Tuesday, 12 January 2010

50% gritting cuts signal opportunity for the railways

According to the Downing Street spokesman in the Lobby today:

Councils have been told by Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to cut salt-spreading by up to 50%.

As this risks making road travel less safe isn't this a perfect opportunity for the TOCs and NR to work together so as to generate some additional traffic?

Providing, of course, intending passengers can actually reach their local stations...

UPDATE: This genius solution from Tom West...

Surely the obvious thing is to persuade councils to only grit the side of the road leading *to* railway stations.


NR appoints new Non-Execs

This just in from Network Rail...

Network Rail announces today enhancement of its board with the appointment of two new non-executive directors - Lawrie Haynes and Janis Kong.

Lawrie Haynes is a successful chairman and chief executive with a heavyweight CV that includes:

  • currently the president - nuclear, Rolls-Royce
  • former chief executive of White Young Green plc (2007-2009)
  • BNFL plc (2003-2007), main board director and former chief executive of British Nuclear Group
  • ex-chief executive of the Highways Agency (1994-1999)

Mr Haynes is also on the board of trustees for the RAF Benevolent Fund and chairman of its pension fund.

His general business experience and, in particular, his mission-critical project and safety management expertise will be a valuable addition to the Board.

Janis Kong has a long history of operating businesses where customer relationships have been critical to success and has held non-executive directorships with large plcs:

  • non-executive director at Kingfisher plc, Visit Britain, Portmeirion plc, Forum for the Future
  • former main board director of BAA plc (2002- 2006)
  • former chairman Heathrow Express 2005 to 2006
  • former chairman of Heathrow Airport (2001-2006)
  • managing director of Gatwick airport (1997-2001)
  • previous non-executive directorship : RBS

Announcing the appointments, Network Rail’s chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, said: “I believe that the current cadre of non-executive directors has done an excellent job supporting and counselling the executive management team in the journey from bringing Railtrack out of administration to a functioning, capable railway that is operating at record levels of safety, punctuality, reliability and capacity.

“Today we face new challenges and opportunities and the composition of the board must reflect that. The appointment of these highly-experienced and capable individuals give Network Rail renewed corporate oversight. This will be vital as we continue our job to deliver a high-performing, bigger and better railway."

Recognising the need to contain the size of the board and in order to effect a smooth transition, it is planned that Ian Buchan and Yvonne Constance will stand down from the board between now and the AGM in July.

UPDATE: Over at Tunnel Vision they remain to be convinced...

Cynics will conclude that both Kong and Haynes offer Network Rail a ’safe pair of hands’ who will not upset NR’s senior executives by relating their remuneration to real performance...