Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Pointless signs - XC misses the point!

Eye salutes the crew of 1V50 (or possibly 1Z50).


Clear, concise and relevant information displayed.

And the technology did not get the better.

Good effort!

ORR statement on Grayrigg

This from the Office of Rail Regulation...

Grayrigg statement

Please find below Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) statement issued following today’s first hearing of the ORR prosecution against Network Rail for breaches of health and safety law which caused a train to derail near Grayrigg in February 2007, killing one person and injuring 86 people.

A spokesperson for the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said:

"The Office of Rail Regulation's prosecution of Network Rail for breaches of health and safety law which caused a train to derail near Grayrigg in February 2007, killing one person and injuring 86 people, had its first hearing today at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court.

"Network Rail pleaded guilty to one charge under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court has committed Network Rail to Preston Crown Court where a sentencing hearing will take place on 2 April 2012.

"Our thoughts are with the family of Mrs Margaret Masson and all those involved in this incident. ORR will do everything it can to ensure that the prosecution proceeds as quickly as possible."

For further information on the prosecution, please see the press notice issued at the start of the criminal proceedings against Network Rail on 13 January 2012.

ENDS

Captain Deltic lauds Terry Miller MBE

The normally camera shy Captain Deltic was out and about yesterday contributing to a BBC 4 programme.

"Off to record a BBC programme about HST this morning. Don't usually do TV but make an exception for getting HST creators their due credit." he tweeted.

So let Eye add its own birthday congratulations to the High Speed Train, the prototype of which rolled off the production line in June 1972.

A mere 22 months, and £800,000, after it was authorised by the British Railways Board.


HST - 40 years and still going strong!

Where as IEP - over £70 million* and just plain wrong!

*Based on DfT consultants fees, plus bidding costs.

Refurbishing a train in three minutes

There's a nice time-lapse video over on Southern's website showing the refurbishment of a class 377 vehicle in 3 minutes.

Sadly it isn't embeddable so no chance of it going viral (railway PRs please note for future reference!).

No matter.

Eye's man in Croydon with the green ink writes:

"It's a really good vfm project (in-house, no long trips extending the non-availability of the unit etc etc)."


Good effort.

Pointless signs - St Pancras

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bombardier turns back on UK supply chain?

This from a Mr Tony Miles...

I see that the Captain of Netball has issued a written ministerial statement today on Crossrail procurement.

In it Ms Greening says:

My department has been working with colleagues across Whitehall, and suppliers and delivery bodies to implement these recommendations. Across the transport sector we want to improve dialogue with suppliers and increase the long-term visibility of forthcoming contracts in order to strengthen the capability of the UK supply chain....

The Invitation to Negotiate includes requirements for ‘responsible procurement’. This means that bidders are required to set out how they will engage with the wider supply chain and provide opportunities for training, apprenticeships, and small and medium size businesses within their procurement strategy. Bidders are also required to establish an appropriate local presence to manage the delivery of the contract.
And quite right too!

But what's this?

Rail Business Intelligence revealed last week that Bombardier is looking to source the electrical components for its Project Thor/eVoyager proposal from Sweden rather than Alstom in Preston!

The pleas for support for "The UK's last train builder" and all the stuff about supporting the local economy no doubt now seem rather hollow to the people of Preston and the Alstom workforce there.

I trust that MPs and union members who joined business leaders to campaign for the allocation of work to the Derby facility will bear this in mind should Crossrail not go Bombardier's way?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Since the value added, high tech expensive stuff in a train is under the floor, the choice of traction package could have a big influence under the new Greening Doctirne of Responsible Procurement.

Might be worth running down the list of pre-qualified bidders for Crossrail to see if any of the train manufacturers hasn't got an in-house traction package supplier.

Olé!



Sleeper sunk by soggy loan?

This from The Herald...

The UK Treasury had offered a £50m contribution to upgrading the sleeper contingent on this being matched by the Scottish Government. The revelation in The Herald today that the Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has rerouted this £50m to enable Scottish water to accelerate capital expenditure must raise questions about the future of the sleeper service.

