Today’s been yet another mixed bag where I’ve been keeping a wary eye on the world whilst keeping occupied scanning a selection of old slides – both rail and travel. I was up early in order to get another selection of travel shots from Brazil under my belt. That particular album’s coming along quite nicely now as I’m 2/3 of the way through the first folio and I’ll soon be starting on the selection from the island of Fernando do Noronha. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of one of today’s images from Olinda in Pernambuco state. It’s an incredibly colourful old town with some fine old buildings. You can find the rest of the Brazilian pictures here.
In order to add variety I’m simultaneously scanning some old rail shots from 1990. The idea will be to swap between rail and travel so there’s always something of interest to someone. of course, the railways looked very different in 1990 as privatisation wasn’t even on the agenda at that time.
In those days Euston was still dominated by electric locomotives – as this picture shows.
I was passing through Euston to head on up to an open day at Bescot locomotive depot just outside Birmingham. The depot put on a good show with a large variety of locomotives on display, including some withdrawn examples like 47901 here in the foreground. The weather was ideal for such an event and I certainly chewed through some film that day!
I’m still scanning the Bescot shots which you’ll be able to find in this gallery when they’re all done.
Whilst I was busy scanning the media was full of the latest leak about HS2 and a supposed ‘draft’ of the Oakervee report. Initially reported in the Financial Times the story was soon picked up by other outlets including the BBC. The leak was an odd one as it seems to have come from within government. It was soon clear that it was more spin than fact, as Andrew Sentance (one of the Oakervee Committee members made clear to the BBC. here’s how it was covered on Twitter by the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones..
Sentence also had this to say (via the BBC).
Yet again HS2 gets caught up in political games in Downing St. Mind you, HS2 isn’t the only mixed message coming out of No 10. There’s also the whole farce around Brexit the economy and promises made by Johnson to car makers before the election that have already fallen by the wayside. Let’s face it, when you have a Prime Minister who’s been sacked twice for lying you can hardly trust them, can you? Johnson may have an 80 seat majority but it’s becoming clear that his government isn’t coherent or clear in purpose. Improving the UKs infrastructure post Brexit is meant to be one of their big ideas, but the message is already riven by briefings and counter briefings, such as on HS2, which suggests a Government that’s less than united. It would be very interesting to know who in Government is briefing against HS2. Cummings?
Northern and Midlands leaders and several MPs have reacted with fury to these games by Downing St, demanding the the Oakervee review’s published so that there can’t be any more spin about its contents. We will have to see if they get their wish anytime soon…
Away from the shenanigans in Downing St it’s clear that the Harvil Rd protest has fizzled out again. Despite a few dozen Extinction Rebellion supporters and StopHs2’s Joe Rukin pitching up to make a few self-congratulatory videos claiming they’d ‘retaken’ Harvil Rd (they hadn’t) most of them had already drifted off by Sunday. It’s now business as usual as a visit to the ‘Protect the Colne Valley’ Facebook page will show. The flow of Facebook videos has dried up and work to clear the site continues pretty much unhindered.
I see from the news today that if the NHS could not screw up for 18 months, the saving in legal fees would pay for HS2. Still, payiong for lawyers is far more acceptable than buying infrastructure in today’s Britian.
Nigel Davies said:
As always Paul, top class commentary.
Amazing that there have been selective leaks to the hostile parts of the FT coverage – as to the more balanced coverage from Andy Bounds – this from the Oakervee Review which is supposedly locked in a vault.
Yesterday Network Rail explained that trying to get the benefits of HS2 onto the exisiting East Coast Mainline was “absurd” – 15 years of closures over weekends. The BBC et al did not cover this.
The reluctance to discuss the issues, rather than just sweep them under the carpet, is dispiriting .
Paul Bigland said:
I suspect what we’re seeing is infighting within Government and the unelected briefing against policies they don’t like themselves. It’s a worrying sign of just how dysfunctional this Government is. They’re only 5 weeks into power and the cracks are already showing.