This from Thomas Edmonson...
Manchester's new transport smart card is to be called 'My get me there'
Now I can understand the rationale behind LT's 'Oyster' - as Del Boy would say, with the card the world's your lobster.
Merseyside's 'Walrus' is an obvious homage to the Beatles - Hong Kong having got there first with the Octopus.
And I suppose Southern's 'Key' could imply that it is the key to simpler travel.
But 'My get me there' sounds more like a nursery euphemism.
Should the Manchester authorities decide to recant in the face of local protects can I suggest 'Itso'? (Why? Ed).
Because It's so easy to use! (Groan. Ed)
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
This from Thomas Edmonson...
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
This just in from a Mr Fergy Lee...
Services on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway came to a halt today due to the presence of two tortoises loose on the line near Wirksworth.
Mr Lergy Fee continues...
"There is no truth in the rumour that star of this weekend’s diesel gala 31414 (soon to re-emerge this weekend in green livery as D5528), was sent to apprehend them but failed to keep up".
Eye observes: Nothing wrong with Go-Anywhere Cl31s, as long as they are properly maintained of course...
UPDATE: This from a Mr Through the Glass, somewhat darkly...
Brilliant! You could name them Wirks and Worth!
They will at least last much much longer than a 31.....and probably be able to pull far more weight.
This from ITV...
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has today confirmed that the threat of closure hanging over Bradford' National Media Museum and York's National Railway Museum has been lifted .
"They [the Science Museum Group] asserted if there was a certain level of cuts they would have to look at closing one……..They are not going to receive those level of cuts so there is no reason why any of these museums should close," said Mr Vaizey
Very good. Carry on.
Monday, 17 June 2013
Good news for fans of cuckoo clocks!
The Engineering Innovation Team are looking for new ideas but this one from Switzerland shows what the UK is up against.
This from Global Rail News...
Clip-Air’ has been touted by its developers, Swiss university EPFL, as the future of intermodal travel. Passengers could board a train in London and arrive in New York without leaving their seat.
Train capsules would travel directly to the airport from city centre railway stations where they would then latch on to the underside of a specially-equipped plane.
The aircraft would be capable of supporting three of these capsules, each with around 150 passengers on board.
Good news indeed.
It looks as if there is already a prototype of this exciting Swiss innovation in operation!
And here it is coming in to land!
Hmmm... a bit more work to do perhaps?
UPDATE: This from Trailer Second...
Is this from the same team that brought us the bi-mode IEP?
This from Richard Hebditch of the Campaign for Better Transport...
Given Eye's occasional interest in toilets on the network, thought you might be interested in this rather long series of PQs from Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn on toilets on the rail network from today’s order paper:
403 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with train operating companies in respect of the provision of adequate toilet facilities.
404 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department collects on the provision of toilet facilities or working toilet facilities by rail franchise.
405 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department collects on concerns raised on the adequacy of toilet facilities provided by train operators.
406 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what sanctions are available to his Department against train operating companies who do not provide adequate toilet facilities; and what sanctions have been employed against train operating companies in the last five years.
407 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is a requirement in franchise agreements for train operators to have working toilets on all of their services.
408 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there is a requirement in franchise agreements for train operators for a minimum level of working toilet provision on train services before a train enters service.
409 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether there are different requirements for toilet provision in train franchises in respect of (a) commuter, (b) intercity and (c) regional services.
410 Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which body is responsible for monitoring whether train operators provide adequate and working toilet facilities; and what methodology is used for any such monitoring.
Slightly wonder if his interest stems from an unfortunate personal experience…
This from Citizen Smith...
Once there was a mirror on a pole on a platform.
Then bits of it were painted yellow, then a small fence was put up round it. Bits of the fence were also painted yellow.
Then someone realised the fence meant that anyone passing the mirror might walk in an area behind a yellow line.
They put up signs so that people walked the other way. They made sure these signs were branded.
Great Western Route and FGW - delivering a Value for Money railway...
Friday, 14 June 2013
This from Cable.co.uk...
Money from the HS2 scheme could be better spent on broadband, Sir Charles Dunstone has argued.
Sir Charles Dunstone, the Chairman of TalkTalk and Carphone Warehouse, has called for the government to spend a chunk of its huge budget for the High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail network on improving the UK's broadband infrastructure.
Just fancy that.
And in other news: Bears advocate defecating in woods and the Pope remains resolutely Catholic.
Good news for fans of the New Puritanism!
The McKilljoys of Scotrail have banned e-fags!
According to The Herald...
And they said there was concern other passengers might think they could smoke real cigarettes on the trains, if they saw someone using the alternative product.
Where to start?
Good to see First Group doing their level best to make rail travel that little less bearable.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
This from Alecto...
What a marvelous piece of fiddle factor in ORRs determination of Network Rail's net revenue requirement (p 29):
- "We then look at financial indicators and adjust the level of amortisation so that Network Rail‟s financial sustainability is not unduly affected by this approach (hence the term "financial sustainability adjustment")."
As in: "Here you go guv', including parts, labour and err... financial sustainability adjustment that'll cost you £37.9bn."
This from the Rail Freight Group...
Rail Freight Group (RFG) today welcomed the ORR’s decisions on freight charges announced as part of the Draft Determination of the Periodic Review 2013.
