Wednesday, 27 October 2010

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.