First and 42nd called in by Thames Trains

Go Ahead Group, which owns Thames Trains, has hired strategic communications consultancy First and 42nd to provide it with crisis communications advice in the wake of last week’s Paddington rail crash.

Go Ahead Group, which owns Thames Trains, has hired strategic

communications consultancy First and 42nd to provide it with crisis

communications advice in the wake of last week’s Paddington rail

crash.



First and 42nd risk management director Mike Seymour was brought into

the account last week, alongside Go Ahead’s retained public affairs

agency, Consolidated Communications.



Go Ahead is keen to assist the Government’s inquiry into the rail crash,

which is being headed by Lord Cullen and is likely to determine the

future of rail safety in the UK.



Aside from communicating this message, the company has also briefed

Seymour and Consolidated director James Boyd to open channels of

communication with key political audiences in the constituencies served

by the London to Bedwyn Thames train as well as opposition transport

spokespeople.



Seymour’s 12 years handling crisis PR include advising construction

company Bechtel during the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion in 1988 and

helping Heineken manage a world recall of its products four years ago.

The follow-up inquiry to Piper Alpha was also headed by Cullen and

redefined offshore safety in the North Sea. Seymour and Boyd both report

to Go Ahead executive director Chris Moyes.



Boyd said: ’Thames Trains is fully committed to finding the true cause

of the disaster and being able to identify the best ways of preventing

similar accidents in the future.’



Meanwhile, First Group, which owns First Great Western - the company

operating the London-bound train that collided with the Thames train, is

using its retained financial agency, Brunswick, to handle its crisis

media relations. The agency also handles PR for Railtrack.



While Great Western and Thames Trains have largely escaped media

attention, Railtrack has borne the media brunt of what has been billed

the worst train crash in 50 years.



Leader, p8.



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