The Independent has published a piece that will further fuel concerns in the infrastructure supply chain.
It quotes the following from an 'NR memo':
“The last time the track renewals industry had a cost challenge of this magnitude, 7-8 years ago, the supply chain suffered massively (we lost a principal contractor and many second tier suppliers)…this is going to be a tough couple of years for the whole industry.”
Full article, here.
UPDATE: The Campaign for Better Transport are quick off the blocks!
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said:
"These cuts are likely to mean more delays and worse journeys for passengers. We know from previous experience with roads as well as railways that maintenance backlogs are easy to build up and hard and expensive to get rid of.
“However, this isn't all about austerity - some of it is about waste and incompetence in Network Rail, which as they admit, has mismanaged several upgrade projects. Network Rail needs to get a grip and the regulator needs to help them do it."
Friday, 31 March 2017
The Independent has published a piece that will further fuel concerns in the infrastructure supply chain.
People of Immingham - rejoice!
Those nice people at the RDG have promised you a significant uplift in services.
According to the FT today, reporting on the decline in coal traffic:
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said there would be space for “potentially thousands” of extra passenger services every year.
707s to Grimsby? That'll do nicely.
Thursday, 30 March 2017
This from from Daddy Warbucks...
First MTR seem intriguingly reticent about the collateral damage from their new train bonanza for the South Western franchise.
Asked by the jackals of the railway press about the implications for SWT's existing fleets all they will confirm is that the Class 707s (Angel - £240 million investment) will definitely be replaced.
As for the expensively reconstructed Class 458/5s (Porterbrook £65 million) and currently-being-expensively-retractioned Class 455s (Porterbrook £40 million), the rest is silence - at least until after the standstill period.
Still Angel had the foresight to specify dual voltage for the Class 707s. And also now has the opportunity to spend even more millions on refurbishing and retractioning the 18 Plastic Pigs, AKA Class 442.
Our man who prefers letters to Class Numbers points out that under the Mk 3 Coach bodies of the 5WES is traction equipment from the legendary 4REPs which weighed 175 tonnes, had the power of a Class 55 Deltic and a notional maximum speed of 100 mile/h if someone was looking.
Let's hope whoever gets the contract to re-traction the Class 442s maintains this hooligan tradition. After all, they do hold the speed record on 750 Volt DC third rail.
New Railway Industry Association CEO Darren Caplan is making his mark.
According to both Railnews and Railway Gazette International RIA issued a statement yesterday on the back of the Article 50 activation:
"Brexit presents the industry with both challenges and opportunities’, said Chief Executive Darren Caplan. "The Railway Industry Association will seek to be specifically included in any Brexit agreement negotiated, ensuring UK railways sit alongside automotive and aerospace as one of the Department for Exiting the EU’s top transport sectors.
"Additionally, we will work with the UK government to maintain trade in as frictionless a manner as possible, for example on standards and tariffs; and we will seek to ensure our industry continues to have access to an adequate supply of skilled labour from the UK and around the world, regardless of the outcome of these negotiations."
Although perhaps a shame that you can't yet find it on the news section of the RIA website...
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
#Breaking CH2M, handed £170m deal to develop Phase 2b of HS2, pulls out of that section due to "protracted delays and ongoing speculation"— Press Association (@PA) March 29, 2017
More over at Guido, here.
Welcome to the world of HS2 Nuspeak!
Gone is the fuddy duddy old fashioned term "classic compatible'.
In comes the snappy and exciting "conventional-compatible"!
Why use seven letters when twelve will do?
HS2 simplificating railwaytrainvehicle procurementpurchase for benefit travelpassenger!
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
This from Hildegard of the Vinzgau...
This from Henry Hectare...
In the past Eye has been somewhat critical of a certain Mr Kipling's role in the procurement of new rolling stock.
The latest fleets for Thameslink, East Coast and Great Western were specified and procured by the DfT, often against the best advice of those who actually have to operate them, and not withstanding passenger (sorry - customer) fury about uncomfortable seating and the absence of wifi and sockets.
Surely this could all have been solved by simple recourse to the wise words of the World's Greatest Living Transport Correspondent?
But what do we find when we turn to an epistle from Mystic Wolmar, penned for the pages of RAIL Magazine in 2004, as Virgin Trains launched its first "tilting" Red Revolution timetable:
"It is obvious that the Voyagers or Pendolinos must not be used as the model for new rolling stock for inter-city services and let us hope the lessons from their failings are learned. The HSTs are going to need replacing, probably by the end of the decade, and the same mistake of having modern trains that are less pleasant than the ones they are replacing must not be repeated...
