Wednesday, 13 May 2009

BBQ season again

Looks like EMT's Aslef members will be having another barbecue this Sunday, the second in as many weeks.

This from the Nottingham Evening Post...

Tim Shoveller, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: "For the second week running, it appears that the majority of our drivers have made themselves unavailable for work on Sunday. As we have had no indication otherwise, we can only assume that this is linked to the on-going drivers' pay negotiations."

Presumably the first one wasn't fighty enough?

First for getting DafT to bail out franchises

Good news for First Group.

Although profits from its rail operations fell by a whopping 20% last year, The Evening Standard today reveled that First Great Western has received "a secret £50 million bailout from the taxpayer".

Should be just enough to buy back all those remaindered copies of Moir's lovely book.

Public fury at Euston station

Who would be a DafT press officer?

At this morning's press junket to celebrate the opening of the West Coast Main line an irate member of the public raced up to the assembled hacks and accused one of them of being Geoff Hoon.

Witnessing the commotion a brave PR thrust himself into the line of fire, assuring the agitated lady that the hack was neither Hoon, nor indeed any other member of the political class.


For this selfless act of bravery the poor PR received both barrels from the disgruntled voter, who had a word or two to say on the wickedness of our beloved Secretary of State.

Geoff, if you can take your nose out the trough for long enough, perhaps a word of thanks to this bruised PR.

Can DafT deliver anything on time?

Are DafT undertakings worth the paper they are written on?

In the South Central Franchise consultation document Daft glibly asserts that:

In London, the Oyster smartcard is already accepted for season tickets, and from 2009 Oyster pay as you go (PAYG) will be valid on all national rail services in London.


The delivery deficient department has now made it clear that this won't happen till 2010.

Provoking predictable fury from London's TravelWatch:

Passengers at railway stations around the capital are walking past covered up, unused Oyster machines every day, and have been for months. The lack of an integrated system and any joined-up thinking is ridiculous in a modern city like London. Another delay is simply unacceptable, and it is time for the Department for Transport to hold the transport providers to account.

To paraphrase Reginald Perrin: "Why don't you re-time all your announcements to arrive a year late? - then they will all be on time."

Angel to cut staff?

***18 jobs 'at risk' at Angel Trains***

Bombardier cuts staff

This from the Crewe and Nantwich Guardian...

Bombardier Transportation UK has announced further redundancies at Crewe - 75 from the shop floor and 11 office staff.

Lucky Gwyneth wasn't around to see this.

Sir Humphrey on Pacers

Our man in Marsham Street, top civil servant Sir Humphrey Beeching, tells Eye over an after work G&T that the on-going delay to the announcement of the preferred bidder for the 202 DMU vehicles is due to the dramatic improvement in the reliability of the Pacer fleets.

With three fleets over 6000 miles per casualty and only one under 4000, the operating and engineering chappies reckon they can now get by with fewer new, and expensive, DMUs which, in any event are generally used by provincial people for whom Pacers are more than sufficient.

Suggestions that DfT Rail can't raise the funding, or find an independent expert willing to undercut Porterbrook on lease rentals are officially deprecated.