Episode 35

Turbo Pendolinos for HS2? Is a directing mind required & why Tornado cost £1m to overhaul

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Episode Overview

HS2 and Phase 2 to Manchester may have been cancelled but the problems have only begun. How to deal with the 54 brand new Alstom / Hitachi trains on order? What about fewer seats being available on Britain’s most valuable route, London – Manchester? And then there’s Euston station – what on earth do we build now? Chris Gibb, a senior figure in the railway industry previously a director of Virgin Cross Country, Virgin West Coast and Network Rail to name but three thinks he knows what to do – and he’s written it down in a dramatic new plan which we discuss in detail with him.

Andrew Haines has appeared at the Public Accounts Committee where he and the DfT officials also present seemed to reject the notion of a directing mind. The Labour Party, possibly the next party of Government, appear to think otherwise. Is there a showdown coming?

There’s mixed news in the Heritage Sector. In an interview with Steve Davies MBE, Chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust which owns celebrity locomotive 60163 Tornado, we discuss how its recent general overhaul cost £1m as well as the challenges faced when installing a modern electronic signalling system onto a steam engine. Then we consider the desperate times faced at the Nene Valley Railway which needs £300,000 to stay afloat.

And, there’s good news from the Community Rail sector. We discuss Community Rail week and the marvellous work volunteers carry out to promote their loco lines and stations.