteous to and respectful of your officials. You ask intelligent questions at the right time and you have a remarkable talent to sense when you are being “fed a line”, be it by officials or by industry figures.

Your blog has opened up the political process to the average citizen more than any other. While Iain Dale and Guido write superb blogs, they don’t have the perspective that you do.

It is my sincere belief that your party will lose the next election by a large margin. However, despite my Conservative sympathies, I distrust large majorities. I sincerely hope that you will continue with both your blog and your devotion to your job and will hold Governments of both parties to account from the back benches.

More than that, after the next election, your party will need a core group of experienced but untainted leaders to pull it out of a very deep hole. You have the potential to go far higher within your party than you have managed to date. Please don’t let this setback discourage you.

Why do I say this?

Because I’ve been working for you in DfT for quite some time. Hence why I’m staying anonymous.

The Fact Compiler has nothing more to add.