Pembroke: A flying start to rail privatisation

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The Independent Online
The dream machine of many a misty-eyed and anoraked train-spotter is back on the rails next week following a two month spell in train hospital. The Flying Scotsman, owned by steam-buff Sir William McAlpine, is back with a new boiler system, a new Brunswick green livery (replacing the old apple green and white) and its original double chimney. The chimney was tracked down to someone's back garden where it was being used as a flower pot but is now on permanent loan.

The Scotsman will trundle down the motorway from Devon at the weekend (it's not allowed on the public rail network anymore) and begin a nationwide tour of private rail lines on the track between Paignton and Dartmouth.

When the locomotive has finished earning its keep, Sir William could always find a retirement home for it. He has a track in his back garden.

Golden Wonder, the Dalgety-owned crisp company, must be desperate. It has come up with a limp promotional idea in which everyone wins, but most of the prizes are worthless. Some are worthwhile, such as mountain bikes, but the rest include half a postcard, used foreign stamps, and pencil sharpener shavings.

Somewhat depressingly, Golden Wonder says it tested the scheme in Northern Ireland with great success. 'People rang in asking for paper clips,' chirps a spokesman.

A long-running battle between one of Britain's most successful Indian solicitors and the Indian High Commission should reach a happy conclusion this week.

Sarosh Zaiwallah, a leading member of London's Asian community, advised the High Commission on legal matters for more than 10 years but fell into dispute over fees. The commission claimed it was fair to pay him just pounds 35 an hour for his shipping law work - well below the going rate. Claiming 'reverse racialism', Mr Zaiwalla won a case in the High Court in April to recover the unpaid bills totalling pounds 182,000 plus an estimated pounds 400,000 in costs.

Now we learn that the Indian President's entourage, in London on a private visit this week, is thought to be bearing a cheque for Mr Zaiwalla.

More woe for the Merrett Group, the leading Lloyd's syndicate, run by Stephen Merrett. First Mr Merrett gave up underwriting in favour of a more ambassadorial role, now it has lost one of its directors, Stephen Burnhope, who has walked across the floor to Spreckley Villers Hunt.