At 7am today the two winning bidders for the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises were revealed in a Stock Exchange announcement.
For me, this was a whole new thing. I’m used to being on the inside track (as it were) but this is the first time I’ve had to prepare releases, comments (for Rail North and WYCA) and briefing notes without actually having the names of the winners in my possession – just the code names used for the winning bidders. The fact that everyone in the rail industry knew anyway just added to the annoyance, as I’d had to sign DfT confidentiality agreements. Someone from Northern came up to me at the PRide Awards Dinner last week and said “I heard Arriva had won” – which I couldn’t confirm or deny, even if I knew the answer.
So it was that I arrived in the office at 7.15am this morning to update the 11 briefing notes we’d prepared with the actual names, then email out to the 29 local transport authorities; then update the web site; then send the release to local authority and LEP bodies who had responded to the original consultation back in the summer of 2014.
And then accompany DfT Minister Andrew Jones MP on a trip to Hull, to make contact with the Rail North reps over there and make sure they met, if only for 10 minutes – after the media event at Leeds Station. He’s still not sure who I am…
After having to work last Sunday, a late finish last night and today’s early start I’m pretty glad I don’t have to do this for another six years (assuming I have to do it at all)!