Thursday, 13 May 2010

One for the HRA

This for Eye's friends in the Heritage Railway world...


Mr Penrose is about to become the kettle fraternity's New Best Friend.

Villiers back in junior role

***Theresa Villiers back at Department for Transport but demoted***

With a bowler tip to @MichaelSavage, via Twitter

UPDATE: Iain Dale giving Villiers as Minister of State (Sadiq Khan in old money)

Penning to Transport?

***Iain Dale tweets Mike Penning to Transport***

Eye neither!

More to follow...

UPDATE: This biog from

Mike was born in North London in 1957 and was educated in Essex at Appleton and King Edmund Comprehensive Schools. He is married to Angela and has two daughters, Adele and Abby.

He joined the Army as a boy soldier and served with the Grenadier Guards in Northern Ireland, Kenya and Germany; he also undertook ceremonial duties in London including the Trooping of the Colour. On leaving the Army Mike served as a full time fireman in Essex for many years before going into the family business and later, after several career changes into political journalism.

Mike is a hard-hitting campaigner. He is always happiest when he can take up issues for those residents of Hemel Hempstead Constituency that come to him for help. He is fiercely proud of his working class roots and feels that his background allows him to have an understanding and empathy with the problems that affect peoples everyday lives.

Mike has many interests outside of politics. Along with being a dedicated family man, he is passionate about sport, especially Rugby Union and Football.

Mike Penning's Experience
Mike came into politics late in his career. He first brought his skills to the political arena in 1997, when he ran Sir Teddy Taylor's successful General Election campaign in Southend. Since 1997 he has been an advisor to the Shadow Cabinet under William Hague and, until recently, was Iain Duncan Smith's Deputy Head of Media. In 2001 Mike stood as a candidate in the safe Labour seat of Thurrock.

In May 2005, Mike was elected as Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead when he ousted the sitting Labour MP.

Mike is a strong believer in the traditions and values of our country and is a passionate defender of our constitution and that includes keeping our own currency. The first job of any politician is to serve his country and Mike has a proven track record here for most of his working life.

He feels that for the public to engage with politicians, the politician must first gain their respect. This he does by showing honesty and integrity. His philosophy is "if you say you are going to do something you should follow it through."

Since winning the election in 2005, Mike has taken up many campaigns that affect the people of Hemel Hempstead, most notably the campaign to Save Hemel Hospital, the fight for compensation for Dexion pensioners who lost their pensions and the campaign for a public inquiry into the Buncefield disaster.

In July 2007, Mike was appointed as a Shadow Minister for Health.

One piece of good news.

He likes animals - and claimed £2.99 for a dog bowl on his expenses.

UPDATE: According to Iain Dale's blog...

Penning will be Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (equivalent to Paul Clark in old money).

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

'He feels that for the public to engage with politicians, the politician must first gain their respect. This he does by showing honesty and integrity'.

What was it Ralph Waldo Emerson: said?

"The more he mentioned his honour, the faster we counted our spoons."

Still, he has to be better than Paul Clark

Cabinet in full

With a bowler tip to @Softmutt, via Twitter.

And now for the junior posts...

This just in from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

My former colleagues tell me that the delay in announcing the Department for Transport ministerial team was due to the time taken in matching faces to names.

When the PM wrote in 'Hammond' for SoS it took some time work work out whether he meant Hammond P, the doctor and comedian who was a huge success at a recent railway function, Hammond S, the shadow minister, or Hammond P the treasury shadow.

Although Dr Phil came close to a seat in the Lords as a working peer, the money man won through.

The Department is now struggling with Junior Ministerial appointments, where 'Baker' was pencilled in.

Does that mean veteran Tory Kenneth, who knows nothing about railways, Lib Dem Shadow Norman who knows a bit about railways or DfT's own Stuart who knows everything about railways.

Watch this space...

Pointless signs - Liverpool Lime Street

Eye is unsure whether this is a Pointless Sign or a candidate for the Railway Garden Competition...

Readers are invited to make their own minds up.

Railway Gazette accused of bias - Shocker

Seen aboard yesterday's Alstom press special (with a bowler tip to Messrs Miles and Ford)...

Chris Jackson & Richard Hope of the Railway Gazette prove they took a lucky punt on the Con-Dem alliance when they ordered several hundred ties in the colours of the new government...

"We are not political" said Jackson, as he anxiously awaited the call from Camclegg...

All Line Rover - restrictions from the 23rd May

Twitter and the internet news groups were abuzz last night with stories about the All Line Rover.

Details can be found here.

It appears that ATOC has decided that All Line Rovers will not be valid for use before 10:00 on InterCity sercvices from the 23rd May.

Obviously this decision was made in advance of the election.

But Eye can't help but feel that this is akin to the train operators pissing on Lord Adonis' ministerial grave.

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

ALR not being time-restricted. ATOC.

Eye wonders why the change of heart?

People on the railways I would like to meet...

Telegrammed by Bulldog Drummond
The Person who Helps Test the Fast Track Ticket Machines

Although most Railway Eye readers, being lucky recipients of concessionary travel, do not use ticket machines they may want to pause for a moment to think about the extraordinary person who helps test the Fast Track ticket machines.

The main screen is ideally designed for someone around 5 feet tall and the module where payment is made is clearly designed for someone around 3 foot six inches (this screen is also very hard to read with anyone possessing normal eyesight).

To add to the challenge the main screen and payment module are so far apart that the traditionally shaped human being does not have sufficient reach.

So where do they find a five foot high individual with a double length right arm and the matching rubber neck required to read the small screen?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Might I add to the list of Desiderata, the ability to touch type on credit card key pays with the numbers worn away.

Alternatively, infra-red vision able to see the outline where the numbers were.

UPDATE: This from The Major...

The Major suspects that that Fast Ticket machines have been designed to be suitable for those in wheelchairs.

He's not yet in one (the day cannot be too far ahead...) so would welcome views from anyone who is and has used these machines.

Before then doing battle with barriers and all the other impediments train operators put before their passengers...

UPDATE: Bulldog Drummond responds...

I note the Major's comments but the TfL ticket machines (the big ones are very similar to Fast Ticket) are much better laid out.

I cannot believe that TfL would do anything that is not DDA compliant.

Darwin Award

With a bowler tip to NR's press office...

The Fact Compiler is lost for words...

UPDATE: Sadly the video has been removed.

UPDATE: Alas - the BBC have a copy here.

Poetry corner - lines on a new Minister

This just in from Clarence Spad, Life President, Young Railway Poets Society, Platform 5 Reading Station (the interesting end)


So welcome in Phil
For a moment I thought Dave had made a mistake
And muddled you up with Stephen
Who was doing railways
Before you moved into Marsham Street

Perhaps Stephen will come and work with you
Which will be alright
But you may not want to cause any confusion
So Norman might get the job instead

I can't wait to see what you decide
When I get home for tea tonight

With ardent acknowledgments to my mentor EJ Thribb of Private Eye.