Train operators in denial. What planet are they ON?! – Wednesday May 26 2010.
It’s a press day and RAIL’s Richard Clinnick has just brought the office to a standstill (and not for the first time, but we won’t go into that now) by a truly gobsmacking exchange with a train operator ‘somewhere in England.’
He’s chasing up the specific effects on the railway of the £6bn spending cuts announced on May 24 by the coalition Con Lib Government. That’s not as easy as you think because drilling down into the detail is like trying to grab hold of an eel in a bucket of oil but he’s plugging away.
Anyway, this was the exchange which he’s just reported, and which is 100% true.
RC: “Hi, this is Richard at RAIL, I’m chasing up the effects of spending cuts on new train orders – specifically EMUs - which now might not go ahead. Do you know how you’re affected?”
Now, he was fully expecting to be told “Sorry we can’t tell you yet, the DfT haven’t actually told us,” which would be par for the course. What he wasn’t expecting, from a TOC communications spokesman was the answer he actually got – which was:
“Cuts? What cuts were these? When were these announced…? Can we get someone to give you a call…?”
How on earth could the proverbial ‘man in the street’ miss and be unaware of Monday’s £6bn cuts announcement – let alone a titled spokesperson from a train operating company press office?
Crisis - what crisis?!