Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What's the headcode for a government minister?

The Minister of State for Transport has been brave enough to list his itinerary on The Times website.

It's not quite a blog in the sense that his predecessor would understand it - but it is a start...

Half tip of the Bowler to Andrew Adonis.

UPDATE: It gets better!

This from the second page of Adonis' "blog":

"As for cost, I am expecting to do the whole trip, standard class, for £375 – plus a sleeper supplement for the first night – using a seven-day “all-line rail rover”. This is a ticket no one seems to have heard of, perhaps because it is so poorly advertised. (Thought that was Barry Doe's line! Ed)

"It prompts the thought that we should be marketing these tickets more widely, not least to young people (who can buy the seven-day ticket for just £245) so that they can get to know their own country...".

What an excellent idea - it might also increase the percentage of the population who use rail services (currently a mere 11%) and encourage some national marketing of the entire network, sadly missing since privatisation.

An interesting challenge for ATOC. Will the Owner Groups let them do it?

UPDATE: This from John B...

No - 51% of people use the railways in any given year.

Only 11%-ish of journeys are made by train, which is unsurprising given that you're unlikely to get a train to the corner shop to buy milk...

Stand corrected - thank you.

Not waving but drowning

As this government sinks ever deeper into the mire it is amusing to see which minister can pluck the most lunatic idea from the bottom of the barrel.

Step forward the ever tactful Hazel Blears!

As the economy is now officially screwed the Community Secretary has suggested that all the empty shops littering the high street should be turned into Community Art Galleries, Advice Centres, Underwater Knitting Emporia and the like.

How long before Buff-Hoon feels compelled to come up with an equally fatuous proposal for the growing number of empty first class vehicles roaming the network?

Hitachi fires first PR salvo

This from today's FT....

Alistair Dormer, head of Hitachi's European rail operations, says he wants to involve a large number of UK-based suppliers in the contract for building about 1,400 intercity carriages.

The location of the new factory has been narrowed down to a shortlist of three: Sheffield, Gateshead and Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire.

The plant, expected to cost more than £100m, would eventually employ about 500 people, said Mr Dormer.

Good news indeed.

Only another 11,500 jobs to find.


There is one fly in the ointment...

Dormer... "was unable to say when a decision would be made on the location".

Good to see Dormer taking Japanese manufacturing to heart.

This is the PR equivalent of a kaizen (small step) based very much on Lean principles!

Update: This just in from the Pink 'Un...

It's a pity the fact compiler lit only on this bit of the feature and not on the previous FT piece where Alistair Dormer talked about Hitachi's ambitions to supply European railways from the new British factory.

There seems to be a determination among British railway people that Bombardier should always be the only train factory in the UK.

What's wrong with a bit of competition?