Friday, 16 May 2008

Last Orders on the UndergrounD

The Fact Compiler is old enough to remember civilised days when you could still have a drink, platform level, Underground.

Sloane Square's Hole in the Wall
had no swinging pub sign but was conveniently located, next to the up escalator, on the Westbound and it served an honest pint. For many years it had refreshed weary Gordon Gehko types returning home after a hard days insider trading. Alas, the last of its breed, it too fell victim to the New Puritanism and closed in 1985. Within its dregs now sits a sandwich bar.

Today those needing a quick bracer Underground are reliant upon their hip-flask, bottle in a brown-paper-bag or can of wife-beater.

Perhaps unsurprisingly (Kilburn being a long way from City Hall) the previous Mayor never quite got round to barring drinking on the Tube. But now BoJo has decreed that this is all to end. On the evening of Saturday 31st May 2008 drinking upon the Underground is barred! Perhaps a cruel way to exact a revenge.

Whilst there are numerous and sound safety reasons for implementing such a bar it reveals a polity which distrusts the people that elected it. Therefore, whilst publicly frowning, the Fact Compiler will, in private, be raising his glass to last orders on the Underground.

Education Education Education

The Office of Rail Regulation has announced that Ian Prosser will be its new Director of Railway Safety.

Ian, who starts at ORR on the 4th August, is currently Director of Safety & Assurance at Metronet Rail.

ORR Chief Executive Bill Emery said: “I am delighted that Ian has agreed to join ORR. We had a very strong field for the job but Ian’s experience of change management and safety strategy and operations were particularly impressive and proved to be deciding factors."

Railway Eye wonders if this could be the same Ian Prosser who featured in Private Eye last June for having "no formal safety qualification".

Way to go Bill - that'll reassure the HMRI boys and girls!