Last week’s Great North Eastern Railway partial derailment
threatened to scupper a tea party held by Tony Blair at No 10 for a
delegation of Labour Party press officers from the Yorkshire region.
Blair invited the workers as a belated thank you for their efforts
during last year’s election.
After carefully timing the event to avoid the strike by London’s Tube
drivers and action later last week by RMT workers, the derailment of the
GNER train in Bedfordshire last Tuesday threw a spanner in the works for
the timetables for the next day.
Garry Cochrane, who before becoming PR officer at Leeds-based Privilege
Insurance, helped on the press effort behind Labour’s campaign, says he
decided to risk a train from Leeds station: ’I got to the station and
they advised me to go to London via Manchester but I finally got a train
to York and found a train going to London.’
Cochrane says conditions on the train weren’t ideal preparation for his
stroll down the corridors of power: ’There were people sitting in the
luggage rack,’ he tells me. However, by chance he met a press officer
from union GMB who procured him a seat.
After a fraught few hours Cochrane finally made it to Number Ten.
Despite concerns over the state of the transport system he’s still