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New transport minister

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    "
    Keith Brown has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ochil Constituency since May 2007. Before his election he served for eleven years as a councillor in Clackmannanshire, and held the post of Council Leader from 1999 to 2003. He has also been since 1999 a member of the European Union's Committee of the Regions, serving as President (2004-2006) of the Union for a Europe of the Nations - European Alliance (UEN-EA) group on that body. He was appointed Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning in February 2009.

    Mr Brown worked for 15 years as a local government professional in neighbouring Stirling, where he was also an active trade union representative with UNISON. He is a graduate of Dundee University and a former Marine who served in the Falklands. Originally from Edinburgh, Keith now lives in Dollar with his three children.
    "

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/14944/Scottish-Cabinet/keithbrownmsp

    "
    Born in Edinburgh, Brown attended Tynecastle High School in the city, before joining the Marines and serving in the Falklands War.
    "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Brown_(politician)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. kaputnik
    Member

    Your search - "keith brown" MSP cycling - did not match any documents.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. wee folding bike
    Member

    But a Google search for Nick Clegg or David Cameron and cycling does match documents so this might not be a good metric.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

  5. kaputnik
    Member

    Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (and Pointing out the Obvious)

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. chdot
    Admin

    But no -

    "
    Meanwhile, the Climate Change brief will be added to the portfolio of Roseanna Cunningham, who becomes Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.
    "

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/12/12132407

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. kaputnik
    Member

    I see. To clarify then, just plain old Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Pointing out the Obvious

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    "Pointing out the Obvious"

    Perhaps, or pointing out that Scotland has the toughest CC targets - but not much clue about how to reach them.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. kaputnik
    Member

    hybrid mini-tractors, I would have thought that was obvious

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. LaidBack
    Member

    The whole weather question is full of contradictions.
    I'm not surprised that Struan Stevenson was hit by the backlash.
    I doubt though if any party in Scotland would have handled differently. Even if if we had automatic barriers to stop people joining blocked motorways people would still try to go round them, such is the belief in car based transport! The whole thing you see is competitive and those who got through are 'winners'!

    • Contrast driving with the rail shutdown featuring non-weatherproofed trains specified during the previous Scottish Lab/Lib Coalition. This week proved to people again that when the going gets tough, rail doesn't work (although it should). I wonder how the new Edin-Glasgow link will work in bad weather?

    • Many motorists must have also seen the forecast and ignored it.

    • Logistics companies allowed trucks to enter roads that were already failing. These distributions have satellite tracking and very accurate forecasting yet ... it didn't work.

    • We have twitter feeds, Tom-toms, mobile phones etc etc and we still had chaos. Maybe less though than it would have been without?

    • Many people trapped did not seem to have the equipment that had been suggested in recent ad campaigns. So the public really doesn't believe they could get stuck in snow. Part of this may be that people hate the idea of the 'nanny state' etc. Plus there's the belief that a mobile phone should always be able to summon assistance.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. wee folding bike
    Member

    I'm sure the BBC said Stevenson caused the snow. They made him apologise for it. A piece on Newsnet Scotland has BBC reports and they aren't quite as good as the BBC have been making out.

    http://newsnetscotland.com/politics/1200-stewart-stevenson-has-gone-he-may-be-gone-some-time

    I've read that Mr Gray wanted 50 million cut from the winter roads budget but I don't have source for that one so treat it with suspicion. I also haven't been able to track down who was transport sec when the major roads were subbed out to Amey and Bear. It was under the Lib/Labs but Mr Gray was transport sec around 2002.

    The reopened line from Queen St - Edinburgh is going to use repurposed 334s from the Central - Ayr line.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_334

    Ayr is going to get 380s which have been breaking down in trials. They are built by Siemens but I don't know where. Siemens haven't managed to sort out the traffic lights at the bottom of our street and they've been tinkering for months.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_380

    I was watching Al Murry's show about Germany today and they had a Victorian steam tram running in the snow.

    Someone I work with took 5 hours to get home on Monday. She stays at most 5 miles from the school. Rather than park up her car somewhere and walk she chose to sit in it. There are a number of places where she could have safely left it. There were even people who left cars at the school from Monday to Friday and nothing bad happened.

