On the 08.38 train to Crewe heading for the Municipal Buildings and a meeting of the North West Joint Economic Commission (JEC). I've never been to Crewe before and so I'm surprised to find that the station and the town are not in the same place.
OK, a bit of an exaggeration, and the walk from the enormous station to the town centre in the glorious Cheshire autumn sunshine gives me a chance to have a bit of a look round, and I take some time after the meeting to have a wander round the shopping area. Don't get to see the railway museum but sounds like they have put together a very impressive collection.
The JEC itself is a body jointly chaired by our regional minister, Phil Woolas, and the chair of the NWDA, Robert Hough, and was established to co-ordinate the region's response to the recession. (It's national equivalent is the REC - think about it!). There is a quick update on the current economic climate in the North West (cloudy with sunny intervals, brightening up later) but the main item is a couple of presentations and then a discussion on the potential from improving our digital infrastructure in general and developing next generation access in particular. We have a real opportunity to establish a ground breaking, for the UK at least, project in fibre to premises linking the Corridor, East Manchester and Central Salford, and I press the case for getting on with it.
It will be another latish night as I'm speaking at the Northern Regeneration Conference dinner this evening, but not too late I hope as it's another early start tomorrow for the Manchester Partnership Board.