"The sensible option would be for the SRA – or, rather, its replacement – to commission a new design for the trains and insist that they be used on the Great Western franchise where most sets are required and for any other similar routes. Why should a franchisee design trains when they are but temporary holders of a management contract, especially given that when things go wrong, we all know who foots the bill."
Wise words indeed. If only Mr Kipling and his legions in the DfT had listened to Woemar's sage advice! (Is this right? Ed)
The ORR has issued a review initiation notice beginning the statutory process for the periodic review.
In a note sent yesterday to interested parties the ORR stated:
Time for an exciting Eye poll!
Using your skills and judgement select who is most likely to be new MD of First MTR South Western Trains.
The exclusive Eye poll is on the right hand side menu bar.
Remember, vote early vote often!
Monday, 27 March 2017
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Not a good week for HS2.
The Guido Fawkes website is running a number of articles on the project; suggesting that a crisis board meeting is being held today and calling into question the use of 17 PR agencies.
Meanwhile, UK companies looking to supply into the new railway are getting increasingly frustrated by HS2’s apparent insistence on strict adherence to the Utility Contracts Regulations 2016.
The UK rolling stock supply chain, having been burnt by previous government procurement exercises for both Thameslink and the IEP, is calling for UK content to be a contractual requirement for the new HS2 fleet.
HS2 remains adamant that under the EU mandated Utility Contracts Regulations this cannot happen.
If Chris Grayling is serious about securing a post Brexit Bounce for Britain's rail supply chain then a more flexible approach to HS2 procurement, that favours UK suppliers, must be mandated.
Otherwise the project's multi-billion pound spend risks disappearing off-shore.
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
This from The Liverpool Echo...
"Merseyrail will be hit by a 24 hour strike on April 8 - the day of the Grand National."
Meanwhile, here is an image of the RMT, possibly at Brecher's Brook...
On they go, and on they go; with Public Opinion, Furious Passenger and Withdrawn Funding in the lead...
Racegoers, Merseyside and Eye ask if colleagues might think again?
This from Virgin Trains East Coast...
"Four trains spanning four generations will travel side by side, in the same direction, along the East Coast Main Line on April 23 2017.
"This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world famous Flying Scotsman travel alongside two trains from Virgin Trains’ revitalised fleet - an HST (Class 43), an intercity225 (Class 91) - and the rail operator’s brand new train, the Virgin Azuma (Class 800) which is being built by Hitachi in the North East, and will come into service in 2018.
"The four trains will travel together for several miles north of York to showcase the past, present and future of rail travel."
A nice of bit Beardie Rail PR that should look stunning from the air.
The event is being supported by Welcome to Yorkshire, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum.
Does Eye detect the hand of Stanton?
Monday, 20 March 2017
Coming to a Devil's Lantern near you...
Due to run for 'more than three weeks' on TV and at cinemas; and will be supported by posters on trains and at stations.
Good to hear both goods and passengers mentioned.
UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...
That's some confidence in the product.
Not a train to be seen!
UPDATE: This from Paul (Brigg Line) @Saturday_Only...
@TheFactCompiler Poster at Brigg Station, locals giggle at it as they have a 1 day a week services, running to an anti social timetable pic.twitter.com/gzQiWry4PR— Paul (Brigg Line) (@Saturday_Only) 20 March 2017
UPDATE: This apparently from ‘Tulyar’…
Good to see the Rail Delivery Group embracing both the tradition and diversity of today's railway in their new logo.
Much as new nations emerging from former colonies, or ethnic/cultural reformations attach significance to the colours and symbols (cont’ p94)…
I wonder if there is (or readers might attribute) significance to the colours used and their positions on the logo.
Eye suspects it had something to do with not using any existing TOC house colours (future franchise winners - fill your boots!).
Eye exclusive: Inside the office of the RDG CEO!
An Aldersgate mole has supplied extraordinary footage of recent high level discussions between leaders of the RDG and RSG.
Here Paul Plummer offers the Supply Chain a seat at the table:
Truly, Master of all he surveys!
This from the Transport Select Committee:
Saturday, 18 March 2017
That's the way to do it!
Although asking whether people might 'need this' appears a little superfluous?
On a two hour journey who can tell?
So best assume we all will?
But it's a start!
This from CornwallLive:
"An historic train journey which was supposed the first train to run direct from Okehampton to London in 50 years has been scrapped after the engine slipped down the line this morning, damaging the wheels."
A nice shiny green HST as well, with not a kettle in sight.