Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Here's to Daz & Kev

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
After yesterday's WCML pasting by the media, here's the good news you won't hear on the Beeb or in the Mail.

Tonight's 17:58 Preston to Euston departs without catering crew to serve busy first class.

Train manager takes over the job himself and serves food and drink with charm and grace in between collecting tickets.

Well done Daz - and Kev from the shop.

This is Beardie Rail at it's best.

Let's hope Christmas bonuses are on their way!

Tom's back up!

In the most extraordinary come back since Mandy's return to Cabinet for the third time Tom Harris has leapt back into the ring!

Tom leads with the right:

"Harris KO'd!"? Oh, I hardly think so, old chap!

"Your argument/article of faith that DfT specifies rolling stock is based on those occasions where the department - rightly and unavoidably - takes into account the rolling stock commitments of the rest of the network.

"How disgraceful!

"How dare the DfT look at the country as a whole when issuing franchises!

"And how comforting to know that your own solution is to have a Railway board.

"Membership drawn from... the good and the great from the World of Railways - only the self-appointed need apply (sounds like NR's existing Public Members. Ed) which will take no notice at all of the rolling stock that is committed in all parts of the country before giving the go-ahead to any franchisee's rolling stock plan.

That's not a recipe for disaster at all, oh no...

So would that be a qualified admission that DafT does indeed specify rolling stock then Tom?

LAST WORD: Tom concludes...

"No, or at least, not in the terms that you and Roger Ford constantly claim.

"It's up to TOCs to decide what rolling stock they want, but ministers wouldn't be doing their job properly if they didn't intervene - occasionally and only where necessary - to protect the wider network.

"Now go and hassle Andrew Adonis and leave me alone..."

If only the new minister were as accessible...

Harris KO'ed!

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Time to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Tom Harris yesterday.

Tom invited the Major to "take a look at any Invitation to Tender and you will see that the DfT does not specify rolling stock."

Time for a
swift reality check.

Section 3.5.3 from the South Central ITT seems to support this thesis, but note the reference to Section 54, which means that if the franchise doesn't want the trains, DafT still has to pay the rentals to the money grubbing ROSCOs who, perhaps rashly, have invested millions on the basis that someone is going to use the kit for more than the seven years of a franchise.

And then, bidders are told that they will have to hire three units to FCC.

Told by whom? By DafT which Tom says "does not specify rolling stock".

See below for chapter and verse:

3.5.3 Specific Rolling Stock Requirements

Bidders are free to propose whatever rolling stock solution they believe best meets the requirements of the franchise. Details of the Section 54 and equivalent undertakings that the Government has made in relation to rolling stock are provided in folder 6.3.5 in the data site.

The risk-adjusted premium/subsidy for any Bidders opting not to rent this rolling stock during the currency of these undertakings will be varied to account for the additional cost committed by the Department Rolling Stock Cascades

As specified in section Bidders will be required to hire 3 x 4 car dual voltage units to FCC from December 2011. Bidders should assume that this arrangement ceases in September 2013..

The return of the 3 units hired to FCC and cascade of the further 92 vehicles is dependent on these trains being displaced from FCC services by new build Thameslink Key Output 2 rolling stock. The return dates assumed above represent the current plan but the programme for building and commissioning of the new trains is not yet confirmed. Bidders are required to provide alternative pricing scenarios if Class 377 hand back has to be delayed. A separate technical instruction provides the detailed requirements in this area


All p1ss and windermere

Gricers fall-out shock horror!

This from the North West Evening Mail...

"Directors of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, which runs a commercial service between Haverthwaite and Lakeside, have given the Furness Railway Trust and its rolling stock, including the famous Victorian engine Furness Railway No 20, a year to find a new home."

Play nicely boys.

Stupendous incompetence

A Department for Transport scheme designed to cuts costs by £57m was so 'stupendously incompetent' that it has ended up costing £81m.

For the record £81m would have bought approximately 54 new passenger vehicles.

Round the bend

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
FuCC's press release allows us to calibrate the term 'just around the corner' as in 'New trains are just around the corner'

The first new Thameslink trains are due to enter service in February 2012. So 'Just around the corner' equals three years, approximately.

Oops, correction, that was what DafT said in April.

As of November the statement should now read that the first new Thameslink train should enter service in November 2012.

So 'just around the corner' equals approximately four years.

Red Top shame

Much anger in mess rooms across the industry this morning, judging by the following missive:

"Suggest that FC has a look at page 36 of The Sun today. 'Striker' (comic strip about a footballer) shows our hero downing a bottle of vodka sitting in the 4 foot talking to himself.

"The driver of a Mk4 set on the adjacent line sees him and comments 'Did you see that bloke on the track? He's a sitting duck for the next train'.

Two big issues with this

1) This is deeply irresponsible - just before Christmas (or any time to be honest) when we are seeing the usual increase in unfortunate souls who feel the need to end it all by train. Perhaps the two cartoonists would like to come out with me and my lads as we clean up after such events!

2) On the plus side - nice artwork and an impressive depiction of high speed - but what's this? No OHLE! A highly accurate representation of the ECML I think you'll agree!

Correct on both counts.

That's another fine mess...

The Competition Commission report into the ROSCOs and train leasing market is due to be published today.

This from the FT...

"The commission will rule that the government-run franchising system for rail rolling stock needs an overhaul because official conditions imposed on train-leasing companies are stifling competition, people familiar with the investigation said."

No shit Sherlock!

In your dreams

London to Glasgow in 5 minutes!

Longer obviously if it's a Monday morning and you've just announced the completion of the WCML upgrade.