Making history


Tomorrow sees London’s Science Museum open a new exhibition devoted to British manufacturing.

Running until September 9, the Make it in Great Britain exhibition has been put together to help dispel the disturbingly prevalent notion that the UK doesn’t make anything anymore. The exhibition is the culmination of a campaign launched by BIS earlier this year. Exhibitors include the Mclaren Group, Siemens, Airbus and machine tool manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak

By running the event alongside the Olympic games – which you probably don’t need reminding starts on Friday – the organisers are viewing the exhibition as an opportunity to bring the UK’s manufacturing success stories to a an overseas audience.

Thanks to a rather zealous approach to the protection of key Olympic sponsors, many of those involved in the games have been prevented from talking about their involvement.  This has quite possibly undermined one of the big attractions of hosting the competition: namely the fact that it provides a global shop window for the skills and expertise of the host nation.

It’s now vital that as the world’s gaze falls on East London, some of the engineering companies involved in making the event happen finally start getting the credit they deserve.

Beyond the impressive structures of the Olympic park, undoubtedly one of the major engineering challenges of the games is how London’s transport system will cope with a sudden surge in passenger numbers.

One solution – blasted daily at commuters via a recorded message from London’s Mayor – is to stay away.  However, London will also see some new additions to its public transport system over the coming days.  

One option is a new service that will take passengers from St Pancras in central London to the Olympic site in seven minutes. Operated by Southeastern, the so-called Javelin shuttle service will, we’ve been told, be able to transport 25,000 passengers an hour.

Already used on the High Speed 1 rail link since Dec 2009, the Class 395s are said to resemble Japanese bullet trains and are capable of 140mph.