East Midlands IMT comes to an end

Today is the end of the East Midlands Integrated Management Team delivering track renewals for Network Rail.
 
Back in April 2004 GrantRail took over the contract to deliver track renewals as part of Network Rail’s new IMT renewals strategy. GrantRail lost the contract to Jarvis back in September/October 2007.
This IMT has now come to an end with Jarvis relocating some of the staff from Derby, whilst others have been made redundant. The relocations have been to Doncaster and Peterborough.
It appears that Network Rail have endorsed this move as they are reorganising their people to reflect this new Jarvis structure.
 
One cannot help but wonder if Derby and the East Midlands are once again going to become the forgotten back waters of the UK rail network, with energy focused on the East and West Coast lines. (Plus the Great Western Electrification.)
 
The redundancies have added to the already significant numbers of railway staff out of work. However, with major projects about to start or ramping up in London, news of the Electrification of the Great Western Main Line and a few tram projects looking likely to get going soon, I am sure there will be an up turn in six to eight months.
I also wonder how Network Rail will be able to meet the commitments they have made for Control Period 4.
 
Control Period 4 Delivery Plan 2009
 
Is High Output and Modular S&C really going to deliver the benefits and cost savings they are expecting, I am very sceptical.

Clay Cross North installation by Derby IMT
Clay Cross North installation by Derby IMT

I can foresee that the demand for Platelayers, Technical and Management staff will rise dramatically when Network Rail realises it will have to use conventional methods to meet the renewal and improvement commitments it has signed up to.

Bedford South Junction, crossover installed by Derby IMT
Bedford South Junction, crossover installed by Derby IMT

How many of our key staff will have left for Australia, China, India, US or the Middle East by then. Rail investment is booming internationally and our experienced staff will be highly sought after. Does any of this have a sense of deja vu for anyone???

New track, same rain!

I thought I would post a little update on the state of progress on the Manchester Metrolink city centre track renewals.
Things have moved on a pace over the last couple of weeks with lots of pieces of separate track now being joined together. We have continuous track from Princess Street to Delta, Victoria to Dantzic Street, Shudehill Rd to Church Street, with work progressing around Market Street Station and round into the Delta.
The new surface finish (paving) is looking very posh, perhaps it will put some of the existing paving to shame.

Mosley Street looking from York Street
Mosley Street looking from York Street

Mosley Street
Mosley Street

High Street
High Street

The job is suffering from the odd hitch, such as a run of failed welds which has led to a some rework.
Work has finally started to move on at Shudehill, there have been a few hitches, but things should now be starting to progress with the Inbound due to be fit to run trams by the end of August. Time is tight but with a bit of effort this should be possible.
Existing concrete broken out of Shudehill Station
Existing concrete broken out of Shudehill Station

It has also rained a lot, and I mean a lot. Not a day seems to go by without the heavens opening and pouring down on Manchester.

Return from Romania

I have just got back from a week in Romania, I had a great time and it is a beautiful country.
It is amazing how ones preconceived ideas are so governed by what we see on TV. Romania has moved on a long way from the images of orphanages that were on our screens 10-15 years ago. It feels like a thoroughly modern country looking to play its part in Europe.
The country is rammed full of history with Transylvania seeming to have a castle or church on every hill. Unfortunately Dracula was not at home when we visited Bran Castle, although it is an amazing place to have a look around.

Bran Castle, the alleged home of Dracula
Bran Castle, the alleged home of Dracula

Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, so called because he was partial to having his enemies impaled on stakes and then put on display. He sounds like a particularly pleasant chap, and is supposed to be the chap who inspired the character of Dracula for Bram Stoker’s stories.
Sighisoara
Sighisoara

Brasov from the top of the cable car
Brasov from the top of the cable car

One of the most surprising places we visited were the salt mines near Praid. The journey down was via a ‘Bendy Bus’ and a walk through a steeply inclined shaft. The door then opened out into a huge open cavern.
Salt Mines
Salt Mines

The caverns were huge and interlinked, it is alleged that the air down there has medicinal qualities and the locals spend the whole day down there playing games and there is even a functioning chapel. All very strange but very interesting.
Targu Mures central station at rush hour!
Targu Mures central station at rush hour!

Targu Mures station is not what one could call the busiest in the World. The single line through the town looks decidedly tired. The gauge here is 1520mm, for those that are interested.
Palace of Culture, Tagur Mures
Palace of Culture, Tagur Mures

Targu Mures was the base for our trip in Transylvania. This is a medium sized town with a pleasant town centre and all the stuff one would need in a modern city.

What should I discuss first when introducing people to Lean?

I have just started doing a bit of an explanation of Lean with some colleagues and I am wondering what the first things to explain about Lean.
I started with an little about the history of Lean then went on to explain a little about the two pillars of Lean.
Respect for People and Continuous Improvement.
I am wondering what I should address at the next session?
 
Should I explain about customer value/expectations, or should I talk about waste? Or is there a more important topic to cover first?
I am trying to keep my little talks down to 10-15min sections at the end of a weekly team meeting and think that introducing it in small sections, with some examples from our everyday office environment will help to raise awareness amongst the team if nothing else.
Any feedback/ideas would be much appreciated.