Thursday, 31 May 2012
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
This from yesterday's email update on progress at the Duffield - Wirksworth line, sent out by GM Martin Miller...
...I returned today to find that John had completed the third lining out of our Pullman set.
Surely worth £20k of anyone's money to see 'Cruella de Villiers' and the 'Captain of Netball' permanently paired for posterity?
The Class 379 trains’ current performance is such that on average each train would circumnavigate the world more than twice before encountering a technical failure. The target availability of 90% has been met consistently
Now the circumference of the earth is 25,901 miles at the equator, so Professor Peabody calculates that the Class 379 feet should be recording a Miles per Technical Incident of 49,802.
The Moving Annual Average for the Class 379 in Period 1 2012-13 was, errrr... 13,363 miles - or almost exactly once round the planet Mars, scene of my second adventure when my archeologist uncle discovered how the Martian civilisation had been wiped out before it could develop railways.
Southern's Class 377 Electrostars would get 1.4 times round Earth before suffering a 3 minute delay.
For the record, the Equatorial Train Reliability Analogy winners are the SWT Class 458 and LM Class 350/2 fleets which would be starting their fourth circumnavigation before conking out.
He is now Director of Customer Experience.
Good to see that RSSB haven't taken this lying down.
Monday, 28 May 2012
a) Provision of approximately eight 3-car DMUs suitable for operation on the Gospel Oak -Barking railway, without associated train-maintenance services
b) Provision of approximately eight 3-car DMUs suitable for operation on the Gospel Oak -Barking railway, with associated train-maintenance services
TfL may consider 4-car DMUs in lieu of 3-car, but does not envisage a fleet of mixed train length.
TfL has an aspiration to introduce longer trains from 2013.
Friday, 25 May 2012
The Derby Telegraph has won two awards.
Thursday, 24 May 2012
That is all.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
"A letter from the Conservative Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Norman Baker, makes it clear that the government is ‘disappointed’ that East Midland Trains pressed ahead with reducing pension contributions – the cause of the current dispute."
This from Captain Deltic...
According to ORR its objective for the current Periodic Review is:
...ensuring our determination enables Network Rail and its industry partners to deliver or exceed all the specified outcome and output requirements safely and sustainably at the most efficient levels possible, comparable with the best railways in the world by the end of the control period.
Good to see that the ORR leads the pack when it comes to b*llsh*t mission statements.
ORR, the best rail regulator in the world... probably!
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Monday, 21 May 2012
Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for the time taken to finalise the Thameslink rolling stock contract; and when she expects the contract to be finalised.
Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)
The Department expects to conclude the core project agreements with Siemens and Cross London Trains shortly, following which Cross London Trains and their lending banks then need to conclude the financing documentation required to secure the necessary equity and debt funding for the project.
So, let me get this straight.
If I were Wabtec, Bombardier or Railcare, I’d be getting my tendering pencils warmed up for a Class 319 refurb offer!
Friday, 18 May 2012
Thursday, 17 May 2012
I also wish to discuss Hitachi, which I always mention when I can because it provides a massive boost to the north-east economy; it is providing the biggest private sector investment in the north-east since Nissan. Hitachi is going to build a £90 million factory—a train-building facility—in my constituency at Newton Aycliffe.The company is going to refurbish the rolling stock for the east coast main line and for the great western line into Wales. Hitachi is going to create 500 jobs, with thousands in the supply chain.
UPDATE: This from The Cynic, who has discovered even greater savings...
As well as providing a boost to the regional economy thanks to improved connections across the region, the project is also expected to create 35 new jobs locally as well.
UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...
According to Stormin' Norman:
The knowledge that we obtain from the pilot will enable us to understand the technical and operational challenges involved in this project so that the concept can potentially be rolled out elsewhere in the UK.Presumaly these are the same 'technical and operational challenges' that had to be understood before the successful operation of Tyne & Wear Metro cars over Network Rail infrastructure to Sunderland? (shurely 'already mastered by LUL's Met and District lines, whose stock have long shared routes with 'heavy' rail operators'? Ed).
Still, however dodgy the justification, who cares if the Treasury buys it and a lot of people should benefit - unlike the original bonkers proposal back in 2008 to run diesel tram trains as Pacer replacement over the Penistone Line.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
UPDATE: Wise words from the Beeb...
The wags have already compared it to The Thick Of It, the political satire which coined terms such as the "infiltration matrix" and "plasmic data modelling".
Just fancy that!
Update: This from the Video Producer...
Norman Baker's suggests making use of Video Conferencing to avoid using public transport for the following reasons:
1. To save money - doesn't that say something about government fares policy (maybe he could look at split ticketing); and
2. Because it's good for the environment, lowering carbon emissions etc.
However, Stormin' Norman is standing in a video studio in front of a background lit with a pair of old-type 800w (each) "redhead" video lamps which use conventional, un-green, incandescent lamps that create loads of wasteful heat in their inefficient operation.
Why isn't the DfT studio set up with the new LED-based video lights which are hugely more energy efficient and "greener".
Practice what you preach, eh Norm?
Monday, 14 May 2012
Friday, 11 May 2012
Sage advice from Philip Hammond!
