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Black is the new transparent

Those who lived through World War Two’s blackout will remember it as a time when the British hid things from the enemy by covering windows in every house with heavy blackout paper and curtains, to stop the Germans from seeing the light.

The Prime Minister, who says he believes in transparent government, has helped to bring about a new blackout where Parliament hides things from the public by means of heavy black marker.

Instead of being Tangoed, you have been redacted.

We understand that some industries are keen to follow suit. The railway, always eager to curry favour with Whitehall, is to use blackout throughout the Rule Book in an effort to conceal certain facts from the reader. Everyone will know they are there but they’ll be hidden from view.

This is what one of the new redacted T2s will look like.

All references to green zones will be blacked out, redacted; all references to the cess will be blacked out, redacted. The same will apply to position of safety, safe systems of work, rest periods, lookout men, T2s, walking routes - they will all go.

We may never see the light again. They certainly won’t!

At least the environment’s green

A little bird tells us that Network Rail is going green and has introduced an environmental programme to recycle all its waste paper. Collection points have been set up in the company’s offices across the country from where the paper is brought to a central processing plant for transformation into reusable assets.

So far, it is understood that used red zone Rimini packs have been compressed to make over 24,000 sleepers. Using a revolutionary technique, green zone documentation going back to 1999 has been pulped and remoulded to form three ballast pieces which have been installed as a tripping hazard in the Down cess near Chipping Sodbury. zone Rimini packs have been compressed to make over 24,000 sleepers...

A job with no prospects

On 2nd February, a Network Rail press release for the north-east urged Yorkshire’s aspiring engineers not to miss out on a highly coveted place on the company’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme.

This must be the same scheme of which Peter Bennett, NR’s head of human resources, says “if we train them well we will have them with us for 30 years.”

A group of Network Rail apprentices are escorted to the railway to begin their on-track training.
Photo: Pam Brophy

Not many years ago, work on the railway was so inspiring that staff expected to stay in the industry for a lifetime so, as Mr Bennett works to put over 1,400 trackworkers on the scrapheap, why would anyone want to become an apprentice for redundancy?

Story added 1st March 2010

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