As Gideon's £50m bung to keep the Deerstalker Express on the rails was dependent on match funding from the Scottish Executive this may get interesting.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Siemens fights back on Thameslink

This from the Independent...

Juergen Maier, head of Siemens' UK arm, told The Independent that media coverage had been "biased", that 2,000 British jobs would be created, and that rival Bombardier should accept that this is "a competitive world".

Ah!

The old '2,000 British jobs' ploy.

Would it be churlish to point out that these 2,000 maintenance and depot jobs would have been created by whomsoever had won the Thameslink contract?

Meanwhile, only Bombardier offered to manufacture the new trains in Britain, whilst Siemens plan to build the Thameslink fleet in Germany.

Perhaps Herr Maier can tell us precisely how many British jobs that will create?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic, who raises a quizzical eyebrow....

2000 maintenance and depot jobs? for 1200 vehicles?

Perhaps 200?

Pointless signs - SWT Class 458 loo

This from the Grim Reaper...


Perhaps this is here to warn against any attempt to recover wandering bog brushes?

Pointless signs - Bristol Temple Meads

This from Storm Force...


The PIS was completely blank throughout the station yesterday except for the dot matrix message screens showing this helpful message.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Circle line boosts T-Cup with kettle - Shocker

This from Eye's Man 'Neath the Streets of London...


Sarah Siddons and Beattie well tank pictured at Baker Street this morning.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Pointless signs - Elephant & Castle yesterday

Greening slam dunks Railway Execs?

Exciting business bashing news from the Captain of Netball!

This exchange in the House yesterday:

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What steps she plans to take to limit the bonuses and overall remuneration of executive directors of privately owned but publicly subsidised railway companies.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Justine Greening): Bonuses at shareholder-owned private sector companies are a matter for their remuneration committees and shareholders. In respect of Network Rail, I very much welcome the decision by the company’s executive directors to forgo this year’s annual bonuses.

Hugh Bayley: I ask the Secretary of State to think further on that. Of the six private companies that receive enormous subsidies from the taxpayer for running rail franchises, only one publishes information on the remuneration of its directors—the highest paid director receives £344,000 a year. Will she consider publishing, in an anonymised form if necessary, the salaries of all directors and staff of companies that receive money from the taxpayer when those salaries are higher, say, than her own?

Justine Greening: The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting suggestion. The Government are looking across the board at how we can introduce corporate governance rules that lead to a more responsible approach by companies, and that give shareholders the ability to hold their executive to account more effectively. Transparency is a key part of the Government’s agenda too, so I shall reflect on what he says.

So is La Greening about to abandon the pretence that we have a 'privatised railway'?

UPDATE: This from a clearly concerned Captain Deltic...

Where will it all end?

Some of that subsidy goes to the ROSCOs. Let's have their directors salaries.

Then there are the suppliers who profit from NR's subsidy.


To paraphrase Pastor Niemoller, first they came for the Network Rail Board and I didn't speak out, then they came for the TOC Chief Executives and so on.

Hmm, I make my living from writing about this industry. How long before this reaches as far as the jackals of the railway press?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pointless sign & railway bothy - Cardiff Central

Bothy...


Pointless sign...


Good to see the Welsh Assembly Government offering such splendid two for one value, when the hugely expensive AM Express (four coaches and a class 57) sits in the platform opposite.

Abellio goes extra mile to clean loos

This from a Mr Marsh...

Taken at Tottenham Hale on the first Tuesday of Abellio's new franchise.

!!!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Pointless signs - Wakefield Kirkgate

Derbygate: By Royal Appointment...

This from The Mirror...

Prince of Wales to visit Bombardier in morale-booster for workers

He will make a much-needed visit to engineers at the historic Bombardier plant next Friday just two weeks after the Canadian owners spared it from closure

Good on HRH!

Can it be long, Eye wonders, before Gideon and the Department for Transfer arrange a visit to Newton Aycliffe by Naruhito, the Crown Prince of Japan?

UPDATE: This from Otto von Primark...

