Regular readers of Eye and Passenger Transport magazine may recall the Fact Compiler lamenting the paucity of ladies in senior railway management roles.
So Eye was heartened to see that a new organisation, Women in Rail, will hold its launch event on the 10th of April.
According to the blurb...
The theme of the event is "Women in Rail: shaping the future of rail". Presentations will focus on the business case for supporting and encouraging women in the rail sector and developing strategies for engaging young people to consider a career in rail.
Speakers will include, amongst others, Sir David Rowlands (former Permanent Secretary to the Department for Transport), Heidi Mottram OBE (CEO at Northumbrian Water), Heather Jackson (Chief Executive and Founder of An Inspirational Journey), The Hon Anna Walker (Chair at the Office of Rail Regulation) and Dyan Crowther (Route Managing Director, Network Rail).
And quite right too.
Although Eye wonders why WiR has given Angel chairman Sir David Rowlands top billing when the impressive DG Rail might have been more appropriate? (Perhaps because Angel is sponsoring it? Ed)
After all, Clare Moriarty is board champion for gender at DfT and is responsible for supporting the development of women leaders across the Civil Service.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Regular readers of Eye and Passenger Transport magazine may recall the Fact Compiler lamenting the paucity of ladies in senior railway management roles.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Adam Hewitt, Editor
This from the ORR...
From: Data Portal
Sent: 26 February 2013 11:19
To: Data Portal
Subject: Average age of Rolling Stock by TOC report - correction
Due to an error in the report design, the data for the ‘All’ category in the Average age of Rolling Stock by TOC had been displayed against the wrong quarters between 2009-10 Q2 and 2012-13 Q2. This has now been rectified and the report currently displays data for the appropriate financial quarters.
The most likely cause for this error was due to changes in the way the data was loaded. Now that the report has been amended this error should not occur again. In addition, we will amend our existing validation procedures to ensure further checks against raw data are undertaken.
Apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.
What is it with spreadsheets and Government departments?
UPDATE: This from The Sleeper...
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
UPDATE: This, it would appear, from Morris the Man...
Non solum fumo speculisque, sed etiam tintinnabulis fistulisque fit.
So. The Public Accounts Committee has published its report into the cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition.
The accompanying press release is littered with phrases like "complete lack of common sense", "fundamental errors" "littered with basic errors", "failed to learn from previous disasters", "failed to heed advice from its lawyers", "failed to respond appropriately to early warning signs", "did not have proper oversight of the project" and comments that "the project showed a lack of leadership".
The release continues: "There was no single person responsible from beginning to end and, therefore, no one who had to live with the consequences of bad policy decisions...".
"We are astonished that the Permanent Secretary did not oversee the project because he was told he could not see all the information which might have enabled him to challenge the processes, although it was one of the most important tasks for which the department is responsible."
"Given that the Department got it so wrong over this competition, we must feel concern over how properly it will handle future projects, including HS2 and Thameslink. The Department needs to get its house in order and put basic principles and practices at the heart of what it does, with an appropriately qualified and senior person in charge of the project throughout and an accessible leadership team ready and willing to hear and act on warning signs."
Of course it is all too easy to snipe from the sidelines.
Therefore, Eye is determined to make a constructive contribution to helping DfT "get its house in order".
On page 42 of the PAC report is this telling gem:
£230,000 on uniforms that will never be worn!!!
Eye insists that all officials at the Department (as well as Villiers, Hammond and Greening) are required to wear these totems of profligacy when in Whitehall and on or about the railway.
Perhaps that might engender a greater sense of team spirit and visible accountability?
UPDATE: This from Alias Schmidt & Jones...
Hey, are there any picture of these uniforms?
And are they now for sale somewhere?
If so, where can I get one?
If not why not?
Eye understands that they are in secure storage and ready to be used as required. Apparently there are sufficient for any large-ish size TOC!
Monday, 25 February 2013
UPDATE: This from the Lost Gardens of Hackney...
I recall this from my former days on said patch but it gets even worse:
The yellow caution sticker depicted contains the classic typo 'The train may be longer than the platfrom'...!!!!!
