Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hammond back!

This from @Number10gov...

PM appoints Stephen Hammond as Parliamentary Under Secretary at Department for Transport.


Rail brief please.

Tom Clift RIP - Passenger Champion

Eye was shocked to hear today that Tom Clift had passed away.

Tom recently described himself as follows:

Tom Clift has worked in the railway industry since 1972.

He has covered many roles including Operations, General Management, Business and Resources (including whilst MD of one company - being passed out as a Guard!).

Most recently Tom was MD of Open Access operator Grand Central, which he joined in August 2007, shortly before passenger services commenced. Before this he was MD of Valley Lines.

In 2011 Grand Central was judged by passengers to be Britain's most popular rail company (according to Passenger Focus).

At the beginning of 2012 Tom left Grand Central and is now advising rail companies facing similar challenges.

Tom is married, has a daughter and a Westie and lives in Caerphilly, South Wales.

Tom supports Sheffield United FC, Caerphilly and Wales Rugby teams.

He is misguided enough to own a former British Rail Class 26 diesel locomotive.


Many readers will remember Tom for his dry humour, enthusiasm, care for colleagues and attention to detail.

Residents of Great Minster House, Kemble Street, King's Place and Bernard Street will remember him for his tenacity!

Tom - Eye salutes you. 

Norman Baker still in post

At least plans for tram trains may have some continuity.


That is all.

Mostly missing minister replaced by Burns

The new Minister of State for Transport is Simon Burns.

Biog below from his website:

Simon was born in September 1952. He was educated at Christ the King School, Accra, Ghana; Stamford School, Stamford, Lincolnshire; and Worcester College, Oxford, where he obtained a BA Honours Degree in Modern History. He also has an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Anglia University.

Simon's Experience
Simon was Member of Parliament for Chelmsford from June 1987 – April 1997, for West Chelmsford from May 1997 to April 2010, and elected Member of Parliament for Chelmsford in May 2010.

From 1975 to 1980 he was Political Adviser to the Rt. Hon. Sally Oppenheim MP. From 1980-83 he was a journalist and company director of What To Buy for Business magazine, and from 1983-87 was on the Policy Executive of the Institute of Directors.

He has been active in politics since 1970 when he was a founder member of the Rutland and Stamford Young Conservatives, and founder and Chairman of the Stamford School CPC.

In 1972 he worked for Senator George McGovern in his presidential election bid against Richard Nixon. In December 2007/January 2008 he spent 10 days working on Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign in the New Hampshire Primary. From 1973-75 he was a committee member, Political Action Officer and Secretary of Oxford University Conservative Association, and a member of the Oxford Union.

From 1977-81 he was Treasurer, Southfields Ward, and a member of the Treasurer's and Executive Council, Putney Conservative Association. In 1983 he was Conservative candidate in Alyn and Deeside (North Wales) when he reduced Labour's majority from 6,800 to 1,368. In 1986 he was Chairman, Avonmore Ward, Fulham Conservative Association.

Simon has been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Timothy Eggar MP, and the Rt. Hon. Gillian Shephard MP, at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food until July 1994. He has also been Assistant Government Whip (1994-1995), Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury (1995-1996), & Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health (1996-7).

Simon Burns MP celebrating the resurfacing of Lady Lane following his successful lobby of Essex County Council - September 2009

In June 1997 he was appointed opposition Front Bench Spokesman for Social Security, a position he held until August 1998 when he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Environment, Housing and Planning, until June 1999. He was elected a member of the executive at the 1922 Committee in July 1999 and Treasurer of the 1922 Committee in November 1999. He was a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee from 1999 – 2005.

In September 2001 Simon was appointed Shadow Health Minister and was reappointed to this position in May 2005. From December 2005 to May 2010, he was the Senior Whip in the Opposition Whip's Office and since May 2010, he has been Minister of State at the Department of Health. In January 2011, he was appointed a Member of the Privy Council.

Aside from his Shadow Ministerial duties, one of Simon's proudest achievements in Parliament since 1997 was successfully piloting through Parliament his Private Member's Bill – the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 – to tighten up the law on football hooligans, and pressuring the Government to strengthen legislation further in 2000 by giving the courts the power to withdraw hooligans' passports and prevent them from causing trouble abroad.

Simon is interested in American Politics, collecting political books and swimming.

Following, ahem, a slight problem on the roads, Eye suggests he devotes his considerable skills to safely focusing on the needs of rail users.

McLoughlin demands MML upgrade!

This from the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP...

This is clearly not a line in decline—it is a line with increasing investment, improving services and more passengers. 

Yet I understand the widespread desire for even further improvement. The campaigners want their line to be electrified, but electrification would not necessarily make the trains run any faster. That could be achieved with current rolling stock were it not for the layout of the line. 

The midland main line contains a high proportion of curves, junctions and stations which mean that very high speed is impracticable. Although the speeds on the line are good, they could be even better...

Quite so Minister, quite so.

Wise words from 1990, and we are still waiting.

Over to you, the sooner the better of course!

TSC brings ICWC protagonists face to face

This from the Transport Select Committee...

Oral evidence – Rail 2020: West Coast Mainline Franchise 

The Transport Select Committee will question Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group and Tim O’Toole of FirstGroup over the Government’s decision to award the West Coast mainline rail franchise to FirstGroup.

Monday 10 September 2012

The session will take place in the Grimond Room, House of Commons.

4.05 pm

·         Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group Ltd
·         Tony Collins, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Rail Group

4.45 pm

·         Tim O’Toole, Chief Executive, FirstGroup plc
·         Vernon Barker, Managing Director, UK Rail division, FirstGroup plc

Eye hopes bouncers will be present in the committee room corridor?

Note to diary: Cancel appointments, plug in interweb and order large bag of popcorn.

A big Eye welcome to Patrick McLoughlin

So. Farewell Justine Greening and the mostly missing Theresa Villiers.

And a big Eye welcome to Derbyshire Dales MP and former Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin, the new Secretary of State for Transport.

Biog below from the Conservative Party site...

Patrick McLoughlin

Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales

Patrick was born in 1957 in Staffordshire, where he was educated first at Cardinal Griffin Roman Catholic School and then at Staffordshire College of Agriculture.

He worked for five years in agriculture, before following his father and grandfather - both coal miners - and going to work underground at the Littleton Colliery in Cannock.

He became a member of the National Union of Mineworkers and then an industrial representative for the National Coal Board's Western Area Marketing Department.

He began to get involved with the voluntary arm of the Conservative Party from 1977, becoming a member of several National Committees and serving as Vice-Chairman of the National Young Conservatives from 1982-84.

Before becoming an MP in 1986, Patrick gained valuable political experience in the world of local government, sitting on Staffordshire County Council from 1981 to 1987 and Cannock Chase District Council between 1980 and 1987.

In June 2005, Patrick was appointed to the Privy Council.
  • MP for West Derbyshire, 1986 -
  • Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, 1989 - 1992
  • Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Employment, 1992 - 1993
  • Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, 1993 - 1994
  • Assistant Government Whip, 1995 – 1996
  • Head Commissioner at the Treasury, 1996 - 1997
  • Pairing Whip, June 1997 - 1998
  • Deputy Opposition Chief Whip, 1998 - 2005
  • Opposition Chief Whip, Dec 2005 - May 2010
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip, May 2010 - 2012
  • Secretary of State for Transport 2012 -
  • Winning my Parliamentary by-election with a majority of 100
  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Married with two children
 Now awaiting junior posts...