To save any Thameslink embarrassment will Prinz Karl avoid travelling to Derby in der königliche Zug (prop DB)?

Latest ABC - Railway Magazine up over 6%

It's ABC time again...

As Eye points out each year most industry titles don't submit their circulations to ABC audit, so a bowler tip to those who do.

Here the 2011 circulation figures for industry titles (with 2010 figures in brackets):


Railway Magazine 36,523 (34,168)

Steam Railway 32,266 (32,441)


RAIL magazine 19,801 (20,006)

Railway Gazette International 10,548 (10,258)

Eye's man in the Dead Tree Media comments:
Whilst the general trend in the print market is one of declining sales, railway titles are holding up well. Railway Magazine, sold by IPC in 2010 to Mortons, is the market leader for the 5th successive year and has recorded an impressive growth in sales of 6.85%! But with the chill winds of recession blowing across all sectors of the economy it’s going to be tough in 2012.


Eye wonders if the new owners of Ian Allan's railway titles will submit to ABC audit?

UPDATE: This from Citizen Kane...

Eye readers may be interested to see the circulation of some other titles.

The Beano manages 38,333, whilst Bob The Builder pulls in a mere 37,505.

On the plus side their circulations are down
4.4% and 16.9% respectively.

PM in Paris and in unrelated news...

So today the Prime Minister is in Paris signing an agreement with the Frenchies to rescue the beleaguered UK nuclear power industry.

iDave is to be praised for ensuring that the lights will remain on and electric trains can continue running for a good few years yet.

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, Eye would like to congratulate Keolis SA and SNCF on winning the West Coast franchise.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

ORR in 'tell them nothing' shocker

This from Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...

It is of course quite understandable that the ORR's new publication 'GB rail industry financial information 2010-11' doesn't provide figures for individual TOCs on grounds of commercial sensitivity.

However...


P
hotoshopping out the painted numbers of the DMU on the publication's cover is perhaps going a little bit far?

Network Rail calls time on Quagmire commute

This from Billy Connections...

I note that Railnews is reporting the following:

A REQUIREMENT that Network Rail staff must not live more than a certain distance from the company's new HQ in Milton Keynes has angered the white collar rail union TSSA, which is accusing the company of acting 'illegally'.

Hmmm...

It's all very well Network Rail mandating a maximum of 75 minutes commuting time for employees at the new Milton Keynes headquarters, but has management thought through the details of the rule.

For a start does it apply to home-front-door to office-front-door? Is it station to station, is it wheels rolling to wheels stationary?

Is it based on the Working Timetable or the GB Public Timetable? The WTT, produced by NR's timetablers has shorter journey times than the GBPTT which includes allowances determined by the TOCs.


Will the timetablers at MK suddenly become very popular when a minute cut from a schedule means that you can continue to live in your agreeable six bedroom detached house rather than a three bed semi in MK's concrete city?


Will the civil engineers suddenly become everyone's best mates, when lifting a PSR that has the same effect?


Will the HR department face claims for constructive dismissal backed by Timetabling Consultancies?


And, finally, who is to head up the new, 20 strong, Commuting Range Analsysis Group?


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Ken addresses HS2's 'Euston Problem'

This from Aslef...

ASLEF has welcomed initial plans for the construction of two major new underground lines announced by Ken Livingstone.

Labour’s candidate for London Mayor has said that, if elected, he will introduce Crossrail 2 which would connect Wimbledon and Epping via Chelsea and Hackney and also bring in Crossrail 3 which would allow passengers on high speed trains from Scotland and the north of England to reach the south via London on the same train.


Interesting.

Full marks to Ken for at least attempting to address 'The Euston Problem', which HS2 apparently hopes will just go away.

UPDATE: This from, a rather cynical, Fairydust...

Can I have some of what Ken is clearly on, please?

ROSCOs show great minds think alike

Exciting news from the febrile land of Bowtie, Bow-tie and Glasses!

According to The Drum...

Angel Trains is launching a new marketing campaign as it looks to raise its profile in the rail industry.

