Sunday, 28 May 2017

Railway Garden Competition - Newhaven Harbour

This via @mikewallis11...


Keep 'em coming!

Friday, 26 May 2017

VTEC in Fake News - Shocker

This from Captain Deltic (for it is he)...

You can imagine the good Captain's consternation when PR firm Hope & Glory sent out a photo of the recent reconstruction of a 1977 East Coast Main Line line-up featuring the handover of the blue riband of high speed traction from the Deltic to IC125.

They kindly attached a black and white print of the original 1977 event.


Which only emphasised that there was something missing from the 2017 line up. Something big and green, with a smokey exhaust and not Flying Scotsman?


But, wait a minute, or 31 minutes to be precise.  Here's a correction from  Hope & Glory with a new photo and caption featuring  D9002 in all its two tone glory, plus some other trains.


And the correction arrived before Captain D had a chance to register his protest.

So who in VTEC spotted this faux pas and ordered a prompt re-issue by their PR agency? (Eye's money is on one D Horne Esq. Ed)



Court backs ORR on Heathrow TAC

This from the ORR...

Court upholds ORR decision on Crossrail charges

As the independent regulator for the UK’s railways, we have a statutory role in ensuring charges to run trains on relevant networks are underpinned by evidence and comply with legal requirements.

In May 2016, taking into account representations and evidence from affected parties, including considerable documentation and submissions from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL), we decided HAL is not permitted to introduce all of its proposed new charges for train operators to use its track, which links Heathrow ‎Airport to the Great Western main line.‎

HAL launched a judicial review of our decision and after a three day hearing, the court has dismissed HAL’s application and upheld our decision. We welcome this judgment and we will now work with all the affected parties to enable Crossrail services to start running as scheduled into the airport.


Perhaps just as well. 

Not much point in being too greedy when you need your TfL friends to support your exciting expansion plans...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Railway Garden Competition - Clapham Junction

This week sees the Chelsea Flower Show!

So with this in mind here is the railways contribution at Clapham Jct.



Keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

RMT makes welcome gesture

Amidst all the ghastliness of recent hours, a small but significant gesture from The Brothers...

RMT SUSPENDS STRIKE ACTION ON MERSEYRAIL, NORTHERN RAIL AND SOUTHERN RAIL

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:

“In light of the horrific bombing in Manchester last night, and the heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, RMT’s executive has taken the decision to suspend the 24 hours of strike action scheduled for Tuesday 30th May on Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Southern Rail.

“Our thoughts and solidarity at this time are with the people of Manchester.”


Quite.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Tory manifesto - Welsh railways

This from Julian and Sandy...

With the Prime Minister facing a difficult day in Wales over her U-turn on the 'dementia tax' I thought it might be worth looking at what the Tory party manifesto had to say about rail in Wales.

Here's the relevant section:

Wales plays a crucial role in our modern industrial strategy, in the promotion of growing industries in Wales and in the additional powers handed to Welsh local authorities and businesses to promote local growth. Welsh businesses will be central to our new trade and export policies, and our investment in improved infrastructure will help Welsh companies bene t even more from the UK single market than they do now. We will modernise the railway infrastructure across Wales, including new and improved stations, and explore ways to harness Welsh natural resources for the generation of power. 

Not sure whether this applies to narrow gauge lines as well as standard gauge, but clearly it is all jolly promising...

I found it by searching the Tory party manifesto for 'single market' and in the Wales bit there is an intriguing reference to the benefit of the UK single market. I had no idea that was under threat too.

A new Welsh border would make accounting on the English leg of the Holyhead-Cardiff Red Dragon Express extremely tricky.

Hammond Eggs: The memories of glories past...

So Philip Hammond has been on the election trail in Derby...



Let's hope nobody mentioned his role in the Thameslink fleet award!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Railfreight - the movie!

This from our North American cousins is nice.



As all three major parties made specific reference to Railfreight in their manifestos this week (Round of applause! Ed), perhaps there should be a similar version for British Railfreight?

Over to you FOCs, RFG, RDG and the MD of NR's FNPO?

Shaken and stirred: Caledonian Sleeper

Eye understands that there is a new MD at Caledonian Sleeper!


