Wednesday, 4 August 2010

West Coast Woe - Three degrees of separation

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
MVA – a UK based consultancy jointly owned by RATP and SNCF – recently completed a report for NR and ORR into West Coast performance.

Regular followers of the ongoing West Coast Main Line saga will recollect that following the introduction of the Very High Frequency service in 2009 performance has been, ahem, disappointing (76.4% "on time" in Q4 2008/9 with 559 complaints per 100,000 journeys - a record even for Beardie Rail).

Authored by the eminently respectable William Barter (who knows train planning inside out) the MVA report said, in language carefully designed not to offend the notoriously moody client, that WCML went to ratshit because no-one knew how to model a timetable that worked.

But, MVA’s own understanding of the West Coast may not be quite as robust as they would like us to think.

On their website the “How to find us” map for their Birmingham office helpfully shows that useful and heavily-used direct rail link between New Street and Moor Street.

Of course anyone wanting to know what Birmingham’s rail network really looks like should refer to Stuart Baker’s excellent Rail Atlas which is now in its 12th edition.

That would be the very same Baker who is the DfT's rolling stock and timetabling supremo and who, in a previous life, decided that diesel Voyagers should run under the West Coast wires.

Trebles and no IEPs all round.