Friday, 29 October 2010

Frenchies fail!

This from the Beeb...

Alstom loses Eurostar court case over German train deal

Chortle!

Pointless signs - Beckenham Junction

Not strictly a sign but you get the gist...


Who says the railways can't be flexible when it comes to 'Elf'n'Safety?

Railway Air Service Resurgent

Telegrammed by International Correspondent
British Transport Police is taking control of 23 helicopters (plus three spares) to provide a new National Police Air Service.

This replaces the 33 machines presently owned by individual county forces and the Met.


Civil police wanting to deploy a helicopter will now have to ask nicely, instead of just splashing out £2000 an hour whenever they fancy.

G-NTWK, Network Rail's own very lovely Eurocopter AS355 is not included in the scheme, despite bearing a very Police like black and yellow livery.


The move puts an extra £51 million into the BTP annual budget – not to be sniffed at – but one hopes that BTP Public Affairs will be ready to assume ownership of the ever-rising number of complaints about helicopter noise, many of which are generated by police air operations. Between them, Plod and the air ambulance account for 60% of London helicopter traffic.

Previous BTP adventures in the air have not gone smoothly - a 2008 flirtation with miniature drone helicopters that "squirted" offenders with smart water was outlawed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The chopper fleet gives the only national civil police force an interesting new line in Big Toys, sorry, an enhanced logistical capability.


Perhaps compensating for the loss of the erstwhile and much loved Cross Country Plod-Duff.

UPDATE: This from a Mr McAree...

Eye says: "The chopper fleet gives the only national civil police force an interesting new line in Big Toys, sorry, an enhanced logistical capability."


Sorry to be pedantic but there is another national civil police force out there. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

UPDATE: This from Our International Correspondent...

Civil Nuclear Constabulary – the Polonium Plod - may be every conspiracy theorist’s favourite spooky arm of the state, and there are 1000 of them costing £56 million a year, but even they do not claim, anywhere, to be a national civil force.

UPDATE: From a Mr Philip Sutton (former proprietor of Rail Express)

Forget the Cross Country 'Duff'...

Don't you remember this gem?




Good luck to my old press mates on Railway Magazine.

Railway Magazine sold to Mortons

As predicted by Eye way back in August the Railway Magazine has been sold to Mortons Media Group.

This from the Press Gazette...

The Railway Magazine is a monthly title covering all aspects of the rail industry. It has been a resilient circulation performer in recent years, slightly growing its sale over the last decade to the current total of 34,715.

It has been bought by Lincolnshire-based Mortons Media Group – which publishes magazines such as Rail Express, Scootering, Heritage Railway and Towpath.

Altogether now: Robin Jones, Robin Jones riding through the glen. Robin Jones, Robin Jones with his band of men...

Railway Garden Competition - NR Acts!

Finally it looks as if Network Rail has decided to act against the scourge of Railway Gardens!

This from the Shropshire Star...

A TEAM OF WI volunteers who have tended to a Shropshire railway garden for 20 years have been told to down tools – for health and safety reasons.

The 32 members of Bucknell WI have been told by Network Rail they must complete a risk assessment and obtain insurance before carrying out any more work on the garden at Bucknell Station, near Craven Arms.

Eye congratulates NR on its decisive action!

Disappointing though that the overused 'Elf'n'Safety was cited as a reason rather than Good Housekeeping.


Mediaballs - The Currant Bun

This from The Sun...

An article on 15 September reported RMT General Secretary Bob Crow had a union-subsidised home and luxury car.

In fact, Mr Crow's home has never been subsidised by the union and he does not own a car, union or otherwise, and champions public transport.

We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Mr Crow.

That must have hurt.

Labour's new transport team is a flop - Official

This, unbelievably, from Simon Hoggart in the the Gruaniad!

Roberta (fetchingly played by Jenny Agutter in the film, and by Labour's junior transport spokesperson Maria Eagle in the modern version) would whip off her red pinny and go racing down the line to stop the 12.04 Newark to Lincoln flyer.

"Junior transport spokesperson"?

Maria is allegedly the Shadow Secretary of State.

She rose without trace.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Colour by numbers

This from Maarten Otto...

How on earth Ian Yeowart came up with green on a GNER branding is a complete mystery to me.


So I took the liberty to give him a more appropriate livery for his new east coast rail company.


If you can recycle a name you must have the balls to steal their colours as well.

Greetings from Amsterdam.

UPDATE: This from Mike Altro...

The cynical amongst us would note that most of NXEC and East Coast's stock STILL look like that apart from one or two units re-liveried just to show willing.


Pointless signs - Water Orton

This from the New Puritan...

London Midland have recently kindly provided departure screens (which by the way do not work) and a shiny new sign at the foot of the entrance stairs displaying the destinations served from both platforms.



Unfortunately platform 2 is the up Derby fast line and the Nuneaton/Leicester line cannot be accessed from this platform without making an unsignalled reversing move!

All trains to Nuneaton/Leicester depart from the bi directional platform 1 as do the [correct on sign] Birmingham bound trains.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lookalike - Match of the Day?


UPDATE: This from Chianothus Virginicus

Not just a lookalike...

One got rid of the cap on wages... and the other got rid of the cap on fare rises.

Caps off all round! Chin chin.

IEP to be steamrollered as Foster rebuffed

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
Didn't DfT Rail promise that they would evaluate the Intercity Express Programme...

...alongside the credible alternatives recommended by Sir Andrew Foster?