The train leasing company is working with Leeds agency Brass on a campaign which includes press advertising, PR and internal communications.

A series of ads featuring real Angel Trains employees are now running in rail industry titles.

Kevin Tribley, chief operating officer at Angel Trains, said: "The unique campaign features Angel Trains people and examples of their excellence."

Angel is to be congratulated for breaking the mould and giving the nasty ROSCOs a human face with its 'unique campaign'.

But what's this?

Porterbrook ran a remarkably similar series of ads, focusing on its people, way back in 2004!



Eye wonders if these two campaigns are perhaps related?


UPDATE: This from a Mr Phil Haigh...

Perhaps the Fact Compiler should speak to his nemesis, the soi disant 'veteran observer' and one time ROSCO PR monkey, to confirm whether the two are linked?

I understand they may be related! (Shurely shome mishtake? Ed)

UPDATE: This from Ithuiel...

Oh no, not more soft PR from the ROSCOs seeking to be understood, if not loved and admired.

Don't they realise that the only thing government understands is superior force and if they stood up and fought their corner on issues like DDA and IEP we'd all be a lot better off.

The same goes for the lily livered franchise owners


UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

How about an advertisement aimed at generating new business?

A photo of a Pendolino with the tag line:

"£20,000 less per vehicle per month than IEP - you know it makes sense".

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

Perhaps all those involved in such vanity advertising might like to consider the following famous quote about corporate advertising:

"It's like peeing down your trouser leg. No one knows you are doing it but it gives you a warm feeling"

Monday, 13 February 2012

Red Spotted Snotter

Good to see that on-line retailer Red Spotted Hanky is on top of their game!

This taken today:


And NXEA is still listed on the menu at the bottom of each page, but alas no mention of Southeastern, Merseyrail, London Midland, Hull Trains, Grand Central or Northern.


One or two holes in this particular ATOS hanky.

The case of the Silent Dog (Episode 3)

Telegrammed by 221b Baker Street
'I say, Holmes, what do you make of the strange case of Network Rail's abandoned Management Incentive Plan?

'Watson, you will of course have noted the significance of the strongly worded statement on this matter from the Chair and CEO of the Office of Rail Regulation?'

'But Holmes, they have said nothing!'

'That, Watson, is the significance.'

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Pointless signs - Southern serving Soton

This with a bowler tip to Eye's campanologist friend @SteadmanSlowSix...


As nobody pronounces the 'p' in Southampton, @SouthernRailUK have removed it from their on train maps!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Weaver (no not that one, another one)...

You should see how they've spelt Moulsecomb (with an e on the end - Moulsecoombe), and Hilsea (with two 'l' - Hillsea).

No doubt Eye's proof reading service will enable these to be corrected as well?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Pointless signs - DDA edition

These courtesy of the The Wheeled Avenger...



...who is currently languishing at the bottom of the above Marks Tey stairs!

NR Annual Meeting adjourned

This from Network Rail...


NETWORK RAIL GENERAL MEETING ADJOURNED

Network Rail's general meeting to discuss directors' remuneration was adjourned today.

Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman, said: "Today's meeting is the latest leg in an 18-month search to find the answer to a crucial question - how can we retain and attract talent to meet the very significant challenges that Network Rail takes on daily - while at the same time, make our remuneration approach better aligned with taxpayer needs, tougher in its demands and less lucrative in its potential reward. This dilemma remains unresolved."



No doubt the fragrant Justine is busy working on a solution to this very dilemma which, lest we forget, she created?

Keith Vaz - the eternal optimist?

This from a Mr Saltaire

I thought Eye readers might be interested in this 8th February contribution from Keith Vaz to a debate on the Police:

I hope that the Minister will look again at pay and conditions and will try to bring Mr Winsor under a little bit of control. We are dealing not with railways—I know Mr Winsor was the rail regulator—but with real people in real jobs who protect our constituents. They are the people we lionise in times of crisis, and we should reward them properly for the work they do.

Better men have tried Keith, and failed!