Proof reading? No chance!
Friday, 15 February 2013
A busy day for TfL and those named Howard!
This from Crossrail...
Crossrail today announced the appointment of Howard Smith as Operations Director.
Howard Smith is currently Chief Operating Officer for Rail at Transport for London and has successfully led the £1bn East London Line extension project as well as the development, launch and operation of London Overground and management of its operating concession.
Howard Smith will be responsible for leading the development of Crossrail’s operational and customer service strategy, defining the structure of the new railway’s operating and maintenance organisations as well as leading on the arrangements for the future Crossrail operating concession.
Note the magic word 'concession'.
What possible reason, apart from DLR and London Overground, could Crossrail have for preferring a concession over the hugely discredited and thinly capitalised franchising model? (shurely: "highly successful and investment rich franchising model"? Ed)
This from the Sydney Morning Herald...
THE man who made the London Tube work during last year's Olympics will be the next boss of Sydney's rail system.
Howard Collins, made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for his management of transport during the Olympics, will be the first head of Sydney Trains, the new organisation to run trains in the city.
The appointment continues a long tradition in Sydney of appointing British rail executives and has been hailed as a coup by the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian.
And so the brain drain down under continues!
Helpful of someone to put double yellow lines alongside these Silver Stumps.
No doubt to prevent damage to car doors when exiting your motor.
Anyone care to hazard a guess at the unit cost?
It's ABC time again.
Remember most industry titles don't submit their titles to circulation audit so a bowler tip to those that do.
Here the 2012 circulation figures with those for 2011 in brackets...
Railway Magazine 37,298 (36,523)
Rail 20,123 (19.801)
And by way of comparison, Steam Railway 31,810 (32,266)
Railway Magazine continues to perform strongly and RAIL has grown its circulation for the first time in several years.
If Eye has missed anyone out, please shout.
Once again reports of the demise of Dead Tree Media appear somewhat exaggerated.
UPDATE: This from the Railway Gazette...
Railway Gazette International has been a member of ABC since the 1960’s and has every intention of remaining a member for the foreseeable future.
Our 2012 certificate has been submitted to the ABC. We were a week later than usual in submitting this but well within the ABC deadline. ABC have issued the draft certificate to us and the official one will be live next week.
Figure for 2011 was 10,548 print copies, figure for 2012 will be 10,533.
We are 15 print copies down but this has been replaced by a huge increase in our digital only copies which are not counted in this audit.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
This via, ahem, Network Rail...
New Director, Maintenance and Operations Services
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Neal Lawson as director, maintenance and operations services within Network Operations, reporting to me. Neal joins us from First Capital Connect (FCC), where he is currently managing director.
This new post will give us a more joined-up, strategic view across Network Operations, which will help us to support the routes more efficiently and effectively.
Leading the central maintenance and operations services functions, Neal’s role will include the operating strategy, timetabling, national performance management, improving infrastructure reliability, improving operational and workforce safety, level crossings, CrossCountry and open access operators, stations and depots, and the coordination of a £1 billion capital programme covering a range of activities during control period five.
Neal will also take on a new role within the company, becoming the client for the implementation of the European Train Control System on behalf of Network Rail. He will coordinate the operational, technical and commercial interfaces with the train operators.
Neal has extensive industry and technical experience. Prior to joining FCC, he was senior vice president, asset engineering at Metronet and vice president, engineering and product development at Bombardier. His comprehensive, senior experience in asset management, rail vehicle manufacturing and train operations make him an excellent addition to the Network Operations leadership team. His start date will be confirmed shortly.
I would like to thank Fiona Dolman, who stepped in as interim director, operational services when Dyan Crowther left the post to become route managing director for LNW. Fiona will return to her permanent role as head of operational planning, and will report to Neal. Mac Andrade, director, maintenance services will also report to Neal.
- ENDS -
Time for an exciting new feature!
Introducing Silver Stump Watch.
