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Friday 24 September 2010

Travelling Hopefully

There’s one drawback to giving out your email address: it gives others the chance to email you. So it is with Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, whose latest bulletin arrived this morning. Eddie has decided to go in to bat for Bombardier Transportation, who run the Railway Works – or, to be more accurate, what is left of it.

Fortunately, he’s making more sense than when he accused the previous Government of “exporting jobs to Japan”, when the issue was the building of new trains, something the Works has not done for almost two decades. This time, he is talking refurbishment, which at least is within the capability of the plant.

Eddie is backing the idea of life extending the InterCity 125 train sets, rather than new build, the latter likely to fall victim to spending cuts. Unfortunately, he has overlooked one or two important points.

First, the IC125 power cars have almost all been through a programme of refurbishment already – mainly at Brush in Loughborough. None of them have been refurbished at Crewe. Second, while Bombardier have refurbished coaching stock recently, none of that work came to Crewe either.

And the only part of the Works that Bombardier seem to be interested in right now is the wheel shop – it alone is on a two-shift day. Could the IC125 coach wheelsets be part of that? Well, they already are – so nothing would change.

Just how much Bombardier value Crewe Works was shown recently when a large part of the wall marking the boundary between the south side of the site and the Crewe to Chester main line collapsed. There is no sign of it being repaired. Heck, much of the debris is still lying there.

The workforce would love to do life extension work on the IC125s. Whether Bombardier are about to give them the opportunity is another matter entirely. I do hope that Eddie is not about to trust them without something written and suitably enforceable.


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