Tuesday, 14 October 2008


***An old timer speaks***


*** RMT demanding an apology from transport police after two track workers arrested in connection with the Grayrigg crash and kept under caution for eleven months were finally cleared today.***

Read the RMT release here


Christian Wolmar has emailed to thank those Railway Eye readers who sponsored his half marathon on Sunday.

"I ran the half marathon in just over two hours - not bad for an old timer!" he writes.

Here is our man in action.

Judging by the marks on Wolmar's knees he left nothing to chance, beseeching the help of Higher Powers for his Sabbath breaking run.

Finn soup

Blogging MP Derek Wyatt has taken up the cudgels on behalf of his local heritage railway.

Railway Eye readers will recollect that the Sittingbourne Railway is threatened with closure by its Finnish landlords.

See Derek's update on progress here.

Further proof, if it were needed, of how the interweb can help MPs communicate not just with their constituents but also with those interested in particular topics or campaigns.

In space no one can hear you scream

A petition has been added to the No 10 website against the proposed withdrawal of rail services between Walsall and Wolverhampton.

It has been posted by Lee Fletcher, the moderator of the The First Great Western Coffee Shop Forum.

View the No 10 petition here.

The Fact Compiler doesn't hold out much hope that anyone at DafT will listen - but full marks for trying.


Is there a section in Debrett's Guide to Modern Manners that deals with this?

The Modern Dilemma

If it's not policed then it's not worth having. And who should do the policing - the passenger or the train crew?

I am not a number

The Fact Compiler has been asked to help with a survey on ticket machine use.

Normally this sort of request would be placed in the circular filing cabinet, under recycle.

However, just as the delete button was about to be fingered, a press release from Passenger Focus thudded into the inbox:

"South West Trains and Passenger Focus have today released research showing passengers are still queuing at ticket offices despite knowing that ticket machines are available.

Although 78% of people questioned in the survey said they had used ticket vending machines, a variety of reasons were highlighted for those who had not tried them including wanting a more personal service, being unable to get the ticket they required and not being sure how to use the machine

Sounds like the wrong question was asked.

Therefore, Railway Eye readers may like to answer the right question which can be found at the I work for First Great Western website.

That should save FGW a couple of bob on research - which The Fact Compiler hopes they will put in the new train kitty.


National Express East Coast is reporting much improved performance.

"Latest statistics covering four weeks to Sunday, October 12, show that for the first time since rail privatisation in 1996, National Express East Coast’s public performance measure (PPM) – the percentage of trains arriving at their destination within ten minutes of time – reached 91.2 per cent."

Good news!

Especially when we are hearing that a certain owner group is planning to announce swinging headcount reductions across all its franchises.

Railway Garden Competition #15

Off to the beautiful Derbyshire spa town of Buxton.

The Romans called the town “Aquae Arnemetiae” which translates as “The Waters of the Goddess of the Spring”.

And here are those self same waters - beautifully preserved by Network Rail.

Note the small oblations, lovingly gifted to the goddess, surrounding what once must have been the high altar.

Rumour has it that EWS will be refurbishing the station - and not a moment too soon.

Pips squeeking

So First Great Western has been cap in hand to the Department to renegotiate it's £1.1bn franchise

A freedom of information request, reported in today's Bristol Evening Post, reveals that the train operator is looking to reduce it's franchise premiums so it can obtain more rolling stock.

The Fact Compiler would like to know from where?