Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Sleepers to return to Marylebone - Shocker

Eye's favourite national newspaper hack is not a happy bunny!

Michael Williams, former Deputy Editor of the Independent on Sunday and regular Mail contributor, is about to publish his latest book.

Showing how it is still possible, in today's frenetic world, to breath, take stock and enjoy rail travel his new tome is a tour de force of Britain's best railway routes and companies.

And with an unrivaled contact book Michael had planned to welcome the greatest and good of the railway industry and government to the launch of 'On the Slow Train'.

But what's this.


The brothers' threatened strike risks throwing his launch plans into disarray!

No matter.

Eye understands that whilst researching 'On the Slow Train' Michael learnt how BR execs managed to make it to the office during previous industrial disputes.

Perhaps passenger favourite WSMR can provide guests with overnight berths aboard a SLE/SLED stabled at Marylebone overnight...

UPDATE: This from A Trainspotter...

Unless the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse such that we can say "Merry Christmas Everybody", I think that Mail hack might "get more satisfaction" on strike days from an SLE+SLEP combination than an SLED - especially if he hopes for a beverage before bedtime.

Railway press - the gloves are off!

It's obviously getting tough out there for those selling ad space in the railway press.

This from the new ad sales team at Rail Amateur...

Our proposition to potential advertisers is a simple one; Rail Professional is the magazine read by the people with budgets, and who make the purchasing decisions in the rail industry. It is delivered to individuals, not dumped in bulk at messhalls. It is not a magazine for gricers, or for those engrossed by technical detail; it is a business magazine about the very serious business of running the railways professionally, and about the people who do just that - the rail professionals.

"Dumped in bulk at messhalls" (shurely 'messrooms'. Ed)

"Magazine for Gricers"

"Engrossed by technical detail"

Who can they mean?

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

Strange that they missed 'Written by BBC Transport correspondents in their spare time' from the list of plus points.

The battle for Arriva - Eye backs a winner!

This just in from Ol' Rosbiff - flexing his bowstring finger (and showing that he still has one).

In an attempt to revisit their takeover bid from 1056 years ago, the French Government is supporting SNCF in their pursuit of Arriva.

Meanwhile German rivals DB are dusting off more recent plans to show how railways should be run efficiently for the next 1000 years...

It's a close call between the two.

Of course our German friends are past masters at efficiently moving vast numbers of people in the most trying of circumstances.

But given the ORR's demand that the UK rail asset register is up to scratch perhaps the Old Enemy has the better claim - offering clear proof in the Domesday Book of how do the job very thoroughly (although regrettably they didn't list stations in the 1067 edition).

Either way the brothers must be celebrating.

What with a return to state ownership in the offing.

UPDATE: This from Herr Flickering Tail-Lamp...

Does that mean that DB is no longer interested in Go-Ahead?

UPDATE: This from Lazarus...

My pre-conquest history isn't that great but what actually happened in 954 AD (1056 years ago)?

Also, any fule kno the Doomsday Book came out in 1086. The 1067 version must have been a very early draft

Perhaps it took 19 years to translate? Eye stands corrected. (Ol' Rosbiff you're fired. Ed)

UPDATE: This from a
slightly over cooked Ol' Rosbiff...

I was at uni with the DfT team which worked on recent aborted new carriage procurements - so I must have picked up some bad habits in my maths calculations....

DfT swings the Axe - Official

This from the DfT, explaining where the efficiency savings announced in today's budget will come from:

Today the Department for Transport (DfT) announces that it will deliver £90 million of savings, as its departmental contribution towards £11bn savings that are being made across Government.

DfT will meet this target through a range of activities, including:

  • £40m from streamlining back office functions across finance, HR and procurement;
  • £30m from reducing spending on consultancies;
  • £15m from reducing spending on marketing and communications;
  • £5m from the senior civil service pay freeze and reduction in sickness absence for all staff across the department.
In addition to these savings, DfT also expects the Highways Agency to save a further £90m by 2012/2013 as a result of more efficient highways maintenance and renewals through longer-term planning.

As IEP is now a dead duck the £30m savings on 'consultancies' should be easily achievable.

And as for the £15m savings on 'Marketing and Communications' these should already be in the bag.

After all when you keep re-announcing old news all you have to do is change the date at the top of the press release.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

I've already had too much pre-budget priced red wine to be bothered to work this out so I need your help:

Is the £5m reduction from the pay freeze / new improved healthy staff the same percentage of the overall budget in this department as it is in other departments, health, education, etc...

If not, is transport better than the others or worse?