Here is Petrol-head in the Commons yesterday:

"I said at the beginning of my statement, but perhaps I was being obtuse, that other major rail projects are under consideration, and I hope to be able to make an announcement to the House in the next few weeks.

"The Intercity Express programme is one of those under consideration. As the hon. Gentleman will know, it is an extremely complex package of projects, and the new bid that we have received from Agility Trains requires careful analysis at a technical, financial and legal level. That work is ongoing, and once we have completed it, I will be in a position to make an announcement."


No mention of credible alternatives.

Since DfT Rail's IEP team believe that there are no credible alternatives, it is clear that there is no point in considering them.

What a waste of Sir Andrew's time and our money.

And if the 'new bid' requires 'technical and financial' analysis then the 'legal' is essential as Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens will surely protest.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

Based on recent events Alstom will be protesting whether the ‘new bid’ is a New Bid or not.

Incidentally, if Agility Trains do go ahead with their North East investment plans any chance we could rename the project 'Whey-aye EP'?

Trainy speakibold: Merseyrail

This from Rudi over at the Merseyrail Press Office...

It seems Eye's new Trainy Speakibold is catching on.

Witness this message from control:


"Netrail report a van has struck Ellens Lane overbridge at Port Sunlighty, no delay to services anticipated."

Deep joy!

Virgin promotes healthy eating

So who was the First Group senior executive whose Beardie Rail breakfast was dramatically curtailed on Monday morning?

Bemused customers witnessed the scene as Virgin staff served a breakfast to the industry big-wig, only to confiscate it minutes later.

Apparently the traveller's papers were deemed 'not in order', falling foul of Beardie Rail's restrictions on bearer pass dining
.

The usual fiver for any additional information...

Radio 4 on the benefits of DfT micromanagement

Telegrammed by Newhaven Marine
BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme today fisking DfT over Parly Trains.


If you missed 'The Ghost Trains of Old England' well worth listening again on iPlayer.

For the benefit of those in Marsham Street: Railways generally provide something called a passenger service.

Service as in something that can be used by passengers and which appears in a timetable to enable said.

Sadly once the Department for Transport starts specifying timetables the term 'passenger service' is transmogrified into a fig leaf to cover DafT incompetence, which explains ghost trains the don't appear in timetables and trains that become taxis or charabancs.

And all because DfT didn't understand the closure processes that their own officials wrote into legislation.

Eye wonders who is responsible for this expensive nonsense and when they will be fired?

Failing that an undertaking from Petrol-head that we will see an end to timetable micro-management would be much appreciated.

UPDATE: This from Jim 'Nick Nick' Davison...

The town of Polesworth on the Nuneaton to Stafford route used to have a poor service of four trains a day. It is a fair size place with the remains of Polesworth Abbey and a needs a boost as years ago was a mining area.

To facilitate the west Coast mainline modernisation the trains were replaced by a substitute bus (for about four years).
During that time the station footbridge was demolished leaving the Up platform stranded.

No worries though as Railtrack's Act of Parliament for the works allowed compulsory purchase along the alignment including line of deviation so a strip of field would give access parallel to the railway to the road bridge. This was not done.

When the train service was being set up to run trains, the local authorities were told that because of pathing, if a train running on the 'slows' (this is a four track section) stopped at Polesworth, it could not stop at the next station Atherstone and vice versa.

Accordingly now only one train a day calls at Polesworth.

Another fact about that area is that the two towns of Walsall and Wolverhampton were linked by a train service that was so often under threat and cancelled, that many thought it had gone.

When the consultation for the new West Midlands Franchise came up, Network Rail (according to the DfT website that annoyingly has it under responses to Cross Country franchise consultation) responded supporting withdrawal of the trains so that the unit could be used elsewhere (Why ? Is it their business to do so?)

It is now annoyingly awkward once again to make journeys such as Shrewsbury to Walsall.


Alstom cannot tell its farce from its elbow

Telegrammed by Leo Pink...
As L'affaire Eurostar moves from Paris to London it is casting a fascinating light on national comedic stereotypes.

It began as pure Feydeau farce, with the two comedy detectives Borloo et Bussereau bursting out of the wardrobe to find Eurostar and Siemens in a clinch to cries of 'Ooh lal la, zey have bought ze forbidden trains!!'

But in Alstom's current hearing in the High Court in London we are seeing a comedy of embarrassment best typified by 'The Office'. Alstom's latest arguaments against the Siemens order are even more cringe-making than David Brent's dancing.

Of course, no strangers to national self delusion, Alstom may see themselves as heir's to Dumas' Three musketeers riding to London to rescue the Queen's diamonds.

Sadly Alstom is no D'Artangnan, more Brian Rix!

Eye looks forward to seeing the Frenchies' trousers fall down.

UPDATE: This from @DriverPotter...

Alstom for IEP - Gallic farce would add a new shine to an otherwise very British Balls-up.

UPDATE: This from the Answer = 42...

You've got it all wrong about Alstom.

They know their legal action against Eurostar is a waste of time and money but what can they do? They owe President Sarko (you remember, Carla Bruni's current husband) a favour!

You might remember a few years ago, Sarko, when Minister of Finances, bailed Alstom out when they got into a spot of bother. All very legal under EU rules, as the French Republic acted as an investor - he made a nice profit for the French taxpayer to prove it. And goodness knows the French taxpayer needs all the help he can get.

But the problem is that Alstom undeniably owes the little guy a favour. And right now, he's the one in a spot of bother. You know, strikes, riots, that sort of thing.

