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Author Topic: Andrew Haines speaking yesterday (16/10)  (Read 562 times)
RichardB
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« on: October 17, 2018, 08:09:31 pm »

Graham asked me to post a note on Andrew Haines' talk at the GWR Stakeholder Conference yesterday.

Andrew said that yesterday's conference was the first he had spoken at since taking up his new post as NR CEO. 

Key points -
* He's a passionate believer in what railways can do for people, but he is not a railway enthusiast.
* There has to be change at Network Rail.  They have lost sight of the passenger.  NR is a customer (as in passenger) service company, just one step removed.
*  Performance was best in Olympics year 2012 and has declined since then.  Must get back to this.  He said we need to treat every year like it was Olympics year - getting that level of focus and determination together with being ruthless about not doing things that were less important but sapped time and energy.
*  Rail's problems this year have damaged NR recruitment.  Fewer people want to work for them at the moment.
*  The role of the DfT in rail is unsustainable.  One example - it was never intended that the Secretary of State personally would be making the degree of decisions that he has to.
*  On the fence re the Digital Railway.  Noted that Mark Carne was very keen on it but he wants to see the figures.  Much closer track/train working needed to make it work.
*  Root and branch reform needed of systems (he referenced timetabling) set up in 1994 and still much the same now.
*  Very positive about the Rail Review and particularly about Keith Williams, who he knows well from the CAA.
*  NR has to regain the ability to listen.

Further points came out in response to questions:

*  Repeated what he had said in Parliament that the move to centralised timetable planning was a mistake but the key now is the transition.
*  Evidently Chris Grayling contacted Andrew on Sunday about the problem at Teignmouth, fearing it was a sea wall issue.
*  Happy to work with anyone in respect of providing infrastructure as long as they have the competences.  NR asset protection can sometimes be a bit too risk averse.  There needs to be a balance.
*  Must be much more realistic about aspirations for new stations.  He said that he had recently met the Wessex Route and some of the aspired for new stations on their list were unchanged from when he was with SWT in 1997 and hadn't got any nearer being realised.  He said a lot of money had been wasted on ideas for stations for which the figures could never be made to stack up and NR had to have some hard conversations.  He said let's concentrate on the realistic aspirations. 
*  On enhancements, he said the DfT will be managing the pipeline of schemes for CP6.  People need to talk to the DfT first.  First priority for NR is to deliver the Govt's priorities.

He spoke very well and my overall impression is of a man with a mission.  All power to his elbow.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 08:45:28 pm by RichardB » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 08:51:13 pm »

*  On enhancements, he said the DfT will be managing the pipeline of schemes for CP6.  People need to talk to the DfT first.  First priority for NR is to delivering the Govt's priorities.

He spoke very well and my overall impression is of a man with a mission.  All power to his elbow.


He is a "political" appointment up to his appointment NR pretty much sort, interviewed and appointed its own CEO, now NR is a Government owned company and the one and only share holder they have appointed their man and make no mistake he is on a political agenda set by the DfT aka HMG.  HMG will of course do what is good for the tax payer and the travelling public  Roll Eyes


He is a railwayman time will tell if he truly is a Railwayman
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 08:56:54 pm »

I read these two statements:

...ruthless about not doing things that were less important but sapped time and energy

...and...

Must be much more realistic about aspirations for new stations.

...to mean that NR will resist any attempt to expand the network. I can see the logic - get what you've got right before you grow it - but given the geological timescales required for rail investment projects to come to fruition, I can't see any reason to rejoice. Maybe it depends on where you live - in London, people get cross if they have to wait 5 minutes for a train; round here a lot of people have been waiting for 50 years...




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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 10:54:33 pm »

Graham asked me to post a note on Andrew Haines' talk at the GWR Stakeholder Conference yesterday.

Andrew said that yesterday's conference was the first he had spoken at since taking up his new post as NR CEO. 

Tremendous report, thank you, Richard - and that on top of your unconventional journey home too.

Andrew has a number of excellent points / directions there.   He took First Great Western (as it was) when it was in something of a state with similarities to the state Network Rail is in, and pulled it into a much more positive position in what (looking back) felt like a very short time.   Network Rail is probably a bigger challenge in many ways, and I look forward to seeing developments that change certain issues for the better.
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RichardB
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 12:14:32 am »

Thanks Graham.
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Lee
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 02:02:49 am »

I read these two statements:

...ruthless about not doing things that were less important but sapped time and energy

...and...

Must be much more realistic about aspirations for new stations.

...to mean that NR will resist any attempt to expand the network. I can see the logic - get what you've got right before you grow it - but given the geological timescales required for rail investment projects to come to fruition, I can't see any reason to rejoice. Maybe it depends on where you live - in London, people get cross if they have to wait 5 minutes for a train; round here a lot of people have been waiting for 50 years...

I remember attending a GWR Stakeholder Conference a few years back in Bristol when, completely out of the blue, a cocky, arrogant NR middle manager baldly stated that Corsham station would never reopen. Up until that point, the Corsham Station Campaign had valiantly kept hopes of reopening genuinely in the frame, and the prospects, whilst not being imminent, still seemed realistic in the not too distant future. However, from that point onwards the wind was completely taken out of Corsham's sails, and apart from the odd mention by politicians at election time, the profile and chance of success of the reopening proposal has been very much on the back burner ever since. It is a great shame to see Haines - up until now seen by many as a genuine potential NR progressive - effectively put forward and validate the same line in today's context.

I also remember how impressed I was by Haines when I witnessed his awesome "Burning Platform For Change" speech at TravelWatch South West in the late 2000s when he was FGW top dog, and the real hope for the future that it gave those present. I'm glad i wasnt there yesterday - It strikes me as being very similar to the feeling you get from seeing one of your favourite rock stars years after the golden days, wishing you could just remember them as they were, with NR playing the role of the increasingly clapped out backing band with the whole combo waiting for something new, fresh, talented, effective and relevant to the fan base to come along and replace them.
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 06:36:26 am »

However we have seen huge amounts spent on studies of possible reopenings repeated time and time again without actually doing anything.  If a project really is a non starter then this is a waste of money and resources.  There has to be a balance here.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 08:01:40 am »

One of the things I think he should do is a root and branch review of the GRIP process.  Its no longer fit for purpose, and its non-flexible approach is the key thing thats causing ideas to be stifled.  Having been involved in quite a few 'studies' in the past, I can tell you it also costs a lot of money (as well as time), and for single option ideas is a complete waste.  Don't feel it will change though.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 09:15:38 am »

I agree, subject to the retention of the Business Case calculation. Where money will always be tight, projects must stack up....
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paul7755
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 10:16:08 am »

I have an idea that independent projects also get the wrong idea.  Network Rail should be empowered to tell people their idea is worthless, and never likely to be built. 

Stuff like the across Windsor link.  There was a stage where that group were even saying publically that NR had approved the plans.  The probability was just that NR hadnít publically disapproved the plan but were too polite to say so...

Paul
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2018, 01:36:47 pm »

One of the things I think he should do is a root and branch review of the GRIP process.  Its no longer fit for purpose, and its non-flexible approach is the key thing thats causing ideas to be stifled.  Having been involved in quite a few 'studies' in the past, I can tell you it also costs a lot of money (as well as time), and for single option ideas is a complete waste.  Don't feel it will change though.

I think the GRIP process is absolutely fit for purpose - if we acknowledge that its purpose is to slow down and, if possible, prevent investment.
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