If the percentage is the same, what kind of fools do they take us for?!?

Do you think the Government is taking us for fools.

Has The Archer had too much wine?

If you're drinking cider do you now give a toss?

Either way let Eye know and when we return from the booze cruise we'll be sure to publish your comments.

NR swings the axe - Official

Deep mourning today amongst Railway Garden fans!

In 2008 and 2009 Eye celebrated NR's masterful vegetation management in the Ambergate area of the Midland Main Line.

Sadly all good things must come to an end.

For it is an ex-tree, it has ceased to be, it has gorn to join the forest invisible!

According to our correspondent the tree was removed on Sunday (road closed beneath)

Eye salutes NR's Midland and Continental route for a job well done.

Pointless Hats - exciting new feature!

With a bowler tip to Chianothus Virginicus...

Although the makeover of St Paul's looks most splendid...

UK remains poor man of Europe

This from our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Compare and contrast, as they say.

Northern and EMT get 16 vintage DMU vehicles between them and the Government pulls out the PR stops boosting this £17.8 million deal.

Potty old Passenger Focus hails 'new trains'.

Now consider this routine statement from Bombardier.

BERLIN, GERMANY--(Marketwire - March 24, 2010) - Bombardier Transportation received an order for 49 additional Regio2N regional double-deck trains, as an option from the "Regio2N" contract signed with SNCF on behalf of the French Regions, on 24 February 2010. This additional order for 49 trains, which will be financed by the Regions, amounts to approximately 350 million euros ($ 474 million US).

And while so called experts say that the French Regions have been starved to pay for TGV, these really are very nice trains.

And it's going to get worse...

NR fesses up on Blackfriars - Shocker

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Here's the Note to Editors in the Network Rail press release on the visit by the PM and the Chancellor to the new Blackfriars station this morning.

Note to editors

  • By December 2011 rail capacity into central London on the Thameslink route will increase by 3,500 seats each morning and evening compared with 2008 figures. Additional work at London Bridge (the next stage of the Thameslink Programme) will see an increase of up to 30,000 seats each morning and evening on the central London section of the Thameslink route. However, we don't know when London Bridge might be finished or what it will cost.
It's a fair cop, we may have added a sentence.

Alstom directors arrested

This from the BBC...

Three directors of French transport and infrastructure group Alstom have been arrested in a UK corruption probe, the Serious Fraud Office says.

More to follow...

More Buy-us claims - Shocker

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
In next week's Sunday Tymes - more Buy-us revelations

"I told Adonis IEP had to die"

Also revealed by the hottest lobbyist in the Westminster circus (shurley 'circuit'. Ed)

"Electrification was my idea" claims ex Transport minister

"Give Rocket a blast pipe and you'll walk the Rainhill Trials" - My advice to George Stephenson recalls Buy-us

"Think big! £5 billion subsidy is nowhere near enough" said my secret consultancy report for ATOC.

Wit and wisdom from The Thin Controller

This from the Upper House on the 18th March...

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan (Labour)
I thank my noble friend for that reply and congratulate him on the tremendous response that his White Paper has received. I declare an interest as the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, whose power stations are responsible for something like 80 to 85 per cent of the electricity consumed by the British rail network; as a consequence, it is the base-load generation on which high-speed rail and an expanded electrified rail network will depend. Therefore, can he not nod too closely towards the false gods of intermittent renewable technology in preparing his plans for this exciting development in our transport system?

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
My Lords, being an Adonis I steer clear of false gods in all their guises.

En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon...

Bid for a Class 57 cabride

This just in from Tony Miles...

My good friend Charlie Hulme who runs the North Wales Coast website - one of the oldest and the best - has been given the chance to auction a cab ride in a Virgin 57/3 whilst it tows a Pendolino along the N Wales coast line in aid of Virgin's charity (with free first class tickets from anywhere on the VT network to join the train).

Any chance you can copy his posting onto Railway Eye?

No sooner said than done!

Here is Charlie's original email:

In connection with Virgin's support for the London Marathon and the CLIC Sargent childrens' cancer charity, Virgin Trains have asked me to organise bidding for a ride for two with the Driver of the Class 57/3 which hauls a Pendolino on Saturdays between Crewe and Holyhead (One of their team of drivers will be running the marathon).

A first class return ticket from any Virgin Trains-served station is included, and you can bid for either the 'down' or 'up' runs.

For info about the offer and how to bid, please CLICK HERE

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Let's hope the winner doesn't try to use Virgin's T-Mobile WiFi to update the world with their progress.