So his cunning plan is to use the Eurostar tender to work the French public into a righteous nationalistic snit against the Germans, British or, even better, both.

So he leans on Alstom to get stuck in against Siemens and Eurostar. Which they do but then 'forget' to tell the French media.

Here is the headline from Alstom's only press release on the subject published on the 7th October
:

"Regarding Eurostar's purchase of new trains, Alstom will make no comment on today's commercial discussions announced by the company".

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Independent renders comment superfluous

This from the Indy...


Notice in which section the article appears...


'Nuff said!

Gratuitous Railway Eye candy



Look. There's a train in it okay!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Tony Miles...

Now we know what Captain Deltic's dreams are like...

UPDATE: This from Scotch Corner...

I wonder if the Virgin PR luvvies are thinking it might make more sense to go down this
route rather than the bizarre Zombie campaign currently favoured.

Would certainly generate a lot more interest...

Mediaballs - City AM and the Virgin non-story

This from City AM...

VIRGIN Trains has denied suggestions it may launch rival services against Eurostar on the new high-speed line from London to continental Europe.

And in further un-news Virgin also denied that the moon is made of cheese and that the world is flat.

Eye salutes City AM for a complete non-story.

For Go-Ahead the future is... less orange!

This from Go-Ahead...

The Board of Go-Ahead Group plc (‘Go-Ahead’ or the ‘Company’) today announces that Keith Ludeman has decided to retire as Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead after 15 years with the Company. He will retire on 4 July 2011 when he will be succeeded by David Brown.

As part of the orderly succession plan, David Brown, currently Managing Director, Surface Transport of Transport for London, will join the Company as Deputy Chief Executive on 1 April 2011 and will succeed Keith Ludeman when he retires.

So Tim O'Toole departed for First Group, then Ian Brown announces his retirement and now David Brown announces he is going to Go-Ahead.

Clearly retention of TfL Managing Directors is proving a challenge for Boris.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alstom dies a thousand PR deaths

This from the FT...

France’s Alstom has asked London’s High Court to grant an injunction to stop Eurostar from finalising a €600m ($838m) train order with Siemens, its German rival, claiming loss of the contract would be a “significant blow” to its reputation worldwide.

Quelle réputation?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

That is a little unfair.

Alstom gave us the class 458s and 180s...


Sorry, as you were.

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Perhaps the Fact Compiler should attend the Modern Railways Golden Spanners Awards at the end of this month.

There he would be able to discover that the class 458 is, in fact, the fifth most reliable modern EMU fleet in Britain, on a par with the Siemens Desiros and superior to all but one Bombardier Electrostar fleet.

However, this is all down to SWT's Wimbledon Depot and fleet owner Porterbrook.


And whilst on the subject of the Golden Spanners Awards, perhaps I could take this opportunity to point out that seats are still available for the awards ceremony at a remarkably inexpensive...
(that's enough blatant plugging. Ed)

UPDATE: This from the Man by the Photocopier...

The benevolent authorities who run the Budapest Metro have refused Alstom's new rolling stock for line M2, saying that the brakes don't meet Hungarian standards. No Type Licence, no 244m euros. Woe, woe and thrice woe!

Alstom says it may appeal.


These trains are in service in four other cities, and meet the toughest standards .... (cont'd p94).

Home Service explores Parly Trains

This from Sinoda...

I thought Eye readers might be interested in this programme, due for broadcast on Radio 4 at 11:00 this coming Wednesday:

The Stockport-Stalybridge service is what's known as a "parliamentary train" and exists only so that the rail company can avoid going through formal closure proceedings.

Continuity announcer: "And now on Radio Four, Today in Parlytrains".

New rolling stock - a game of two halves?

This from Roy Race..

On 14 October 14 Chile's President Sebastian Piñera challenged the 33 miners to a game of football, jokingly suggesting that the winners would keep the Presidential Palace.

Philip Hammond has asked me to captain the DfT side in a similar match to determine the future of the Intercity Express Programme.

Can anyone offer a ground where the Marsham Street Academicals and Railway Industry United can meet?

UPDATE: This, surprisingly, from Sir Bobby Moore...

Why not Derby's Pride Park and make it a double header between Siemens and Bombardier for the Thameslink Trophy

UPDATE: This, remarkably, from Franz Beckenbauer..

I'm up for it and we are so confident of German superiority that we are not worried about home advantage.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Potatohead...

Please pay me £10.4m a year - I'm worth it. (Is this right? Ed)

UPDATE: This, allegedly, from a Mr Salman Butt...

I saw a bloke on Marsham Street happily stick a grand on Hitachi edging it through at 13/1.

Have you bet on new trains? Alternatively perhaps you're a bookie who has also seen heavy money go down on the IEP at odds close to a Baker's Dozen? Either way Eye wants to hear your story.

Trainy speakibold: Train to Crystal Palace

This from @carmenego via Twitter...

Prof Unwin offers: "Whilst knowy all thing langispeak this deeply confusy. London Overgrab excell in deep folly upside-daddle worms."

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Grand Central new MD - Shocker

This from the Railway Herald...


Eye is unsure whether the Tom Windsor mentioned is the former Rail Regulator or a minor scion of the Royal Family?

Perhaps the soi disant 'veteran' observer would care to clarify?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Brennan Brown...

It is neither as well you know!

And can you please stop referring to me as the "soi disant veteran observer", it's not particularly funny and...
(sadly, owing to reasons of space, Eye is unable to publish the rest of this email from the soi disant 'veteran' observer. Ed).