    I've got a spade in the trunk and I'm usually dressed for the weather anyway. if I'm not wearing Scarpa walking boots then it will be Docs. It's a Volvo wagon with child seats in the trunk so I use the kids as extra weight over the back wheels. Don't tell their mum that.

    Once the snow fell and the first traffic got stuck I'm not sure what the gritters and snow ploughs were meant to do. It was nose to tail from my work in the east of Glasgow through Coatbridge and into Airdrie. This held me up a bit but mostly that was down to the cops not letting traffic east bound into Coatbridge.

    Looking at using two wheels tomorrow unless it's very icy. Met office sent an email warning about snow on Thursday but it's not showing up on their web page yet.

    EDIT - M8 in Glasgow closed again.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. LaidBack
    Member

    I'm sure the BBC said Stevenson caused the snow.

    LOL! The weather gods were angry as he came from the 'other' tribe.
    Sacrificing him is as likely to get road and rail running this week as anything else.

    Quite primitive really!

    It's a Volvo wagon with child seats in the trunk so I use the kids as extra weight over the back wheels.

    They have their uses!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. chdot
    Admin

    "I doubt though if any party in Scotland would have handled differently."

    Not really a party issue. There is plenty more 'the government' should have done on Monday, but the main reason SS had to resign was because of his performance on Newsnight Scotland at 11.00 that night where he was not only rejoicingly complacent but also clearly unaware of the fact that people had been stuck on various motorways for many hours with no realistic prospect of relief.

    "Even if if we had automatic barriers to stop people joining blocked motorways people would still try to go round them"

    Depends how good the barriers were! BUT I still can't understand why the Police didn't start by preventing more vehicles joining the M8 at Hermiston and Newbridge (and Glasgow equivalents) until it was clear whether those already 'travelling' had anywhere to go. There are enough cameras to give an quick idea of how things were developing. This should have been happening around 9AM.

    It seems that not only did the Police and other agencies (not forgetting BEAR Scotland - "BEAR Scotland is based in Perth, Scotland and is the Operating Company responsible for managing and maintaining both the North East and South East trunk road networks on behalf of Transport Scotland. These networks include a large part of the motorway network and the important strategic links to the main cities in Scotland.") fail to make up some plan to deal with the problem, it would appear that there was no implementable emergency plan for the eventuality of 'quite a lot of snow' falling at 'rush hour'.

    That, while unusual, it is hardly unforeseeable. The lack of a workable plan IS (nominally) the responsibility of the Transport Minister. It would be nice to think that some people in (for instance) Transport Scotland will be thinking about resigning, but...

    It's all very well for 'the buck stops here' style of governance, but if that means that only the person at the top 'carries the can' it hardly encourages others to do what should be their various jobs.

    As for the ScotRail 'service' - ignoring the (perpetual) frozen points problem (Network Rail) and the 'can't handle the cold' rolling stock - how difficult is it for the National Rail database to be updated with real/accurate information??

    I know people who have stood at Haymarket trying to get to Fife - having checked the web sites before they left home - only to find "no trains", but the web site (on their phone) saying that specific trains are due to leave Waverley at the normal time.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. wee folding bike
    Member

    On Tuesday Scotrail's web page said the trains were running here, prospective passengers on the platform said they weren't.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. kaputnik
    Member

    They are built by Siemens but I don't know where.

    Germania.

    I know people who have stood at Haymarket trying to get to Fife - having checked the web sites before they left home - only to find "no trains", but the web site (on their phone) saying that specific trains are due to leave Waverley at the normal time.

    My boss lives in Dunfermline. Says he checked online and it said "no trains". He went to the station anyway as he didn't have alternative transport home and the screens said "no train". He pressed the button to talk to the controller and they said "no train". He waited a couple of minutes and a train pulled up and stopped. He got on and got home.

    Makes you wonder how it's possible to drive phantom trains around the network without anyone knowing. Actually it's probably perfectly possible. One assumes the Network Rail signalling staff don't talk to the ScotRail customer passenger service staff.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. wee folding bike
    Member

    There are real ghost trains. They run for contractual reasons. There was a show on BBC a few weeks ago about some stations in England were trains do run but you can't buy a ticket. It's cheaper to run a ghost train there than have the station shut down.