Although it is Keith Wallace who has been appointed, rather than his namesake William.

Current incumbent Peter Strachan has been promoted to Chairman of Serco Rail UK!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Manifesto responses - Germolene or Iodine?

This from Howard Wade...

Interesting to compare and contrast trade associations responses to the recent spate of manifestos.

Here is Rail Delivery Group  Chief Executive, Paul Plummer, who may be in danger of sleepwalking over a cliff...

"Working together, by the end of the next parliament, we will be running 6,400 extra services a week and 5,500 new carriages. On top of this, train companies are making a range of changes to improve the experience of passengers from simpler ticket buying to better information. This is all part of a £50bn-plus upgrade plan to improve journeys and to make local economies stronger and fairer, now and for the future.

Plummer was, of course, speaking on behalf of RDG's 'train company members' (ie the TOCs and FOCs, pointedly excluding Network Rail which is gagged during Purdah).

Compare this with recently appointed Railway Industry Association Chief Exec, Darren Caplan. He pulls no punches, as many of his members are fighting for survival as Plummer's "£50 bn plus" is consumed by both Treasury and boiling frogs:

"We hope that [insert party of choice] recognise and share our concerns about the need for continuity of year-on-year funding for the rail supply sector, which faces the ongoing challenge of planned projects being postponed due to funding limits and which could ultimately lead to passenger and freight services suffering as a result. 

"The current 'Control Period 5' (CP5) will see significant reductions in spending in 2018/19, which could lead to asset degradation, reductions in sectoral employment, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises in the supply chain going bankrupt, and a negative impact on productivity. This in turn could lead to capability gaps and increased costs when the delayed work is commenced, perhaps several years into the next Control Period, CP6."

No doubt about who is speaking for the real railway industry.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Steve Strong...

Reading the words of Mr Plummer I can't help but feel that it lacks key references to 'strong and stable' and 'for the many, not the few'?

Perhaps RDG could amend their statement to read:

"
This is all part of a £50bn-plus upgrade plan to improve journeys and to make local economies stable and strong; for the many, not the few.

You are welcome!



The Case of the Missing Project

The scene: A room at 221b Baker Street...


I say Holmes, what do you make of the Tory Manifesto, it looks pretty thin gruel to me?

But Watson, did you not notice the significance of the reference to Crossrail 2 and perhaps more interestingly Network Rail?

Can't say I did Holmes, in fact I'm not even sure I saw them mentioned at all.

That, Watson, is the significance.

Tory Manifesto - Farewell BTP?

This from Politics Home...

JUSTICE
Other pledges include the creation of a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network.


Not sure that this will be universally welcomed!

Tory Party manifesto - Rail

Here are the sections on rail from the Tory manifesto launched today...





Thin!


Pointless signs - Halifax

With the media pack descending on Halifax for the launch of the Tory manifesto Eye has received this:


Coming next: "Remember to breathe".

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

ACoRP launches website promoting Scenic Rail

Here's ACoRP's CEO, Julie Townsend, launching the new Scenic Rail website at King's Cross today.


Eye will of course draw a veil over the use of a t-shirt promoting GWR destinations at a station served by VTEC/GTR/GC and HT, whose services connect into EMT, TPE and Northern CRPs (Pedant! Ed).

No matter!

A nice website and an excellent use of Association of Community Rail Partnerships' resources, in support of their members and the national railway.

You can view the new guide to Britain's scenic railways, here.

Evidently the arrival of 'Jools' (as she prefers to be known) has led to more dynamic campaigning at ACoRP. Good.

LibDem Manifesto - Rail

Here are the key rail elements of the LibDem manifesto...

Taken from section 6.7 'Investing in the transport we need' (page 62ff)..

To build a transport system fit for the 21st century, we will:

●  Ensure that new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers, including a programme of investment in new stations, lines and modern trains. We will allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and passengers to bid for franchises. We will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.

●  As a result of severe failings that rise to the level of breach of contract, establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to  find more effective and sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for local government.

●  Pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, HS3 and Crossrail 2, including development of a high-speed network stretching to Scotland.

