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Diary

The PPP teams are still getting used to the ways of London Underground, it seems. Our reporter went along for an interview with Tube Lines at the LU Canary Wharf offices in the Docklands recently, only to be told her interviewee would be an hour late. He had been informed by his PR department that the meeting would be held in Golders Green and had duly got on the Tube and taken himself off to Golders Green Underground station. Only to find that Golders Green is the name of a meeting room at the LU offices.

Meanwhile, beneath the streets operation of London's Tube network gets more idiosyncratic by the day. During a long unexplained delay on the Metropolitan Line even the train driver was showing signs of boredom and was practising emergency stops when he did get a chance to move. Which presented a bit of a challenge to all the standing passengers who rocketed up and down the carriages at regular intervals.

Meanwhile as the stations become more and more overcrowded, announcers have taken to pleading with passengers to exit in an orderly fashion and 'not to shove, push or to hit each other with handbags.'

Always check the invitation: one of civil engineering's leading luminaries has first hand evidence of this. Our man signed up to speak at a conference overseas on the changes in UK construction - partnering, Egan, etc. He turned up with a speech littered with the benefits for business, in particular margins and profit. Unfortunately his audience was a group of trade unionists so he had to make some rapid changes, crossing out the word profit wherever it appeared and replacing it with the phrase worker benefit.

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