Friday, 10 June 2011

Welcome to the Redactalino!

This from Capt W E Johns...

Strange goings on at Euston today, where the brave test pilots of 11-car AM90 no 390054 were 'pushing the envelope'.

The day was spent shunting into each platform to see if the set would fit 'inside clear'.

Whilst the gallant crew might have the 'right stuff', are they perhaps sans the Sectional Appendix?

For, surely, that august tome includes maximum platform lengths.

The set will soon make its way to Liverpool, for two vehicles to be removed.

In the process reducing an Extendalino, into a Redactalino.

No doubt tarps will be placed over the excised two vehicles to spare everyone's blushes!

UPDATE: This from Our International Correspondent...

The good Captain makes an interesting point about How We Do Stuff These Days.

The length of the new engorged Pendo is known to within a millimetre or so.

The useable length of the platforms is established in the Appendix to within a few inches. Whether or not it fits – indeed if any train fits - is a table top exercise for a couple of train planners.

The 11 car train had to be bought down from Liverpool, shunted around Euston all day, then sent back. £12,000 of anybody’s money. A table top exercise, even with checking and double checking, would have been two men for one day, perhaps £800.

Frittering away £11,200 is not a tidal wave in the financial tsunami that is the railway. But it does betray a spendthrift mindset.

And the numbers of £50 notes being burned increases exponentially if or when they toddle off to repeat the tests at Lime Street, Piccadilly, and Glasgow Central.

Nice work if you can get it.

Two groups battle to recreate LNER P2

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
Exciting news from the kettle fraternity!

You wait for ages and then two come long at once - rival schemes are apparently competing to build a replica of the lost LNER P2 Class loco "Cock O The North".

In the Darlington corner is the A1 Steam Trust, successful builders of the £2.8 million Tornado replica that has recently returned to service after a boiler embarrassment.

Meanwhile, batting for Doncaster is the new
P2 Trust, who hope to raise an eye-watering £10 million to make their retro steam dream come true.

Eye wonders if there is a danger that too many cocks may spoil the broth?

UPDATE: This from Chief Superintendent Rand (retired - thank God)...

The story about the two Cocks of the North reminds me of my early days as a constable in the dear old City of Bradford Police.

Police officers then as now wore numbers on their shoulders and that number was also used in correspondence and when identifying oneself in court. Thus, I was PC 45 Rand.

When a lad named Cox joined the force some wag in the Chief Constable's Office allocated him the number 2...

Targetted advertising outside Great Minster House

Pointless signs - Didcot Parkway

DafT promises North even older trains!

Does anyone in the Department actually believe the guff they supply as responses to PQs?

This written answer given in the Upper House yesterday...

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for reducing the average age in rolling stock on the Northern Rail franchise, given that the average age of trains is now 25.7 years.

Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
The Government confirmed the electrification of the routes Liverpool to Manchester via Newton-le-Willows, Huyton-Wigan, Preston to Blackpool and Manchester to Preston in November 2010. This will enable younger electric trains to operate on these routes. Future use of rolling stock on the Northern Rail franchise will be for the bidders to propose.

So what are these exciting 'younger trains'?

Presumably the Noble Lord is referring to DfT's plans to cascade some of the current Thameslink fleet Up North?

And would these units be the same as the Class 319s that are currently 24 years old?

And that will be a minimum of 28 years old by the time they dodder off to the North West!

UPDATE: This from He Who Protests Too Much...

If the 319s do go to Northern in 4 years time then OK they’ll be 28 years old by your calculation but the average age of the Northern fleet will also have increased to 29.7 by then so the 319s would indeed be younger as per the answer.

More importantly, 25.7 is the average age of the Northern fleet, some trains will be younger and some older, so assuming that the 319s will replace some of Northern’s older vehicles the average age will come down even further.

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler fumes...

Does nobody read exam questions any more?!?

Lord Bradshaw asked about reducing the average age of the Northern fleet from today's average age of 25.7 years.

Sending 28 year old electric trains North will not do this! (oh and the Adelantes will be leaving soon, increasing the average age of Northern's current fleet).

UPDATE: This from Chianothus Virginicus...

I think reference to "exam questions" in the light of Friday's revelations that exam papers have been set with questions which are impossible to answer or don't have the correct solution in the list of alternatives is quite apposite.

The DfT are experts at DafT answers !