The defence secretary has been on the airwaves to defend a change in Government procurement policy.
No doubt these wise words will resonate in Marsham Street...
'You can either close your eyes and plough on regardless, which, I am afraid, is something that has happened all too often in the past in big public procurement projects, or you can stand up and say, honestly, the facts have changed, I'll review the decision I made, however painful that may be for me, and I will take the decision that is right now in the light of the facts as we have discovered them'.
But is the Captain of Netball listening?
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Friday, 4 May 2012
The loco (complete with traditional Stratford style silver roof) is adorned with Union flags and emblazoned with the name 'Diamond Jubilee'.
Here the Crown Point team who prep'ed the loco present a replica nameplate to the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.
Good on ClogRail!
Thursday, 3 May 2012
The Regulator's latest tome, ‘2013 Periodic Review : Financial and Incentive Framework’ confirms that from 2014, access charges will be geographically based, reflecting the different costs of maintaining the track and signalling on various Network Rail routes.
As yet, Network Rail haven't actually managed to produce any data upon which these charges could be based, but you might of course expect that costs will be higher in some parts of the country, for example areas that are hillier, flatter, colder, wetter, hotter, prettier or possibly with smarter postcodes (is this right? Ed).
To be fair some routes are busier, some less well used, some quicker, whilst others are errr... slower (get on with it! Ed). So making access charges reflect this will, say the ORR, incentivise operators to be more efficient.
Now of course franchised passenger services are held neutral to any changes by DfT and Transport Scotland.
So these reforms only apply to freight and open access services (around 10% of traffic), who will now be in the happy position of being able to plan their services avoiding the most expensive parts of the country.
Indeed, there is some suggestion that railfreight customers are so keen to embrace these changes and do their bit to reduce wear and tear on the network, that they are giving serious thought to relocating their quarries, blast furnaces and deep-water ports (you're just not taking this seriously, are you? Ed)
Happily these exciting ORR proposals will also do their bit to generate new jobs, mainly amongst desk jockeys calculating the new charges and drivers of ever heavier HGV vehicles.
UPDATE: This from Sir William Ackworth...
Is one of the objectives of geographical track access charging to ensure that a much higher proportion of national rail infrastructure costs is transferred to Mr Salmond and his jocular friends north of the border ASAP – certainly prior to any independence referendum?
The Scottish network is disproportionately blessed with very expensive infrastructure, including the 2 longest estuarial rail crossings in GB (and other structures needing careful monitoring), and significant stretches of line requiring extensive coastal defence and mitigation measures, or susceptible to flooding or rock-falls, or suffering from unstable formations (e.g. in former mining areas or across bogs and moors.)
In due course, the same approach might be adopted to transfer 50% of the costs of the Severn Tunnel and 100% of the costs of the Cambrian Coast (lots of flooding, rock falls & estuarial crossings there!) and Central Wales lines to the WAG in Cardiff.
If this were to happen, then by deploying the same analysis of the second-order effects of differentiated TACs as the fragrant Rose, and also looking at C18th and 19th Scottish history, we can confidently expect the cross-Border migration of many able but destitute Scottish economists and administrators who cannot afford cost-reflective rail fares in their homeland, travelling on cheaper parts of the rail network to seek employment in organisations such as ORR and DfT and willing to accept salaries well below those currently enjoyed by incumbents.
This would significantly reduce rail industry costs and contribute to closing the efficiency gap identified by Sir Roy McNulty (by coincidence, also a Celt).
I feel sure that the occupants of Kemble and Marsham Streets would consider the loss of their current posts to cheaper competitors, or the option of a significant reduction in their salaries to remain employed, to be a small price to pay to facilitate the efficient working of the infrastructure charging and labour markets.
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Of course being a good Catholic he immediately appealed to higher powers and yesterday sent the following epistle to the Pope:
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
The Apostolic Palace
001 20 Vatican City
1st May 2012
Most Holy Father,
My sincere apologies for writing to you on this matter, but you will see that it causes me great concern. On the 19th April in the year of our Lord 2012, a lightning strike caused major power problems to Waterloo and Victoria stations in London.
There were significant disruptions to travel resulting in an almost six hour journey with several changes of train. My journey from London to my home station is scheduled to take just under 90 minutes, so you will appreciate the distress and discomfort I experienced.
On approaching South West Trains for compensation, I was informed that it was not their responsibility as this was an ‘act of God’.
Whilst I cannot for one moment accept that He would single out commuters for a single act of retribution in this way, it is clear that the train operating company believes the fault lies with our Lord and Master.
It is, therefore, with the deepest regret that I must ask Your Holiness, as His representative on Earth, for compensation. My monthly cost of travel is in the region of £550, so compensation of £30 would seem appropriate to cover travel and out of pocket expenses.
I am terribly apologetic for having to contact you on this matter. South West Trains is never to blame for any disruption to its services and as often these are the result of weather conditions it would seem that God is to blame most of the time.May I humbly suggest you establish a customer services department specifically for this purpose as I am sure you will receive many such compensation claims in the future.
Yours in reverence,
PS If you wish to be warned in advance of South West Trains travel problems and other interesting matters you could do a lot worse that follow me on Twitter @LeeMarkDavies