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

In fact it took the Railways Act 2005 and the change of ORR from 'Office of the Rail Regulator' to Office of Rail Regulation' to do it.

But was it an improvement?


At least with Tom the Regulatory prose was clear and to the point.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

LUL's ERU to get 'Blues & Twos'

According to the Docklands and East London Advertiser...

The ‘rapid response’ teams called out to tackle emergencies on the London Underground are getting ‘blue light’ priority and police drivers to get them through traffic.

A trial is being carried out with British Transport Police to halve response times, with TfL emergency vehicles being fitted with the same flashing blue lights used by police, fire and ambulance services.

About time too!

LUL's Emergency Repsonse Unit really is London's 4th Emergency Service.

Transport Select Committee - NR to attend

This from the Transport Select Committee...

NETWORK RAIL – ORAL EVIDENCE SESSION

Tuesday 13 March 2012

The Transport Committee will be taking oral evidence from Network Rail’s Chief Executive, David Higgins on Tuesday 13 March at 10.05 am, followed by witnesses from the Office of Rail Regulation.

Announcing the session Louise Ellman, Transport Committee Chair, said:

“Network Rail must be accountable to Parliament for the performance of the railway, safety, information for passengers, planning for new projects, and costs. We will pursue these issues and also find out what the rail regulator has done to improve Network Rail’s performance.”

Please check our website nearer the time for the location and full witness details.

Perhaps the TSC might also like to invite Ms Greening to this session, so that she can explain what convinced her to oppose NR's Management Incentive Plan at such a late stage in the process?

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

I am sure no one would dream of asking the First Division to provide a sacrificial lamb, so as to spare ministerial blushes.

Why, the very thought is preposterous.

Pointless signs - Didcot Parkway

Eye is unsure if this is a spoof...


...if not perhaps a reader can explain its point?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Peters...

You asked if 'Culham ?' was a spoof.

I expect it was found near the Turbo stop mark on the platform.

If so it is a 'cheap and cheerful' way to remind drivers to check if they should be calling at Culham (the next station towards Oxford), as most trains do not and this can help to reduce the risk of an erroneous 'fail to stop'.

I have seen something similar (but more permanent) at Bache on Merseyrail, reminding drivers to check if they call at Capenhurst as only half of the trains on that route do.

UPDATE: This from Chionanthus Virginicus, evidently in playful mood...


Can we hope for a similar poster (below) to be displayed outside Marsham Street?



Of course having blinkers rather than cabside windows may explain DfT's apparent tunnel vision.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

DfT launches Operation Derail

Eye can exclusively reveal why the Department has been so effective this week!

Half of them aren't there.

Under Operation Step Change, 50% of staff have been asked to stay at home, travel at different times or 're-mode' (yes, really) as a practice run for the Olympics.

Apparently so many have risen to the challenge of staying at home, there's no one left to make all those tricky decisions, silence Greenhorn ministers, etc...

Heaven help us in August.

Carry On team does the railway - EXCLUSIVE

Eye is delighted to hear that the Carry On team are about to release a new film - Carry On up the Railway


Plot summary: Sir David Ruff-Digger looks after the British railway network. Protected by Col Richard Right-Pryce and the members of the Third Foot and Mouth regiment (ORR Division), you would think they were safe.

But the treacherous Khazi of Greening has other ideas. Having signed off the Baksheesh necessary to keep the network running she is ambushed in a TV studio and completely rewrites government policy!

Fun and japes ensue as the Khazi of Greening tries to justify her volte-face as hoards of senior managers desert the railway and trains grind to a halt.

Cast:

Sir David Ruff-Digger - Sid James

The Khazi of Greening - Hattie Jacques

Crawford Rani of SpAds - Joan Sims

Col Richard Right-Pryce - Charles Hawtrey

Maria the Eagle - Fenella Fielding

Tom Harris MP - Bernard Bresslaw

George Osborne - Kenneth Williams

The Passenger - Terry Scott

"This one will run and run, unlike the trains." Conservative Party Central Office

Rated PG (contains scenes of mild violence and institutional incompetence).

