Thursday, 21 September 2017

The wires that came in from the cold.

This from George Smiley...

Russia's influence in Western politics continues to spread.

Expect Transport Secretary Grayling to employ a version of the long-standing Soviet military deception technique of maskirovka when he ventures north to Manchester tomorrow to defend his deferment of the Trans-Pennine electrification.

Instead of repeating claims for the discredited 'innovative' use of bi-mode trains, Grayling will seek to wrong foot his critics by declaring that Manchester-Leeds will become a digital railway, in one stroke overcoming all known problems.

And creating a few more, starting with who will pay for the resignalling and the cab fitment. And Grayling's strategic adviser in the DfT, recognisable by the snow on his boots and known as Commissar Aleksandrovitch, seems to have overlooked the report by David Waboso's Early Contractor Involvement team debunking the 40% capacity gain claims made by the former Digital Railway regime.

As our Russian friends might say: "Net sigary, tovarishch!"

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Railway Garden Competition - Knighton

This, belatedly, via twitter…


Nice framing, with the added bonus of a pointless palisade.

Lost Beckett masterpiece discovered in Marsham Street

From a recently discovered Samuel Beckett notebook...


Becket identifies the players only as Rosco - a once wealthy business type in a suit; and Cloggie - a foreign gentleman, possibly Dutch?

Rosco: “Let's go."
Cloggie: "We can't."
Rosco: "Why not?"
Cloggie: "We're waiting for Wilko.”

Curtain falls slowly as they look hopefully into the wings...

Cryptic CrossCountry

This from Antony Furlong…


Has Cross-country re-introduced the mystery tour, or is this Voyager trying to draw a steam loco?

Monday, 18 September 2017

GWR - Back to the future - literally!

This from a Mr Antony Furlong...

I was delighted to receive this email from the GWR marketing team.


Evidently those IEPs are even faster than Mr Kipling and the DfT would have us believe!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Railway Pride - Belper

This from Rerailer...

I wonder if I might propose an Exciting New Eye Feature - Railway Pride?

Railway Pride draws on Noel Coward's beautiful encomium to our indomitable Capital City:

Railway Pride has been handed down to us.
Railway Pride is a flower that's free.
Railway Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.


Alas, not so much Railway Pride in the town of Belper.


Where to start!

National Rail sign, the symbol that binds us all together, our mark of quality!

You get the gist.

More please...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Ken Harris RIP

This from Mack Brooks Exhibitions...

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our colleague Ken Harris after a short illness earlier this summer.


Ken worked as Editor on all things Railtex and Infrarail with us for many years and was a most valued colleague and a dear friend. His expertise and in-depth knowledge of the history and background on any rail industry development will be missed just as much as his kindness, professionalism and dry sense of humour.

Many of you will have met Ken at one of our shows over the past 20+ years, where he was hosting the onsite Press Offices and enjoying meeting old and new colleagues.

Ken leaves his wife Jean, two daughters Beki and Claire, and new grandson Laurence Kenneth.

Eye and its contributors extend their condolences to Ken's family and colleagues. He was a gent and very much a feature of both Railtex and Infrarail.

Railway Garden Competition - Brighton

This from Ducados...


Brighton's very own Botanical Gardens.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Silence of the LMs

Herr Professor Erwin Schroedinger writes…

In co-operation with the Britisch Department sum Transport we began an exciting new experiment to validate a more advanced version of mein 'Uncertainty Prinziple'.

The award of the West Midlands replacement franchise to Abellio, JR East and Mitsui was announced on 10th August, but not signed and then surrounded mit ein wall of silence.

With no one knowing what has happened in the following weeks, we have the situation where the franchise award may be in the bureaucratic process, still under negotiation, or deferred.

Railway Eye's science correspondent Prof Fred Bunsen-Berner notes that this triple uncertainty paradox could mark a step forward in our understanding of nuclear physics.

Whether it could be applied to our understanding of franchise procurement is perhaps less certain.

Transport Select Committee membership confirmed

This via Twitter...



And so to business!

Shaken and stirred - Leathley to London TravelWatch

This from the London Assembly...

New Chair of London TravelWatch appointed by Assembly
The London Assembly today announced the appointment of Arthur Leathley as the new Chair of London TravelWatch[1], the statutory watchdog for transport users in and around London.