In the Age of Austerity, where every penny counts, it is only right that the railway should invest heavily to prevent the merest possibility of some ne'er-do-well driving a vehicle onto railway property with the aim of committing some dreadful abomination.
This picture from Euston with a bowler tip to Strawbrick...
Presumably these magnificent Silver Stumps appearing across the network will deter those of evil intent, as they will now be forced to find a free parking space or take public transport before simply walking through these eyesores?
Does anyone really believe that these offer value for money or is this a visual manifestation of derriere covering?
Update: This from The Major...
York has some fine examples which serve only to provide a nuisance to those towing trolley bags (themselves a nuisance but let's not go there!).
I believe these stumps fall under the little-known 'Business Case Exemption (Security Measures and Ticket Barriers) Regulations 2011'.
So. A director of First Class Partnerships is now leading franchising for
Meanwhile First Class Partnerships has form for advising Directly Operated Railways 'on preparations to take over' franchises, most recently on the West Coast:
On the 12th of February, My Lord Berkeley asked the following...
Lord Berkeley (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the appointment of Pete Wilkinson as Interim Franchise Director at the department for Transport, what are the terms and conditions of his appointment; what is his expected remuneration; and what arrangements are in place to separate his activities at the Department for Transport from his other business interests.
Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
Mr Wilkinson has been appointed on the terms and conditions of an interim member of staff. He has been appointed initially for a period of six months at a daily rate.
He has declared his interests in any actual or potential businesses to the Permanent Secretary and appropriate measures have been taken in accordance with the Civil Service rules and the terms of his appointment to address any potential conflicts of interest.
So that's all right then!
This from Orville...
Yesterday, 200 or so of the industry's brightest and best attended the ORR's consultation workshop on NR's Strategic Business Plan.
NR put on a polished performance, with a number of senior executives there to present all that the Plan has to offer.
And the ORR?
Did they perchance outline their emerging views and concerns with the plan and its costs? Were Walker, Price, and Ross there listening intently as industry grilled NR on the details?
Why tie down senior management talent focusing on the industry's view of the 'greatest investment in the railways since the Victorian era' (sic) when there are much more interesting things to do?
Such as managing the team of 60 ORR staff, or 21% of total headcount, busy duplicating the role of Passenger Focus (shurely "working on 'consumer protection' matters"? Ed).
Aye, it's a fine life at One Kemble Street.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
This from I Remember Alborough...
This was the sight that greeted me as the train was ready for boarding at Liverpool Street on Friday.
It had been cleaned and was not late in.
GA pulled out all the stops for the Olympics. Quite clearly they have now pushed all the stops back in again!
This from the Man by the Photocopier...
I note approvingly that Transport for London has extended the LOROL contract to run Overground until late 2016.
“LOROL will continue to be responsible for the operation of the London Overground train services, maintenance and operation of the stations which they manage and the maintenance of the 172 trains which run on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.”
Buffer to buffer, presumably?
This via @BookOfTrains...
Which art on rails,
Hallowed be thy trains.
Thy service come,
If thy will be done,
In earth as it is on timetable.
And lead us not from our destination,
But deliver us from lateness,
For thine is the speed,
The power and the glory,
Whenever, if ever,
Wishing all a reflective Lent.
Monday, 11 February 2013
In the latest issue of Passenger Transport, published on the 1st February the Fact Compiler opines on social media...
The next edition of Passenger Transport will be published on the 15th of February.
Thursday, 7 February 2013
An occasional series celebrating the genius that is Simon Burns MP, the Minister of State for Transport...
This from the 4th of February:
Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made on re-opening the platforms at the former Waterloo International Terminal for domestic commuter services; and if he will make a statement.
Simon Burns (Chelmsford, Conservative)
The Government is committed to bringing the former International platforms at Waterloo station into domestic use, commencing with platform 20 being brought back into use by 2014 to assist South West Trains in delivering additional capacity into this busy station. In advance of this, work to refurbish the roof is already under way.