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Passenger information... delayed

This from the Office of Rail Regulation...

Securing better passenger information

Train operators have asked for more time to prepare for new obligations aimed at ensuring passengers receive appropriate, accurate and timely information, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) confirmed today.

Oh the irony!

IEP - a long, slow, lingering death

This from First Great Western's Fastline...

InterCity Express Programme (IEP) update

On 23 September 2011 I updated you on progress about the InterCity Express Programme (IEP) and undertook to keep you informed of further developments.

Agility Trains recently let us know that Planning Permission has now been granted for their three IEP traincare depots on the Great Western network – North Pole, London; Stoke Gifford, Bristol; and Swansea.

I can also confirm, contrary to recent media reports stating a contract has been agreed, that negotiations continue between the Department for Transport and Agility Trains to finalise the IEP contract details. I understand this will now be agreed by May 2012 at the earliest.

It is anticipated that the first IEP train will enter service in early 2017, with the full IEP timetable implementation not until May 2018, more than six years from now.

We await further developments and will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about this important Department for Transport project.

A triumph of public sector procurement.

Captain Deltic's bonus bashing quiz

Captain Deltic asks "Who said this and when?"...

But Network Rail's remuneration committee still allowed substantial bonuses this year despite a formal letter warning that performance had been mixed. All the regulator could do was to say that he was "surprised and disappointed".

Under a Conservative Government, if the regulator is disappointed, the senior management will feel it. We will give the regulator the power to inflict real financial pain on Network Rail via the confiscation of reduction of bonuses in cases of serious under-performance.

At present, Network Rail's senior management is theoretically accountable to "members" who are supposed to function like the shareholders of a public limited company. In reality they do no such thing. The senior management can get away with scooping the bonus pool because an amorphous grouping of 100 members, the appointment of which can be vetoed by the very management team they are supposed to scrutinise, simply aren't strong enough to stop them.

So a further measure a Conservative Government would adopt to give Network Rail much stronger incentives to respond to their customers is reform of the company's governance.

We will streamline and shrink the membership to turn it into a supervisory board. We will ensure that members will be appointed independently of Network Rail's management.

And we will make sure we have people on it who will provide a strong voice for passengers and for train and freight operators, in setting the overall direction of the company and holding its management to account.

And, in addition, we will inject more contestability into areas of Network Rail's remit. At present, the company has an almost complete monopoly over publicly funded rail improvements.

Clue: It's not just promises that get broken.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

I’m feeling pedantic so I’ll point out that no promises were broken as we don’t have a Conservative Government.

As I'm sure members of the 1922 Committee will be only too pleased to confirm...

Guido Fawkes FIRO - Shocker!

Is uber-blogger Paul Staines a member of the Institution of Railway Operators?

In a post on his order-order blog about the the move of Labour's HQ, Guido uses the following map which rather gives the game away.


Eye thinks we should be told!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Network Rail Bonus Statement

This from Network Rail...

NETWORK RAIL ADJOURNS MEMBERS' MEETING

The board of Network Rail has decided to recommend to its members that this Friday's meeting be adjourned. The board will take the opportunity to reflect further on how to incentivise performance in the company against the backdrop of the current context. It will continue to consult the Secretary of State on wider issues of governance in advance of the government's command paper.

Chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, said:

"Friday's meeting was not to approve a specific annual bonus payment for Executive Directors, but rather to amend a previously approved long term incentive scheme to ensure additional external scrutiny of performance.

"The issue of annual performance payments would only arise if Network Rail surpassed stretching performance thresholds and would only be decided in May after the end of the financial year.

Chief executive, David Higgins, said:

"Even if this situation does arise this year, I and my directors decided last week that we would forego any entitlement and instead allocate the money to the safety improvement fund for level crossings. I can confirm that remains our intention."

The Secretary of State was informed of the decision to recommend adjournment this morning.


What a bloody mess. This will not help attract good people to the railways.

Grand Central appoints new MD

This from the Northern Echo...

