Thursday, 18 December 2008

Electrify, Electrify, Electrify (in Dalek voice)

Telegrammed by The Master
Anyone in doubt over the benefit of 'infill' electrification schemes would do well to pay attention to what's happening in Cheshire tonight.

Virgins VHF service to and from Manchester would be in tatters after a level crossing incident at Congleton if it were not for the fact that the line from Crewe to Kidsgrove was electrified a couple of years back.

With infill, Pendolinos can still serve the stations required of them - albeit late.

DafT please take note!

Brits to build Crossrail ?

So Crossrail is finally about to start.

With Terry Morgan confirmed as Chairman and Rob Holden strongly tipped to be new CEO it looks like there is a real job of work to do.

So no surprise therefore that British companies, like Laing O'Rourke, are bidding hard for big contracts.

Work they may actually win now that Yankopath Prescott has retired from the scene.

Flutters like a Butterfly

The Fact Compiler can see that ATOC is endeavouring to up it's game.

Even daring to put the case for the Railway!

However, this does not come without pain.

There are whispers that some in Bernard Street now long for the 'good old days' of mountaineering George.

No matter.

A word of friendly advice...

...carry on but give this man some media training!

The Case of the the Zombie Train

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Watson, you will no doubt have noted the significance of the IEP preferred bidder announcement being brought forward to the 18th December?

But Holmes, today is the 18th December and there has been no announcement!

That is the significance, Watson.

Pretzel Bahn

Good news for passengers of DB owned Chiltern.

This from The Times...

The Fact Compiler would pay good money to see Adrian Shooter doing the same.

The Depression

The chill winds of the recession are now hitting heritage railways.

This from the Norwich Evening News...

We have avoided redundancies so far because any positions we have lost have been through natural wastage. We hope to avoid any redundancies at all as we go into 2009. By making a 50pc wage cut in January, when we are not running services, we feel this is the best way of doing that.

Where the North Norfolk leads...

In search of Morticia....

Telegrammed by the late Sir William Pollitt
Wolmar's website ads are fun,fun, fun

Hot on the heels of '' the site has now selected, for our edification, '' - does this mean that Britain's self-styled 'Leading Transport Commentator' is about to appear in eye-liner and jet black mullet?

That'll be a hoot for his next TV appearance. But perfect for radio.

As for the ads - whatever next...

Sir William for one cannot wait to find out...


Telegrammed from the Mess room by Barry Spotter
Even if dear old Gordon is out of ideas, it appears that concepts from across The Pond are finding favour amongst the broadsheets.

Andrew Rawnsley has been sampling the Blue Ridge Parkway, part of Roosevelt's public works scheme from the 1930s. Obama has promised a similar raft of projects to fend of the worst of the deepening global recession. How heartening to read this little gem buried half-way down the column:

"The more I think about it, the more sure I become that there have to be smarter ways of using billions of pounds than encouraging people to go shopping for more foreign imports. If the government is going to spend like there is no tomorrow, better to use the money building things that might be useful when tomorrow comes. Better to invest in Britain. That way, when we do eventually emerge the other side of recession, we will be in a fitter place to exploit a resumption of growth. The case is even more compelling because this is a country crying out for serious investment to improve its creaking infrastructure.

"There are plenty of needs to be met. Let me suggest three projects that would provide much better value for money than squittering away any more billions on electronic toys from the Far East. The first and most screamingly obvious candidate for investment is Britain's outdated railways. We are now in that dreadful season when a centimetre of snow is capable of paralysing our antediluvian rail network. It is as bewildering as it is shocking that our railways are so bad. Britain invented the train. We live in a compact, temperate and relatively flat country with no mountain ranges like the Alps or the Rockies to negotiate. Nature gifted us geography ideally suited for a fast, efficient and green rail network."

Antedeluvian might be a bit strong, though.

I'm fairly sure the British railway network doesn't date from before the Biblical flood...

Hark the herald angels

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
Two faces of the railway this Christmas as the chill winds of recession turn to freezing.

There's standing room only at St Mary the Virgin church opposite Euston as carol singers from the rail industry sing their hearts out in aid of the Transport Benevolent fund.

Meanwhile, the normally thronged Doric Arch pub over the road is deserted, with only one hardened cider-drinking rail PR man and a couple of companions keeping trade going in the empty bar.

God 1 Mammon 0.