UPDATE: This from Chianothus Virginicus

I hope they have considered Psalm 42 before choosing this name and have amended their maintenance regime accordingly!

"As pants the hart for cooling streams
When heated in the chase..."

Friday, 22 October 2010

IEP undoomed?

This from Guido...

When Philip Hammond tried to sell the cuts package to the people of the north-east on Question Time last night he mentioned a deal with Hitachi to build high speed trains in the area. Jobs were promised...

No doubt Bombardier and Siemens are already consulting M'learned Friends.

UPDATE: This via the WNXX forum...

But not by Hammond !

I just watched Question Time again on BBC iPlayer and Guido is giving the wrong impression.

Hammond was claiming foreign investors liked the North East because of the availability of land and labour.

He said Hitachi promised to build a train factory for the next generation of trains IF they won the contract.

No promises were made by him.

West Yorkshire to get 140mph trains - Official

Exciting news from Yoghurt Rail!

It would appear that the putative Open Access Operator, Alliance Rail, has already stolen a march on Sir Roy McNulty.

Whilst the 'reality based' community is busy working out how joint ventures between NR and TOC's might work Mr Yeowart and his Arriva backed team have apparently solved the problem.

According to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

A rail operator has revealed plans to introduce new 140mph inter-city services between Bradford and London and major cities in the north.

Upgrades in CP5? Pah!

Forget NR, let's give the whole network to Yoghurt Rail!

East Coast driven to distraction

This from Our Man in the Black Mac...
In the days of the North Eastern, LNER, BR, InterCity, GNER and NXEC there was always a tradition that, no matter what your rank, you acknowledged the man at the front.

So what are we to make of today's behaviour at York?

Rail Barbie and load five (lawyers?) strolled onto platform 3 to catch the 15:35 to London.

As the train glided in neither the Chairman of East Coast, nor any of her acolytes, could be bothered to salute the driver.

Hopefully when Rail Barbie reaches Town she'll make up for such rudeness by slipping Driv' the customary 10 bob note?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Trainy speakibold - Victoria liine

This from Tingly Nell...

From the Victoria line...

“This service is being delayed because of signalling and control problems”

Prof Unwin suggests: “Coburgly happy sleepytime, wakey quicksnap! Not knowy which buttonholey pushy, all tubey trundle stop. Deep woe.”

'Elf 'n' Safety front ends

This from the Commander...

In regard to the view of the glossy pic adorning RailTalk in this month’s edition of Captain Deltic’s flagship publication showing LUL’s new ‘S’ stock’ red front end, is there a difference I’ve missed in the requirements for National Rail and LUL?

One notices the Overground ELL units with their yellow front ends, and one remembers the SNCF having to adorn their beautiful casse-nez BB 22000s with yellow protuberances in case they ventured into the daylight at Folkestone.

Again, on mixed LUL/NR infrastructure areas, according to LUL Track Awareness, on receiving a warning from a train driver staff should move to a place of safety and then acknowledge, where as the NR PTS requires an acknowledgement before moving to a place of safety, or you’ll fail the exam.

Likewise, do Chiltern units sound the distinctive LUL warning notes on their horns according to their direction of travel where the lines merge north of Harrow?

Sorry to sound a discordant note - perhaps I would be better employed celebrating today's 205th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar!

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler observes...

The absence of a yellow front end on the ICE3 set at St Pancras received much comment on Tuesday.

As most modern trains now have front end lamps than can be seen from deep-space is it perhaps time to review this particular Standard?

Trainy Speakibold - CSRballs

Professor Unwin compliments Evoli Rail Systems for this splendid example of CSRballs...

The last par in particular is a delight.

Evolvi Rail Systems comment on rail pricing formula changes announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review:

"The change in the rail formula will in time lead to potentially significant fare increases for business travellers, particularly for 'walk-up' tickets," says Jon Reeve, Trade Relations Director at Evolvi, the online rail booking and fulfilment company specialising in business travel.

"This will likely prompt more companies to consolidate their rail bookings within a managed travel policy compliant purchasing environment - in this way they will be able to optimise available budgets through advance purchase, expense monitoring and seamless P2P processes. Organisations will certainly need to leverage the technical innovation brought to market by tools like Evolvi to assist their procurement of rail travel in order to mitigate as far as possible the future increases."

Sadly even the good Prof couldn't translate this cobblers. Deep woe!

UPDATE: This from Sinoda...

Lovely to see that our old friend Sir Humphrey Applebold is writey press releasey for the Evolvi.

Oh, happy day!

UPDATE: This from Wonky Tom...

I *think* it means something like walk-up tickets will get more expensive, so business passengers will switch to advance tickets. However, these are so complex (unlike the release) that they will have to use our product to get the best deals"

It's either that or something about the pen of my aunt.

TSC summons Hammond to discuss CSR

This from the Transport Select Committee...

The Committee has called the Secretary of State to give oral evidence next month to explain the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on transport and how he intends to maintain and improve the UK’s transport infrastructure.

Committee Chair Louise Ellman adds, “The Chancellor’s announcements on the CSR made some positive commitments to a limited number of projects. However, I remain concerned that his statement today failed to disclose where the cuts will fall except to confirm that there are bound to be increases in bus and train fares. The Committee will be seeking fuller disclosure so that the public can understand how they will be affected by the 21% cut in the transport budget.”