At that time York based Grand Central, employing 125, said it would continue with the same management team, but now Arriva has announced its managing director Tom Clift is to leave.

Mr Clift, who has been in his role since the firm's launch, said: "I have enormous pride in the small, committed and professional team that has worked so hard to make Grand Central the success it is today.

Richard McClean will become managing director of the open access operator, in addition to his current role as managing director of Arriva's Tyne and Wear Metro operation.

Heil Bahn!

Clog Rail tells staff 'prepare for passenger anger'

A big Eye welcome to Greater Anglia, the former NXEA franchise now operated by Abellio.

So how goes the new franchise on its second day?

Putting aside the the non-availability of its website for most of yesterday and the revelation that 30 services have already been cancelled this morning, all is well (shurely shome mishtake. Ed).

The new franchise's captive commuter customers will of course also be delighted by Clog Rail's cost saving measure that saw 9 Class 317/7 units returned to ROSCO Angel before the franchise even started.

Passengers on routes from Liverpool Street to Ipswich, Witham, Colchester Town, Harwich International and Norwich are already benefiting from trains formed by 2 x 321 units rather than the usual 3 x 317/7 units.

No matter. How else will they get to work?

At least Clog Rail has improved communications with its people. Station staff have received an email instructing them to "prepare for customer anger" as short formed 8 car trains trundle into stations rather than the usual 12.

Meanwhile, the Captain of Netball continues her crusade against Network Rail bonuses, curiously omitting to berate her own officials for deliberately consigning hard pressed East Anglian passengers to overcrowded journeys.

But then populist grandstanding is so much easier than meeting passenger needs.

UPDATE: This from Fen Boy...

Knowing Eye's love for bustitution I'm surprised you didn't pick up on this other DfT inspired East Anglian transport triumph.

The Go Whippet website yesterday afternoon had a message informing would-be travellers that services over the Busway were "suspended for the rest of the day".

One can only assume that there were "operational difficulties" as a result of the 4-6 inches of snow that had fallen in the area overninght Sat/Sun.

Thank you DfT for dumping a hugely costly guided busway on us that falls over at the hint of snow.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Wibble from Greening on NR bonuses

This from Torquemada..

Is it not time to put the Transport Secretary to the Question?

Justine Greening claims in a Tory Party press release that:

Labour designed a system where Ministers have no powers to block Network Rail executive pay and which in 2008 saw bonuses of over half a million given out to the Chief Executive even when there were serious failures".

But DfT is a Member of Network Rail under the not-for profit corporate structure and as a result has the power to vote at the AGM.

Not only that, it has the right to appoint a Special Member to the Network Rail Remuneration Committee.

So Justine has the powers, but for some reason her officials have failed to pass on this vital piece of intelligence.

So as a Member of Network Rail our Justine could actually put her money where her mouth is and oppose the resolution on executive bonuses at the Annual Meeting.

Pish, you may say, what is one vote among a hundred votes?

But we know that DfT has, shall we say, 'influence' with the train operators, who are also Members and we can be sure that they would follow DfT's lead for fear of gainsaying their paymaster - particularly as franchise replacement approaches

And official intervention would strengthen the will of those Public Members opposed to bonus payments and, combined with some judicious 'persuasion', convert the waverers to the path of righteousness..

As the Captain-General of the Deltics hath tweeted, the killer question for Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle is 'Will the Transport Secretary use her vote to oppose any recommendations on bonus payments at the Network Rail AGM'?

But of course the Captain of Netball will do no such thing.

Presumably because, despite all the huffing and puffing, Greening is terrified that if she does the ONS will add NR debt onto the Treasury's books.

UPDATE: This from YourLocalGuardian.co.uk...

The Transport Secretary is to vote against bonuses for top Network Rail executives at the firm's AGM this week, she revealed.

But Justine Greening told the BBC Sunday Politics programme the Government has only a single vote and cannot compel rail bosses not to pay the bonuses. About 80 members can vote on the board and the result will be advisory only...

Ms Greening told the programme: "I'm going to go to the meeting next Friday, I'm going to vote against them."

Just fancy that!