Sunday, 18 July 2010

ORR - qui custodiet ipsos custodes?

Telegrammed by Bulldog Drummond
The Sunday Times today features Anna 'Pollyanna' Walker as its page 5 girl.

Perhaps not a surprise that in the accompanying photo Pollyanna has such a big grin.

As the Sunday Times notes she left the Healthcare Commission with a bung of £250k plus pension payments before gliding into the ORR on £120k a year.

Not bad for someone whose knowledge of railways is limited to rail journeys from Paddington to Ludlow, supplemented by occasional visits to hear Iain Coucher's excellent and balanced views on how the railways should be run.

Meanwhile, as We Are All In It Together, anyone care to speculate how much Pollyanna has trimmed from ORR's budget and headcount over the last year?

Railway Garden Competition - Bolton

Pointless signs - Conway Park

With a bowler tip to D0260...

And in close up...


Pointless signs - Cadogan Tate

With a bowler tip to Turbostar...

Cadogan Tate - "Everything handled with care"

Indeed not.

Over 90 MPs sign EDM in support of railway

Eye has stumbled across the following Early Day Motion in support of continued capital investment in the railway.


That this House recognises that Britain relies on rail transport; notes that every year 1.3 billion passenger journeys are made by rail and that rail freight carries 100 million tonnes of goods; further recognises that at peak times the busiest parts of the rail network are full, trains are overcrowded and that passenger and freight demand continue to grow; notes that the annual cost of road congestion to the economy is already estimated to be £7-8 billion; believes that investment in infrastructure is necessary to stimulate business investment in Britain's towns and cities and boost economic recovery; further recognises that current major rail capacity enhancement projects bring economic benefits to Britain; and calls on the Government to consider the economic benefits of rail schemes when determining value for money projects in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

You can find the EDM here as well as the list of the 91 MPs that have signed it thus far (as at today).

Eye readers whose MPs are missing from the list may wish to give them a gentle nudge...

Guardian Angels - 1C84

This from Lock and Load...

1C84 1306 PAD - PNZ hit a tree in the Woodborough area on Saturday 10/07.

Suspected cause of the tree on the line was the embankment moving following the very dry spell.

Driver very lucky with only minor injuries. No pax casualties etc...


The IEP is dead - long live Mercury

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
Full marks for timing to Industrial Stylists Priestmangoode.

The whizzy design house obviously had some spare time on the Computer Graphics terminal and come up with this totally impractical, but amazingly sexy, front end for what they claim is the concept for the UK’s newest high speed train.

We love the six inch high multipane windscreen which looks as if it was cribbed from the Starship Enterprise.

Or, could those be disco lights underneath an amazingly swept back windscreen.

It's been unveiled as a pre-emptive move to persuade the government of the urgent need to move forward as soon as possible with the high speed line project.

Called Mercury, its progenitors say it could be the 'new Great British design icon, following in the footsteps of Concorde, the Spitfire, Rolls Royce and the Routemaster bus and reawakening Britain’s authority as a global leader in design and technology'.

Shouldn't Kenneth Grange's timeless IC125 front end be in that list?

According to the aponymous Paul Priestman, 'designer of the iconic Virgin Pendolino' "whilst the economic and political benefits of a world-class high speed rail network are clearly understood, having a train to be proud of is equally important".

If only Stuart Baker had thought of building national pride into IEP's incredible shrinking Benefit Cost Ratio!

But forget the exterior of the train, "designed to emulate design classics such as Concorde, the Spitfire and Rolls Royce", what about the interior? Grab this!!

Introducing an entirely new concept in the way we travel, the train will incorporate a flexible, open plan design allowing for interaction, space and relaxation without compromising privacy. Both commuting and longer haul journeys will be more relaxed, comfortable and akin to modern living, featuring traditional commuter seats (designed to incorporate in-transit entertainment systems) alongside private berths – for families, private parties or business meetings echoing the nostalgia of compartmental train travel. A children’s play area will be integrated into the train and a luxury first class section will mirror the choice offered to air travellers with a luxury lounge and bar.

At last the pleas of the sage of Effingham Junction for compartmental stock have fallen on a receptive ear.

Can it ever happen?

Well as Priestmangoode point out. "Britain has an unrivalled record of great transport engineering projects – a record that died with Concorde".

Along with 75 Germans, if we recall rightly.

Pointless signs - Gloucester Station footbridge