The meeting takes place on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 in Committee Room 8, House of Commons, at 15:00

A Frenchie writes...

This from le French Taunter...

While you miserable Anglais were worrying yesterday about how you are going to find the money to keep our farmers and our old age pensioners in Gauloises and Pate de Foie Gras, it may have escaped your attention that we have taken further action to ensure that only our magnifique TGVs will ever be allowed to traverse the Tunnel Sous la Manche......

Vive la interoperabilité, as you deluded railway people say in Roast Boeuf-land.

Postman bites crow

Oh dear.

No love lost between Alan Johnson MP and Crow Bar Bob.

On this morning's Radio 4 Today programme the Shadow Chancellor described the leader of the RMT as coming from 'the planet Zog'.

Evidently Johnson remains to be convinced that there is intelligent life 'out there'.

Villiers vignettes... On fare rises

This from the Daily Telegraph...

The raft of rises were condemned by Theresa Villiers, the Tories' transport spokesman.

"At a time when personal budgets are tight and passengers are crying out for value for money, the Government have sanctioned a fare increase 3 per cent over inflation," she said.

"It is now clear that the Government is trying to price people off the railways as a feeble attempt to deal with overcrowding which has resulted from their complete failure to deliver the new capacity on the railways that they have been promising for almost a decade."

Just fancy that!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

CSR and Transport for London

Setting our future direction – Outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review

I am writing to brief you on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which was announced by the Chancellor in Parliament this afternoon, as it affects Transport for London (TfL).

The headlines are that vital investment in London’s transport infrastructure and frontline services have been secured during one of the most turbulent economic times in living memory. Crossrail will go ahead, the Tube will be upgraded and we will be able to maintain our existing bus services.

However, as I said in my previous messages, we are facing a significant cut in our funding due to the steps the Government is taking to reduce the budget deficit.

Our funding settlement
After negotiations, the overall funding provided to us by the Department for Transport (DfT) is to be reduced by £2.17 billion over the four years to 2014/15.

This represents a 21 per cent real terms reduction in our DfT funding in 2014/15 compared with the current year.

This reduction has, in part, been covered by higher than anticipated fare revenue from ridership on the Tube, bus and rail network, which has recovered more strongly than we assumed last year. Our funding also comes from fares, borrowing and other sources such as advertising and commercial partnerships, but the reduction in grant from the DfT still represents a significant eight per cent reduction in our overall budget.

So while the settlement represents a very good outcome for us in protecting all of our top transport priorities, it also means that we must take further action to absorb the impact of this cut.

Implications for TfL
A high level summary of what our new funding position enables us to continue to deliver and how we intend to deal with the funding cut is attached. Given that the settlement has only just been confirmed, we now need to work through the implications for our activities in detail as part of our business planning.

I understand, of course, that you will be concerned about what this means for jobs and the projects you are working on.

All of this needs careful assessment as part of that business planning process and will be influenced by the outcome of Project Horizon, which is taking a root and branch look at how TfL operates and is structured. Our aim remains to complete Horizon by April 2011, including a detailed plan for implementation.

However, it is already clear that we will be doing less in a number of areas as a result of absorbing these cuts and that, in any case, we must deliver efficiencies to protect investment and our frontline services. This means that further reductions in the number of jobs at TfL are likely to predominantly affect management, administrative and support functions while we protect Tube and bus mileage and the quality of our frontline services.

I will, of course, communicate more details as we work through the detailed business plan and as the outcomes of Project Horizon emerge.

The Chief Officers and I are committed to ensuring that staff and trades unions are consulted and change is implemented fairly.

Looking forward
Today's announcements are the culmination of months of hard negotiations and it is good news that we have been able to secure funding for our top transport priorities. We have an enormous programme of delivery ahead of us, and we need to continue to ensure that every penny is well spent and that we deliver value for money for fare and tax payers.

Thank you for all your hard work and commitment.

Peter Hendy

Commissioner


TfL’s funding settlement

Delivering a 21st century transport system
Transport for London (TfL)’s funding settlement means that the Mayor and TfL can continue to deliver our top transport priorities, including:

  • The upgrade of the Tube, including major congestion relief schemes at Victoria, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Bank, and building Crossrail. Together these will add 30 per cent additional capacity to the transport network, boosting the UK economy and improving the reliability of services. Funding beyond 2014/15 has been guaranteed for Tube upgrades and Crossrail.
  • London’s extensive and accessible bus network, of such social and economic importance particularly in outer London, is protected.
  • TfL’s commitments for the London 2012 Games will be delivered.
  • Barclays Cycle Hire will be extended before the 2012 Games and all 12 Barclays Cycle Superhighways will be delivered by 2015.
  • The Western Extension of the Congestion Charging zone will be removed by Christmas.
  • The East London Line extension to Clapham Junction will go ahead and will be delivered by the end of 2012.
  • Fare increases for 2011 will be maintained at the level announced last year – RPI plus two per cent – while free travel and concessions for Londoners are protected.
Meeting the challenges of the new funding settlement
We already have a massive programme of savings and efficiencies of over £5bn, but further measures to deliver savings and efficiencies are required. TfL will meet the challenge of this new funding settlement in broad terms as follows:

  • Project Horizon will ensure the organisation is as efficient as possible and fit for the challenges of managing and operating London’s transport for the next ten years.
  • Following a review undertaken by Crossrail management, over £1bn in savings to Crossrail construction will be delivered. A more efficient construction timetable will mean the Crossrail central section now being completed in 2018 and a phased introduction of the other sections and stations.
  • For many months now, London Underground (LU) has been looking to make significant savings as it focuses on the core priorities of a reliable service, the line upgrades and schemes to relieve congestion at major stations. The end of the PPP means LU can look for synergies across the line upgrades to deliver them more efficiently and with less disruption to Londoners, for example, between the planned Piccadilly and Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City line upgrades. Through a combination of these measures and of further paring back cosmetic works at stations and deferral of non-essential civil works, over £300 million will be saved over the period.
  • Some areas of expenditure will be reduced, and we will focus on core priorities. TfL must also look at ways of increasing revenue and delivering further efficiencies. The following measures will therefore be introduced, resulting in over £300 million over the period:
  • The funding provided to boroughs for small scale projects will be reduced to reflect the new profile of the general grant we receive from the DfT.
  • As less funding will be available, some areas such as walking and road safety campaigns and smarter travel initiatives will be scaled back. For those that remain, we will deliver in a more efficient way and will be seeking to partner with other organisations to seek sponsorships and other funding for such initiatives.
  • TfL will reduce road maintenance spend and investment on the TfL road network, but seek to preserve the state of good repair of the roads through greater operational efficiency.
  • It remains the Mayor’s vision that London is Europe’s leading city for electric vehicles, but we will seek to replace a TfL funding reduction with partnerships and alliances with manufacturers and others.
  • Charging for parking on the Transport for London Road Network, currently generally free
  • TfL has been working hard to realise savings and efficiencies and, at the same time, the London economy has proved to be remarkably resilient to the economic downturn. Ridership on Tube, rail and bus services has bounced back with much greater strength than was originally assumed. This demonstrates that it is London that is leading the UK back into growth, and this must be harnessed for the benefit of the country as a whole. The combination of these efficiencies, which have already been identified and are being implemented, as well as stronger fare revenue, means that TfL’s Business Plan will be boosted by an additional £800 million over the period.This accounts for well over a third of the reduction in our DfT funding.
  • As previously proposed and now consulted upon, the Congestion Charge will also increase to £10, or £9 if paid through Auto Pay, from 4 January 2011. The Mayor will also keep under review the effectiveness of the charge on congestion in central London.

CSR and new trains (or lack there of)

This from the DfT Transport Spending Review Press Notice...

The Government is currently considering revised proposals from Agility trains for the Intercity Express Programme. An announcement will be made in due course.

Because aspects of Thameslink and HLOS rolling stock programmes, as well as projects to electrify the Great Western Mainline, and the rail routes around Manchester and Liverpool, are interdependent with the IEP decision, a full announcement on all these programmes will be made at the same time.


Interesting.

This is the only mention of Thameslink in this document.

Meanwhile HM Treasury's Spending Review document makes no mention of Thameslink at all.


And whilst in DfT's Press Notice there is a vague reference to a project to 'electrify the Great Western Main Line' the Spending Review document refers only to 'supporting investment to improve journey reliability on Great Western Main Line services to Wales'.

So with both Thameslink and the electrification of the GWML in question new rolling stock on either route must seriously be in doubt.

Eye suspects that there are some very worried people in Derby and Tokyo tonight.

UPDATE: This from Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...

This sounds as though DfT Rail's very own Mr Sisyphus has been awoken and told it's time to start pushing the Rolling Stock Plan back up the hill.

CSR - reading between the lines

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
So that was interesting!

£6 billion for “capital maintenance” of LUL?

Capital Maintenance is a very specific term – it means spending to maintain the value of the asset at a steady state. This just means keeping LUL as it is – doing proper running repairs to prevent decay. It isn’t investment in enhancements. It is rather less than Baroness Vadera promised over the first 7 years of the Metrodebt and Tubelines fiasco, and hopefully more deliverable.

On London’s cross-city white-elephant, it is odd that there is no actual number attached to the Treasury's commitment to Crossrail, given that bits of it are already being built.

The Crossrail website, in its helpful FAQ section says DaFT will be paying £5 billion, which seems clear enough. The less helpful press statement about driving down costs, dated 27 September
does not give a revised headline number, and merely says £30 million has been taken out of the cost of the new station at Whitechapel.

So more details please.

Perhaps the most illuminating line in the CSR Spending Review document is: "investment to improve journey reliability on Great Western Main Line services to Wales".

If you type this into the Babelfish translation engine and select 'Weasel to English' it says “Electrification not required, refresh HSTs”

UPDATE: This from @AdamBienkov, via Twitter...

Boris says that Crossrail will be delayed a further year #csr

Chancellor's speech and Transport

Mr Speaker, after our defence requirements are met, the Department for Transport will receive the largest capital settlement.

Over the next four years we will invest over £30 billion in transport projects, more than was invested during the past four years.

£14 billion of that will fund maintenance and investment on our railways.

Direct bus subsidies will be reduced, but statutory concessionary fares will remain.

The cap on regulated rail fares will rise to RPI +3% for the three years from 2012, but that will help this country afford new rolling stock as well and improve passenger conditions.

The Secretary of State will set out how more of the transport money will be allocated next week.
But I want to tell the House today about some of the projects that will go ahead.

For let’s remember that even after these tough spending settlements the country is still going to be spending over £700 billion a year.

So in Yorkshire and Humber, capacity on the M62 will be expanded, £90 million will be spent to improve rail platforms across various towns and cities and we will also improve line speeds across the Pennines.

In the North East, £500 million will be spent refurbishing the Tyne & Wear metro and Tees Valley bus network.