Arthur has senior level experience as a communications director in the private sector and Whitehall. In particular, he spent nine years at Virgin Trains, during a time of great change in which customer satisfaction became the best in the rail industry. Prior to that, he worked as a political and transport journalist at The Times, covering many of the key debates affecting London transport.

Arthur Leathley, newly appointed Chair of London TravelWatch, said:

“The views of millions of transport users in London are crucial and I am excited to represent consumers during a time of very positive change. Travelling in the capital is likely to be transformed beyond recognition over the coming years and London TravelWatch will ensure that the interests of the travelling public are always put first. The need for an effective consumer champion has never been greater and I look forward to building on the work of the previous Chair, Stephen Locke.”

The appointment was made by the Transport Committee on behalf of the London Assembly.


Older hands will remember Arthur was previously communications director at Virgin Trains, before undertaking various roles across Whitehall.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Transport Select Committee - New Tory members

A big Eye welcome to the following Tory MPs elected to the Transport Select Committee.

  • Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay)
  • Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle)
  • Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes)
  • Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes)

They join chair Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) and the following Labour MPs.

  • Graham Stringer MP (Blackley and Broughton)
  • Luke Pollard MP (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
  • Daniel Zeichner MP (Cambridge) 
  • Laura Smith MP (Crewe and Nantwich) 

Eye understands there is one more place to fill, drawn from the smaller parties in parliament.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Railway Garden Competition - Rugby

This from Sealink Sam...

See how beautifully crowned with vegetation are the tops of the buildings at Rugby station.


And here the bay platforms, and in the distance walls pregnant with arboreal magnificence!


Decline, what decline?

SWR gets ideas above its stations...

This from the SWR website...



On our network - Cambridge?

Peterborough??

London Bridge!!!

Who knew?

Monday, 4 September 2017

Shaken and stirred: Veitch brings Talgo to the British Isles

This via twitter...


Eye would normally have linked to the press release on the company's website, rather than reposting a tweet, allowing readers to savour all the details...

Alas - still nothing posted yet.

Looks like an ever expanding remit for Mr Veitch!

Problems remain once the circus moves on...

This from Hieronymus Bosch...

Reporting exclusively for Eye from today's exciting SWR launch at Waterloo! 

So the Top Brass turn up at WAT for the launch. Shiny livery, cleaned etc etc. Then..the signalling goes at Eastleigh, points failures at WAT, crews become displaced and chaos starts.

The top brass disappear.

It makes no difference what the livery is and what colour it is if the management of incidents is poor. That is what this railway suffers from.

So, Crew displacement made to work by a roster of split working. The removal of TCS's to be replaced by robot ORM's who are lower paid and cover larger areas. The loss of experienced controllers with the move to the ROC at BSK from the raft at Waterloo. Questions over the adequate training of staff to replace the control. Lack of investment in infrastructure. The signalling loss at EH was caused by a COMs link being eaten by rodents. SnT shortages mean basic maintenance is being deferred.

At the end of the day asset management is key. Both human and bits of rail.

It is no good building shiny new overpriced track and stations if Incident Management is dire. That means building redundancy into the system.

As that costs money, it will not occur.

Shaken and stirred - Mary Grant to Porterbrook

This from Porterbrook...

Porterbrook Leasing has confirmed the appointment of Mary Grant as its new chief executive officer. Mary will be joining the company and its board on 13 September 2017. She takes over from Paul Francis, the retiring CEO who has been with Porterbrook for over 20 years.

Mary has over 20 years’ experience working in the UK and international transport sector including senior roles at FirstGroup, National Express and Eurostar International.

Phil White, chairman of Porterbrook said: “Mary has an excellent reputation within the transport sector and I am looking forward to working with her and welcoming her onto the board. Mary’s experience and knowledge of the industry will be a great asset to the company.”


Interesting!

SWR - master of all it surveys!

This via twitter...

Attention top to detail!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Railway Garden Competition - Sleaford

This from Dogboxdriver...

Here is the Sleaford North Jn - Sleaford West Jn single line, showing how well Mr Verster's famed vegetation control policy is working so far.


Photo taken during an assessment ride, in case anyone should ask!

Railway Garden Competition - Derby

A wonderful example of the plantsman's craft.


Outstanding!