After a decent (but short) nights sleep I’m about to wander across the road to Carlisle station to head on up to Scotland for more COP26 rail events. I’ll update this blog throughout the day, so feel free to keep popping back and see what I get up to. My first port of call will be Glasgow before heading across to Mossend for the opening of the three day ‘low carbon logistics’ event…
Carlisle station’s a bit ‘brown bread’ (cockney rhyming slang for dead) at 06:30 on a Monday morning. A couple of folk were keeping warm on the early train to Morpeth but it wasn’t until the London and Glasgow trains arrived almost simultaneously at 06:48 that the station started to wake up. I’m now sat on Trans-Pennine Express’ 07:48 to Glasgow which has made its way North from Manchester airport. Bizarrely, those who oppose High Speed 2 (HS2) argue that services like this help airport expansion. Despite their mental gymnastics they can’t cope with the fact that if people are going to fly it’s far better than people take less carbon-intensive forms of transport to airports. It’s why more advanced countries than our are phasing out internal flights and putting people on services like this instead. It’s yet another example of why the UK ‘green’ movement is often anything but.
I’ve just had a wander through the train and reckon loading is at about 15%, which isn’t bad (but isn’t great either) for such an early morning service. There’s a real mix of ages. An old lady in a wheelchair is in my car, along with several dozing younger people. In the next coach are a a couple of guys working (one with his table strewn with paper printouts) whilst a besuited gent grabs some shut-eye.
I’ve got a table bay of four to myself and set up the mobile office to do some work en-route. The trolley’s been round meaning I have coffee (and a Kitkat) so all’s well with the world!
Getting to Mossend was easy. There’s regular Scotrail trains to nearby Bellshill where the event had arranged for shuttle buses to carry people to the site where marquees had been set op to hold the event which was opened by Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Dey MSP who gave an in-depth speech on the way Scotland is determined to tackle transport Co2 emissions.
We’ve had some really interesting presentations (details later) but now we’re off to see one of the freight locomotives being named. So (of course) the heavens have decided this is a good time to open! The organisers were prepared and we’ve been given natty DB red umbrellas.
We’re about to kick off the afternoon session after lunch and the the loco naming. GBRf named one of their Class 92s after the founder of PD Stirling. The engine was named by Stirling family members.
Time to bring the day to an end. The afternoon session at the conference was really interesting. Alex Hynes came back to speak once more, then we had an excellent panel session chaired by Bill Reeve of Transport Scotland. Called “Scottish Businesses & Industry Delivering Low Carbon Logistics” the panel consisted of Tim Hartley, Business Development Director, GB Railfreight. Kenneth Russell, Commercial and Strategy Director, John G Russell Transport. David Turner, Rail Director, Malcolm Logistics. Chris Swan, Head of Rail, Tarmac and Catherine Hall, Head of Strategic Planning, Network Rail.
The final session of the day came from Stephen Carr, Group Commercial Director of Peel Ports whose presentation on changing the face of how logistics networks work in the UK demonstrated how many road miles and tonnes of carbon could be saved by reappraising how the existing networks worked.
There was far too much ground covered to fit in this blog but I’ll be writing about it in detail at a later date.
As the afternoon unfolded emails I received changed my plans yet again. It seems that I’m much in demand here at COP 26 as two more short-notice jobs were arranged for me. This means I’m going to be doing a very good impression of a blue-arsed fly for the rest of my time here in Scotland.
Tonight I’m back in Glasgow staying with a good friend. Tomorrow is another day. Watch out for a disjointed rolling blog as I bounce around from event to event…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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