In the North West, we will invest in rail electrification between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool and we will provide funding for a new suspension bridge over the Mersey at Runcorn.

Rail and roads are devolved to the Scottish executive, as are roads in Wales – but I can tell the House that major rail investments around Cardiff, Barry and Newport will go ahead.

In the East Midlands the M1 and A46 will be improved.

In the West Midlands, we will extend the Midland Metro and completely redevelop Birmingham New Street station.

In the South West, we will fund improvements on the M5 and M4, and the new transport scheme for Weymouth.

In the East of England, colleagues will be delighted to know that the A11 to Norwich will be upgraded.

Around London, we will widen the M25 between ten different junctions and complete the improvement to the A3 at Hindhead.

And in London, on top of the Olympics, a major investment in our capital city’s transport infrastructure will take place.

Crossrail will go ahead and key Tube lines will be upgraded for the twenty first century.
This is nothing like the complete list.

So yes, we are saving money and putting the state on a more sustainable footing, but even then we will still be spending tens of billions of pounds on Britain’s future infrastructure.

Next week we will also set out our national infrastructure plan – so that private money is also put to work in building for this country the economic infrastructure our businesses need.

Comprehensive spending review and Transport

This from the just published HM Treasury Spending Review document

The Spending Review:

  • protects high value transport maintenance and investment, including over £10 billion over the Spending Review period on road, regional and local transport schemes, including construction of the Mersey Gateway bridge; £14 billion for Network Rail, including major improvements to the East and West Coast Main Lines; £6 billion for upgrades and capital maintenance on the London Underground network; and funding to enable Crossrail to go ahead;
Transport infrastructure

1.32 High quality transport links are essential to underpin a successful economy. In 2014-15, transport capital investment will be higher in real terms than 2005-06 levels.

1.33 The Spending Review prioritises capital spending on transport projects which can offer high economic returns when compared to investment projects in other sectors. By focusing on projects that deliver greater benefits in return for their costs, the positive impact of capital spending on the wider economy can be maximised:
  • over £10 billion will be invested over the Spending Review period on maintenance and investment in new high value road, regional and local transport schemes, while seeking significant cost reductions across the programme. This includes:
  • widening the remaining section of the A11 to provide a continuous dual carriageway link between Norwich and the M11;
  • improving the junction between the M4 and M5;
  • easing congestion on the M1 between junctions 28 and 31;
  • extending the route and increasing capacity on the Midland Metro;
  • constructing a new suspension bridge over the River Mersey; and
  • upgrades to the Tyne and Wear Metro.
  • over £14 billion will be provided for Network Rail, supporting maintenance and investment to continue to enhance the capacity and speed of services across the country. In addition, the Government is supporting investment to improve journey reliability on Great Western Main Line services to Wales; and
  • funding will be made available to enable Crossrail to go ahead, providing an additional 10 per cent capacity to London’s rail network, while continuing to seek efficiency savings to maximise value for money from the scheme. In addition, £6 billion will be spent on upgrades and capital maintenance on the London Underground network, supporting growth by improving reliability and reducing journey times.
1.34 The Government is also proceeding with its plans to deliver a new high speed rail network from London to Birmingham, and then to both Manchester and Leeds, and will bring forward legislation during this Parliament that would allow the project to proceed.

Supporting long term growth

2.18 Investments of high economic value are protected across all types of transport. The capital allocation has been relatively protected; in 2014-15 DfT capital investment will be higher in real terms than in 2005-06. This includes over £10 billion over the Spending Review period for maintenance and investment in key road and local transport schemes, including widening the remaining section of the A11 to provide a continuous dual carriageway link between Norwich and the M11, improving the junction between the M4 and M5, easing congestion on the M1 between junctions 28 and 31, route extension and capacity increases on the Midland Metro, upgrades to the Tyne and Wear Metro and constructing a new suspension bridge over the River Mersey (the Mersey Gateway) while seeking significant cost reductions across the programme.

2.19 The settlement also includes £14 billion of funding over the Spending Review period to Network Rail to support maintenance and investment, including major improvements to the East Coast Mainline, station upgrades at Birmingham New Street and network improvements in Yorkshire, around Manchester and the Barry to Cardiff corridor. Funding is also confirmed for Network Rail to invest in delivering faster journey times in the North West. In addition, the Government is supporting investment to improve journey reliability on Great Western Main Line services to Wales. Final decisions will be made by DfT after the Spending Review on the replacement of the UK’s inter-city high speed trains.

2.20 Funding will be made available to enable Crossrail to go ahead, providing an additional 10 per cent capacity to London’s rail network while continuing to seek efficiency savings to maximise value for money. £6 billion over the Spending Review period will be spent on maintaining and upgrading the London Underground network, supporting growth by improving reliability and reducing travel times.

2.21 The Government is proceeding with its plans to deliver a new high speed rail network, and will bring forward legislation during this Parliament to allow construction to proceed.

2.22 Key projects that support the Government’s climate change commitment are also protected. This includes an incentive scheme offering up to £5,000 towards the cost of a new ultra-low emission vehicle from January 2011 and supporting electric car charging infrastructure.

2.23 The Government’s intention is to proceed with PFI projects which will deliver sustained improvements in highways maintenance in Sheffield, Hounslow and the Isle of Wight and extend the Nottingham tram network with two new lines. As resources are tight, the Government needs to ensure that every pound is spent to the maximum benefit. The Government will therefore be urgently working with the four local authorities to establish how these projects can be delivered affordably, in order to deliver the much needed benefits.

