If electrification on the Great Western were late then the very expensive new IEP trains could be sitting unused or underused.
Politically, if such a thing were to happen, it would be very embarrassing indeed.
Politcal speed dating
It is clear that the government has had enough and has decided that something major has to change.
A few decades ago the state our railways nationally would not have been a major political concern.
Now it most definitely is – and that is before one talks about HS2.
To begin with, Transport Secretary Patrick Mc Loughlin’s statement on Network Rail in front of Parliament this morning contained no surprises – at least not to those familiar with the works delays and escalating project costs currently plaguing the organisation.
Nor was it too much of a surprise when he confirmed that current chairman Richard Parry-Jones would be leaving.
New projects are well behind schedule and costs appear to be way too high.Indeed although it is not said, the current works at London Bridge seem to be the high point of Network Rail’s work in progress being, as far as we are aware, both on time and on budget – but even here work has been plagued with very public problems.What surprising, however, was when Mc Loughlin casually named his successor – London’s very own long-serving Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, who will take up post on 16th July.In that one moment the entire political landscape of London’s current transport governance changed.It was an Office of Rail and Road report expressing “serious concerns” over the organisation which prompted a piece by Roger Ford in the aforementioned Modern Railways.What was more telling though was that the editorial spelt out just what the impact was going to be.