Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Pointless signs - East Coast on-train WiFi

With a bowler tip to @johnpopham, via Twitter.

Lookalike - Black Adder Rail

Villiers vignettes... apology accepted

Regular readers may recollect that Eye took the Saviour of the Jammy Dodger to task on Monday 12th July for misleading the House about rolling stock orders.

Clearly someone has been reading Eye, for lo and behold Cruella had to deliver this Ministerial Correction yesterday (19th July):

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)

I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 4042 on 7 July 2010, Hansard, column 265W, about what new rolling stock orders have been placed for each rail franchise since 2007.

The table was incomplete and omitted the order, placed in April 2009 by National Express East Anglia, for 120 new EMU vehicles.

The full table is reproduced below.

Franchise Order date Type Vehicles
Southern May-07 EMU 48
London Midland Aug-07 EMU 148
London Midland Dec-07 DMU 69
Chiltern Railway Jan-08 DMU 8
Southern Mar-08 EMU 44
Virgin West Coast Sep-08 EMU 106
National Express East Anglia Apr-09 EMU 120

Just fancy that!

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic, the HLOS Vehicle Finder General...

There you are Theresa, doesn't that feel better?

Now what about the 8th June table you published?

Yes, the Table with the double counting I mentioned to Philip Hammond's SpAd at the time?

And has the civil servant responsible now been transferred to work on TramTrains?

30% dissatisfied with rail ticket purchasing

Telegrammed by Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road
Clearly the train operators are living in a parallel universe when an SWT press release can glibly say:

"Passenger Focus research, shows around seven in every 10 customers are satisfied with rail ticket purchasing facilities".

And they expect us to consider this a major achievement?

Out in the real world, for any business to have an activity which left 30% of customers dissatisfied would see a rapid change in the management responsible.

Especially since this is the operation which delivers cash flow.

Petrol-head should invite Archie Norman or Sir Stuart Rose to run the retail side of franchises?

Tomorrow's NR annual meeting - a swan song?

Tomorrow is Network Rail's annual meeting where the company's Members will fail to hold it to account.

Eye offers the following directions and guidance to NR members in advance of the meeting.

Enjoy the moment, savour the food and drink, contribute proportionately to Iain Coucher's farewell present, avoid being seen with Tony Berkeley and don't forget to vote for everything the company proposes.

But it might be wise not to say 'see you next year'...

Meanwhile, back in the real world, don't expect huge interest in NR's CEO vacancy following these wise words from Hammond and McNulty delivered at the latest value for money workshop yesterday:

Petrol-head: "The current set-up is an enormously complex and elaborate structure to deliver pseudo market forces... The passenger is at the margin of influencing things."

McNulty: "Is the current set-up conducive to cost reduction and value for money... (it was) established without reference to these objectives. Radical change is required otherwise the end result will not be very different from what we see today."

One piece of good news.

The post McNulty world looks like affording plenty of free diary time to former NR members and directors alike.

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

Make your mind up Sir Roy.

You say:

"Radical change is required otherwise the end result will not be very different from what we see today."

But in the foreword to your recent scoping study you said that the choice is between "changing the way we operate or decreasing the size and the quality of the network."

Which sounds very different "from what we see today"!