The Devil is, of course, in the detail which should emerge next week.

DB announces the Exodus Express!

How very appropriate that DB invited a Railway Padre to its 'unveiling' event at St Pancras yesterday.


Eye wonders whether DB made a point of mentioning that the ICE set originated from the home of both Charlemagne and Benedict XVIth?

If so is canny DB planning to target disaffected Anglican's keen to 'Row across the Tiber' with discounted group fares to Rome?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Trainy speakibold: SWT

The late Prof Unwin particularly compliments SWT on this piece of railway speak:

"Delays due to power supply problem at Vauxhall."

Translation: 'Trainy got on firibold. Naughty 'leccy.'

ICE arrives at St Pancras

This video via YouTube of today's arrival of an ICE3 at St Pancras.



Either the train suffered a catastrophic derailment or the photographer had a long night.

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Can't DB's press office make a better video available?


ICE test train causes panic in Lobby

News from the Lobby...

After a discussion on the Strategic Defence and Security Review the following exchange took place at this morning's lobby briefing with the Downing Street spokesman:

Transport minister Theresa Villiers is meeting an intercity train from Frankfurt at St Pancras, said the prime ministers spokesman.

"Don't ask me why - before you ask" he added.


A correspondent said it was to publicise the Germans' intention to run a high speed train from Berlin into the centre of London.

"Does the Defence Secretary know about this? " asked another...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Monkey joke

This from the Telegraph...

Two monkeys appointed station masters at Japanese train station

Eye was going to point out that we normally get by with one, and they usually run an entire TOC...

...but then thought better of it.

This instead:


Hammond orders Hitachi train on back of traincrew deal!

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

UPDATE: This from
District Superintendent Ambala...

Despite some mild amusement at your witticisms regarding the appointment of two monkeys to the position of station masters, I feel I should point out that the translation to the bizarre world of the UK railway such as you imply simply does not hold up.

As any fule kno TOC Directors are not paid peanuts.

Trebles all round me thinks!

TransPennine refuses to lift the peg

Finally Scarborough joins the 21st Century as its semaphore gantry is replaced by state of the art LED signals.

Local operator TransPennine has decided to celebrated the route upgrade with a suitable image on their temporary timetable (with a bowler tip to The Sleeper):


Marvelous, all that NR investment and still the TOC uses 19th Century imagery.

What a compelling argument for vertical integration!

UPDATE: This from Inspector Blakey...

Top marks to TPEx for impressive attention to detail.

The glass in the unlit signal arm, lower down the post, is correctly shown as blue in colour whereas the illuminated aspect is green.

I wonder if there's a signal gricer working in their publicity department...

UPDATE: This from Pendolino Warrior...

And just what are these semaphores supposed to mean?

Mixed messages there.

Two home signals vertically aligned should be showing the same indication.

Nice graphics, more research needed.

UPDATE: This from The Major...

Perhaps Pendolino Warrior had best stick to his plastic trains on the West Coast for there is nothing wrong with two stop signals vertically aligned.

It is an example of a stacked splitting signal, that is, the top arm reads to the left road and the lower arm to the road on the right.

There is a fine example of such a signal on the gantry at Falsgrave, Scarborough.

Or at least there was until earlier this month!


CSR delays start of ORR Periodic Review

This from the ORR...

The start of the next periodic review (PR13) – the process which will establish the plan for funding Britain’s railways from 2014-2019 – is to be delayed, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) announced today.

ORR had planned to begin the PR13 process in November 2010. However, the regulator has confirmed that it will delay PR13 so that it can fully take account of the Department for Transport’s strategic reviews on Network Rail’s structure and on franchising, and Sir Roy McNulty’s value for money study.

The regulator now intends to begin PR13 by early summer 2011 in a revised plan that will still see the periodic review deliver final rail funding and output determinations by October 2013, as originally scheduled.

UPDATE: This from The man by the photocopier...

The ORR press release you quote is dated 11 October, but was indeed distributed today (18 October).

One has also noted a letter from a Mr B. Emery on the selfsame matter, dated 14 October!

Why the curious delay? Not, one hopes, the result of any intervention from DafT?

Such things cannot be.

But if they can, surely we should be told?

UPDATE: This from the ORR Press Office...

As a long-time Railway Eye reader, I wanted to reply to a recent post to clarify the position.

Human error crept in I am afraid regarding the dates, no DfT conspiracy.

The letter was sent to the industry on afternoon of 14 October to give everyone a chance to hear it first hand. We then alerted the media yesterday, 18 October of our decision to delay the start of the next periodic review.

The press notice should have been dated 18 October; well done to everyone who spotted the mistake!


Trainy speakibold: Merseyrail

Time for an exciting new Eye feature!

Trainy Speakibold - a deep joy and treat'n for the lugfolds (with a doff of the bowler to the late Prof Unwin).

According to a Mr Murray:

Returning from Liverpool on Merseyrail on Wednesday of last week the following announcement as made:

There are presently no services to Chester and Ellesmere Port due to traction current isolation at Police request

My wife asked me “what the hell was all that about?”.

So I said “They’ve had to switch the electricity off because the Police have asked them to, most likely because somebody has run on to the track”.

She said “well why didn’t they say that, then?”.

Of course railway people know the meaning of phrases such as “track circuit failure”, “traction current isolation” etc... but do any of the travelling public?

Further examply of trainy speakibold much welcome, oh yes.