David Blake interviewed by Brian Clementson

2018-04-09 in Leicestershire
Brian Leonard Clementson

Oral history interview with David Blake conducted and recorded by Brian Clementson at the interviewee's home in Leicestershire on 9 April 2018. Duration: 45 min. 1 sec. Career overview; Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer British Rail: Southern Region; seconded to find £80 million cost savings; looking at possible privatisation of British Rail Engineering Ltd. (BREL); Doncaster Wagon Works sale; Director of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering (DM&EE) British Railways Board (BRB); safety; appointed to lead Vendor Unit; role of Vendor Unit; management buyout (MBO) teams; government timescale for privatisation; Franchising Director; restructuring industry outside of passenger businesses to sell; Rail Regulator; EU Directive 91/440 seperation of track from trains; underlying structure for privatisation constructed; discussions over which companies to sell first; British Rail Maintenance Ltd. (BRML); Meldon Quarry; European response to EC Directive 91/440; freight split into separate businesses but impossible to find bidders; impact of privatisation on personal life; negotiation participants and responsibilities; closure of Vendor Unit; retirement; successful sale process; tight timescale; benefits of privatisation

One of over 150 oral history recordings made as part of the Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) archive project. BRAC was set-up to cover gaps in documenting the railway privatisation process in the United Kingdom, between 1994 and 1997, when the government-owned British Rail was dismantled into over 100 privately-owned companies. The interviews capture the recollections of people involved in the planning and implementation of the privatisation process, the management of change and running the railway during privatisation.


Oral Histories
Britain's Railways All Change
Object Number:
oral history interview
Britain's Railways All Change (BRAC) oral history archive, created in partnership with the Friends of the National Railway Museum, the Retired Railway Officers' Society and the National Railway Museum.