With regard to the other four former international platforms, previous plans to bring these back into use have now been subject to detailed evaluation which has shown them to be too short-term in respect of the efficient overall expansion of Waterloo station. A more comprehensive and longer term plan is required. On 16 July 2012 the Secretary of State published the High Level Output Specification (HLOS), which included recognition that major works are likely to be required at London Waterloo and made provision for this as part of a wider rail strategy for Control Period 5 (2014-19).
Network Rail published its Strategic Business Plan (SBP) in January 2013 setting out how the rail industry proposes to deliver the Government's HLOS rail strategy for 2014-19. The SBP proposes a £300 million investment to increase capacity into London Waterloo in CP5 as part of a longer term enhancement programme that will deliver significant capacity improvements into CP6 and beyond. During CP5, improvements will focus on suburban routes into London with platform extensions to accommodate longer 10 car trains and the integration of the former Waterloo International Terminal and its platforms to increase capacity within the station.
What on earth does Third Degree Burns mean when he says the four other platforms at Waterloo International station are "too short-term in respect of the efficient overall expansion of Waterloo station"?
Does he think these platforms are planning to move somewhere in the near future?
Or perhaps, at over a quarter of a mile in length, they will be unable to handle whatever trains SWT can throw at them?
Almost completely meaningless - Cruella would have been proud of him.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
So, Sir Brian Souter will be a guest on BBC Question Time tomorrow night.
Expect some fireworks in light of recent House of Commons' business, as in the past Sir Brian has had some clear views on promoting what were once termed 'alternative' lifestyles.
Thursday's telefest may be the Wee Man's last high profile public outing, ahem, before he becomes Stagecoach Group's chairman in May, relinquishing the role of chief executive to the now ubiquitous Martin Griffiths (currently finance director).
Despite Brian's interesting history with matters 'equality' don't expect too much criticism from Humza Yousaf the MSP member of the panel. In the devolved world of Scottish politics Our Brian has proven a generous benefactor to the Scottish National Party over recent years.
No doubt First's Tim O'Toole, which currently holds the ScotRail franchise, will be watching with interest?
Monday, 4 February 2013
This from Gwynneth Dunchairing...
Who should the Secretary of State's team meet in the corridor outside the TSC this evening, but the SoS for International Development!
Justine Greening (for it was she) asked how it had gone?
An evidently busy McLoughlin appeared unable to chat, leaving a couple of nervous officials to explain the TSC's exhaustive interest in InterCity West Coast and franchising policy.
"Oh. Well I hope it went OK" she said, flushed bright red and ran off frowning intently at her BlackBerry.
No doubt a text from the PM? Ah, the benefits of promotion.
This from Network Rail...
We received a number of responses to our consultation on the proposal for Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (“Network Rail”) to acquire a number of freight sites from DB Schenker Rail (UK) Limited (“DBSR”).
Having carefully considered and taken account of the responses we have decided not to proceed with the proposal as consulted on. Nevertheless, we remain keen to continue to explore ways in which it may be possible to achieve the overarching objectives identified in our consultation document. We recognise the desirability of wider industry support should there be major structural changes required to achieve this.
A real shame!
UPDATE: This from A Man in Chains...
A couple of points:
1) Weren't the yards "gifted" to EWS in the first place?
2) At least one "yard" NR thought it was buying is already a housing estate (Barrow)
3) The deal proposed giving DBS protection for the best/longest sidings for its own exclusive use, "ransom" strips of land or track that other freight users would still have had to pay to use/cross and other restrictive clauses weighted in favour of DBS.
A purchase of something already given away should at least have come without any covenants in favour of the previous owner…
Good news for passengers on Virgin's extended West Coast franchise.
To celebrate, ahem, recent events the victorious TOC is providing free champagne all week in first class!
Just the thing to soothe fevered brows as the infrastructure falls apart yet again. (shurely "as you speed on your way"? Ed)
Friday, 1 February 2013
Good to see that the statist behemoths in Europe can all come together to embrace market reforms and real competition!
But what's this?
This rather forlorn press release has just emerged from the CER press office...
Liberalising continental railways seems to be proving a very grube business, or indeed, perhaps not enough of one?