Railtrack and the administrators of its operating company are to
take on PR support as the transport firm tackles the biggest crisis in
its short history.
Senior board figures at Railtrack Group are understood to have had talks
with Ceri Evans, MD of Golin/ Harris Ludgate's PA operation, following
the announcement last Sunday by trade secretary Stephen Byers that its
operating company was to be put into administration.
Railtrack, which was privitised in 1996, is taking legal action to
recover £350m of assets frozen after administrators Ernst & Young
Railtrack has now started a PR campaign to argue that the assets were in
the Railtrack group, which has a property portfolio, not the operating
company, which runs the track network.
The company is arguing that funds should be made accessible to its
shareholders, who fear they may lose out.
Meanwhile at Ernst & Young, director of media relations Kevin Russell
has confirmed that staff at two agencies are on the verge of being
appointed to help with the crisis PR effort. This is thought likely to
involve two briefs - one for PA support and another for general PR work
and issues management.
Russell said: 'We are not looking at vast teams, but at individuals with
He said Ernst & Young's nine-strong media team was working alongside
Railtrack Group's in-house PROs to communicate reassurance to customers,
staff and contractors, that despite the crisis it is business as
Railtrack switched financial PR support just days before Byers'
The Maitland Consultancy was appointed late last week, taking over from
Brunswick after a competitive pitch.
Previous crises for Railtrack include being blamed for the Hatfield rail
crash last year.
The company was forced to clear a backlog of maintenance work and pay
millions of pounds in compensation to train operators for the disruption
- Leader, p10.