Good luck Alex - you’ll have your work cut out!

Rail (UK) - - Open Access -

Alex Hynes, the new ScotRail Al­liance Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, en­thuses about his post ( RAIL 833).

I wish him well, and trust he can toughen out the carp­ing crit­i­cism that will doubt­less make it­self known be­fore long, although hope­fully it will not reach the lev­els of a year or so ago - that reached a crescendo that was to­tally un­war­ranted in many re­spects.

He will have to be aware of a co­terie of cor­re­spon­dents who as­sail the Scot­tish press with their rail­way points of view on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

For my own self, as a former BR/ ScotRail em­ployee within the Glas­gow HQ of­fice, I was in­volved in op­er­at­ing mat­ters. To­gether with col­leagues at meet­ings, I dealt with hol­i­day peaks through­out any given year, spe­cial events such as the Pa­pal visit to Scot­land in 1982, en­gi­neer­ing works ne­ces­si­tat­ing diver­sions, and dis­as­ters/ac­ci­dents such as Pen­man­shiel Tun­nel (1979) and Pol­mont (1984). All in­volved came to­gether, and I might add that the ma­jor­ity of us were of cler­i­cal grades and rel­a­tively ju­nior man­age­ment.

Alex Hynes men­tions that his TOC plan­ning team talk to Net­work Rail in the same room, to co-or­di­nate present day events. How do you think we did it?

I can also men­tion that the plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion of the Glas­gow North elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of 1959/60 was also a com­bined op­er­a­tion in the one place of all con­cerned, and the de­ba­cle that fol­lowed its in­tro­duc­tion and the re­sul­tant restora­tion of ser­vices is now leg­endary.

Scot­land is prob­lem­atic as re­gards what could be termed its phys­i­cal lay­out. There are ‘pinch points’ such as the ar­chaic track ge­om­e­try and lay­out of Perth that does noth­ing for Glas­gow-Aberdeen ser­vices, and nor does the sin­gle-track South Esk Viaduct at Mon­trose help mat­ters on the over­all East Coast route. Cou­pled to long-over­due re­place­ment of sem­a­phore sig­nalling and as­so­ci­ated sig­nal boxes on this and other routes, this should be a pri­or­ity.

And not for­get­ting all the other in­fra­struc­ture, near­ing an av­er­age age of 150 years, which war­rants close at­ten­tion. Weed and veg­e­ta­tion clear­ance (not just for OLE) should also be the or­der of the day. John Mac­nab, Falkirk

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