As part of a package of reforms, ORR have concluded that;
- Biomass will not be subject to a new freight specific charge in control period 5.
- Increases in the variable access charges for freight will be capped at an average 10% compared to the 23% previously announced. This is likely to reduce charges for intermodal traffic, and limits the impact of rises in the bulk markets such as aggregates and steel.
- The proposed 400% increase to the capacity charge for freight will not be implemented and a revised approach will be developed.
- The previously announced caps on the freight specific charge for ESI coal, iron ore and spent nuclear fuel will be reduced. For ESI Coal, for example, the cap will reduce from £4.04 to £1.04 per kgtm.
A good result!
RfG showing how lobbying should be done.
UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...
Bit of an embarrassing climb down from ORR then?
Presumably no one bothered to salute this when they ran it up the flag pole?
Has Simon Burns had a Damescene conversion?
Regular readers of Eye will recall that Third Degree Burns recently described nationalised East Coast as having 'plateaued', and compared it unfavourably with the triumph of private sector innovation that is Beardie Rail.
So what are we to make of these saccharine words from Mr Toad, made during the 5th June Westminster Hall debate on the East Coast Main Line...
"...after an extended and successful period of public ownership..."
"East Coast has delivered a great deal in the past three-and-a-half years of public ownership..."
"The operation of train services by DOR is an essential part of the privatised franchising model."
Words that will no doubt do something to restore the battered morale of his own people holed up in One Kemble Street.
And perhaps more to the point ensuring that DOR has at least some chance of recruiting the skilled people needed to run future franchises, such as errr.. Great Western, for instance!
UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...
It is interesting to note how the civil servants have been desperately trying to re-chip Simon Burns as they realise that rubbishing East Coast and, by implication operator of last resort Directly Operated Railways, reduces the effectiveness of their deterrent against the rapacious bus bandits when it comes to negotiating franchise extensions.
All this is rather akin to the Defence Secretary saying, "Frankly old boy, our missiles are so rubbish that even if they launched we'd be lucky to hit Russia let alone Moscow and anyway, the warheads can't be guaranteed to go off if it's raining"...
But we suspect the new tone is a wasted effort since even this Government must have worked out that if they called the bus bandits bluff and installed DOR then Labour would have a political field day over yet another renationalisation.
With a general election less than two years away there is no way DfT can afford to admit that franchising has failed, again.
So fill your boots bus-bandits, because Burns has all but conceded that DOR is now a paper tiger!
This from Captain Deltic...
The Office of Rail Regulation's Draft Determination under Periodic Review 13 (PR13) published today occupies a staggering 813 pages.
The PR08 Draft Determination required just 372 pages.
So that is an 118% increase in five years.
The draft conclusions for the PR03 interim review required a mere 211 pages - and that in the aftermath of the collapse of Railtrack.
So Richard Price, running a well established process for a relatively stable industry, needs four times the space of Tom Winsor whose interim review was written at a time of near anarchy when the government maintained radio silence on its requirements.
As Flanders and Swann nearly wrote: "It all makes work for the Regulatory man to do".
Perhaps time for an efficiency review of ORR?
This from The Brothers...
RAIL UNION RMT revealed today that it has been officially notified of a rescue plan to bring in the publicly owned Directly Operated Railways to run the major Great Western franchise between London, Wales and the South West, fuelling speculation that talks on a contract extension with First Group, due to be announced in the next few weeks, are in trouble.
RMT has received the following notification from DOR:
“GW Railway Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Directly Operated Railways, has today submitted applications to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for a Safety Certificate (Part A and Part B) and Safety Authorisation in respect of undertaking train and station operations on the Great Western Franchise (i.e. the line of route currently operated by First Greater Western), should current negotiations between the Department for Transport and First Group, on a short term extension to the franchise commencing in October 2013, fail to reach a satisfactory conclusion.“
UPDATE: This from First Group...
Our negotiations with the DfT in respect of an extension to the First Great Western franchise are, contrary to claims by the RMT, progressing well. Our proposal is not due to be submitted to the DfT until next month.
The step taken by DOR to register a safety certificate is usual practice and reflects the fact that the process to achieve a safety certificate takes sixteen weeks. This process is expected to take place in respect of all potential single tender agreement awards for franchises.
First Great Western has also registered for a safety certificate in respect of an extension to the franchise.
UPDATE: This delightful non-sequitur from Maria the Eagle..
David Cameron and his Ministers must come clean if they are preparing to take over Great Western rail services. Passengers deserve to know the truth about the future of the rail services on which they depend.
The plan to extend existing franchises is collapsing into chaos. This is a direct consequence of the misguided decision by Ministers to prioritise a costly and unnecessary privatisation of rail services on the East Coast ahead of getting the rest of the rail network back on track.
The Government should accept it has got this wrong and allow East Coast services to continue to be run on a not for private profit basis. It will be a scandal if even more taxpayers’ money is wasted, adding to the £55 million that has already gone down the drain thanks to the franchising fiasco for which David Cameron and his Ministers were responsible.
UPDATE: This from a source close to DOR...
You know of course that DOR went through exactly the same process during the negotiations to extend both the West Coast and Essex Thameside (C2C) franchise?
Still, not like the RMT to let the facts get in the way of a good story...