●  Invest capital in major transport improvements and infrastructure. We will:
- Shift more freight from road to rail.
- Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation and prosperity across northern England.
- Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the south-west peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy.
- Complete East West Rail, connecting Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing major new housing development.
- Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.
- Support the takeover of metro services in London by London Overground.
- Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.

To protect and extend local public transport, we will:

●  Introduce a rail ombudsman to enforce passenger rights and improve the provision of compensation, with the power to sanction rail companies as appropriate.

●  Provide local authorities and communities with the powers to improve transport and ticketing with the ability to introduce network-wide and smart ticketing systems.

You can read the entire thing, here.

Worthy, but probably pointless...

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Labour party official manifesto - Rail

Here are the key rail elements of the Labour Manifesto launched today...

Taken from the section on Transport (page 90ff):

On our railways, we pay some of the highest fares in Europe for increasingly unreliable and overcrowded services.

The beneficiaries of public funding siphoned off through transport privatisations have been the earnings of directors, dividends for shareholders and the coffers of overseas governments.

Labour will prioritise public service over private profit.  And we will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses. We will introduce a Public Ownership of the Railways Bill to repeal the Railways Act 1993 under which the Conservatives privatised our railways.

In public ownership, we will deliver real improvements for passengers by capping fares, introducing free wi-fi  across the network, ensuring safe staffing levels, ending the expansion of driver only operations, and introducing legal duties to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Labour will introduce regulations to designate and protect routes of critical community value, including those that serve local schools, hospitals and isolated settlements in rural areas.

A publicly owned railway system can be the backbone of our plans for integrated transport. It will be built on the platform of Network Rail, which we will retain whole, working with the devolved administrations. We will ensure new rolling stock is publicly owned and will encourage expansion of public freight services in a publicly owned railway that will leave our roads freer of traffic and our air cleaner. We will facilitate British procurements, including steel, whenever possible.

A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and then into Scotland, consulting with communities affected about the optimal route. We will link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North (tying together our great Northern cities) and on to the Durham Freight Centre. We will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.

In London, to ensure our capital continues to prosper, we will build Crossrail 2.

To harness the economic potential of new technologies and science, we will complete the Science Vale transport arc that runs from Oxford to Cambridge through Milton Keynes. and we will deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including in Wales and the South West. We will also consult with local communities to re-open branch lines.

Read the whole thing for yourselves here.

Compared with last week's leaked version Birmingham appears to have lost its port(!),  Brighton will gain a new mainline to London and commitments to get rid of DOO have been watered down.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Pointless signs - Duffield

This from a Mr Highbrow...


The ticket machine was relocated to the front of the station several years ago.

Waterloo - it was the WON what won it.

Amazingly, since Eye's return to the fray, we have not been inveigled into giving a blatant plug for the industry's stealth newsletter Rail Business Intelligence.  

So here is an item from last week's issue:

Commissioning of the resignalling between Platforms 20-24 at Waterloo Station and International Junction, scheduled to be brought into use on May 15, has been postponed. This is part of the programme to bring the former Waterloo International platforms into domestic use as part of the CP5 Waterloo Capacity enhancement programme.  Availability of these platforms will allow the partial blockade at Waterloo from August 5-28 for the lengthening of Platforms 1-4 

It would appear that someone at the Sunday Times is an avid readers of RBI?

Eye's man with the safety critical software notes that, unusually, the Weekly Operating Notice containing this information (on Page 95 of 102) did not give a revised commissioning date.

Ooh er!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

All The Stations - worth a watch

A Pilgrimage of Grice undertaken by Geoff and Vicki, supported by RDG...

From the All The Stations website:

All The Stations is a project to travel to ALL the national railway stations in Britain in just three months, and to create an online documentary film about the journey.

Here is a vlog the team filmed yesterday:


Good effort!

Worth a watch. Worth a follow.

Meanwhile, Eye hopes that RDG will contact RFG and RSG so that freight and the supply chain can also offer to showcase their contribution to Britain's railway?

Three percent (3%) will take some nudging, so every channel counts.

If we are serious about 'One Railway', Eye would expect nothing less.