Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Is One Barnet Riddled too?

RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that the Government call a halt to the 18 month long saga of the Siemens/Thameslink fleet contract after it emerged from questions asked by Derby MP and RMT Parliamentary Group Member Chis Williamson that officials are now looking at an alternative as the deal is no closer to sign-off and is clearly riddled with serious contamination.
 In the answers to PQs that Chris Williamson tabled –below – it emerges that the DFT are actively “assessing options were it not possible to secure financial close”. RMT believes that the only alternative option is the UK train-building plant at Bombardier in Derby.
 The answers also suggest the timetable for the delivery of the rolling stock has slipped (the original ministerial statement last year said the first new train would be on the network by the start of 2015 and the “order complete by the middle of 2017”).   The new answers say  “We expect the first trains to be delivered for testing on the network in summer 2015 and deployment of the full fleet to be completed towards the end of 2018.”
 As a result of the continuing chaos – which mirrors the West Coast fiasco and involves the same DFT officials - RMT is calling for the Thameslink contract, 18 months after it was awarded in principle to German outfit Siemens, to be handed to Bombardier in Derby, protecting the future of the last train builder in the nation that gave the railways to the world.
 The game is clearly up for this deal which is riddled with the same flaws as the West Coast main line fiasco.  But what lessons will Barnet Tories learn from this and other contracts that have faced the same defects? What will they learn from other councils that have put the brakes or completely stopped their outsourcing as they saw the dangers in time?
I sadly think nothing.  Central office had to step in at the last minute to suspend their wayward councillor, maybe they will have to on One Barnet

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