    Edit
    Found the Ghost Train show but it's not available now:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vhhcf

    Were anyone to really want to hear it... I might have a copy somewhere.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. kaputnik
    Member

    There's a page on Wikipedia, Parliamentary trains

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. Morningsider
    Member

    Kaputnik - Network Rail manages the Train Service Database, which collates real-time information on train running provided by each operating company and is used by the national rail enquiries service to provide information to passengers - it is also used to update passenger information screens at stations. NR were criticised last year for not keeping this up to date during the poor weather and seem to have been caught out again. Staff at stations may know what is happening as long as their company is telling them about train services directly, rather than relying on NR.

    The Class 380 trains were built at Krefeld in northern Germany.

    chdot - BEAR Scotland has detailed winter maintenance plans in place:

    http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/files/documents/roads/SE_WINTER_SERVICE_PLAN_2010-11_sanitised_version.pdf

    These plans must be approved by Transport Scotland. Obviously, they don't really seem to work in practice - but they do exist.

    wee folding bike - it was SPOKES member Sarah Boyack who set up the current trunk road maintenance contract system.

    As to why the police didn't stop the traffic joining the motorways earlier, I'm not sure. But the cameras are actually operated by a private company (Atkins) and it is quite possible that the relevant information was not making its way through the layers of bureaucracy to the officers on the ground. Also, would you want to be the one who decieded to shut the M8? I imagine that would only happen with the approval of the top brass (which takes time).

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. chdot
    Admin

    @Morningsider

    Very interesting.

    To summarise (apologies if you don't like this précis) - it's all a bit of a mess.

    "Obviously, they don't really seem to work in practice - but they do exist."

    - yes, I was suggesting that they failed to 'make a plan' on the day with or without reference to the 'approved document'!

    "the cameras are actually operated by a private company (Atkins)"

    - it gets better!

    I would have thought that the various (more than one?) control centres with banks of video screens would be talking to the police(???)

    However there IS an app for it (stills only) - FREE.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. Morningsider
    Member

    @chdot. I agree - it is a mess. The only people I can see benefiting from the systems for road and rail are contract lawyers and the operating companies. Although it can't hurt senior Transport Scotland officials to be able to blame failures on contractors, who will of course blame "unprecedented conditions" (i.e. snow and low temperatures in winter) for the problems.

    I should say that Atkins provides the whole Traffic Scotland service under contract to Transport Scotland, it doesn't just operate the cameras.

    Were BEAR, Atkins, Transport Scotland, Scottish Resilience officials, emergency services and local authorities all talking top each other on the day? There are procedures in place for this - but again they would appear not to work in practice.

    I suspect a failure in senior leadership here - lower level officials will have been talking to each other - but higher ups were probably afraid of taking the necessary decisions for fear of making a mistake (i.e. closing a motorway and it turns out this wasn't necessary). It is a feature of offical Scotland that your main role is to avoid mistakes and bad press - no-one wants to be responsible a gaffe and have attention drawn to themselves. When presented with a difficult choice, senior officals will waste time trying to divine the "right" course of action through lengthy consultations with interested parties, with an eye to the media, rather than quickly assessing the situation and taking a decision which they are prepared to defend as the right decision based on information available at the time.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. chdot
    Admin

    "There are procedures in place for this - but again they would appear not to work in practice."

    AND the politicians and senior officials (+ presumably someone from the police) did meet at least once on the day - presumably at St. Andrew's House.

    "higher ups were probably afraid of taking the necessary decisions for fear of making a mistake"

    Indeed

    "I suspect a failure in senior leadership here" - it would be interesting to know what Mr. Stevenson was being told so that he was able to suggest that the response had been just fine!!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. wee folding bike
    Member

    The Met office are saying heavy snow for Thursday/Friday.

    If it doesn't show up we will be thinking it was a lucky escape, if it does we can say they got it right.

    I better have a look at the old Longstaff transmission. This morning was smooth. Sturmey Archer gears which didn't crunch and brakes which worked without having to wait till the snow rubbed off the rim (didn't use the front one). I did walk the first 1/4 mile because nothing gets done in our road.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. kaputnik
    Member

    Eeep! I'm down to x23c tyres on all bikes as the tourer rim is completely goosed and they're having trouble locating a new one. Hope tomorrow's phone call brings good news.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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