Thursday, 3 July 2008

The magic bus

When is a bus not a bus?

When it's used on a dedicated rail link according to South West Trains.

Adam Carew, LibDem parliamentary candidate for East Hampshire, and a local councilor, is seeking clarification from SWT over whether or not the Government's newly issued free bus passes for over 60s can be used on the dedicated rail-bus link between Liphook and Borden.

Hampshire County Council says they can but SWT, who fund the link, say they can't - claiming that "for administrative purposes" the bus link is considered as part of the national rail network.

Whilst Mr Carew will no doubt make political hay whilst the sun shines he raises an interesting question as, no matter what your age, one bus is pretty much like another.

No doubt a public relations disaster in waiting as Gladys and Ernie are left to the not-so-tender ministrations of feral youths, the Rail-Bus link (or rail-replacement service) having left town without them.

Whilst on the subject what news of ACoRPs discussions with Daft about allowing free bus passes to be used on Community Rail lines? As the song goes "It's all gone quiet over there...".

New head of ACTU

Shaun Brady has been appointed acting General Secretary of the Associated Train Crew Union.

"We are not just about pay negotiations. We want to look at problems facing the industry and at ways to improve it." he said.

Shaun was previously General Secretary of ASLEF but after only 10 months in the role was dramatically suspended in May 2004, following an incident at the union's annual summer bash.

Railway Eye understands that there are no plans for an ACTU summer BBQ.

Robin Sisson RIP

Robin Sisson, Assistant Editor of Today' Railways, has died after being involved in a motor accident.

Robin, 50, began his career as a school master at Bradford Grammar School before joining Today's Railways (formerly known as Entrain magazine).

Robin, who had a life long love of the railways, previously worked for the North West Rail Passengers Council and also played a major role in reopening Frizinghall station between Bradford and Shipley.

Today's Railways Editor-in-chief Peter Fox said: “We are all devastated by what has happened. We are just stunned."

A 20-year-old man driving the Toyota involved in the collision is believed to have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed until early August.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus story here

Unite unites

Unite - Britain's biggest union and well represented amongst railway engineering functions - is merging with the US-based United Steelworkers union (USW) to form Workers Uniting.

Unite was itself only formed last year when the Transport and General Workers Union merged with Amicus.

The new union will have three million members and will synchronise negotiations with multinational companies.

The merger agreement is to be signed in Las Vegas.

A choice of venue calculated to remind management that future negotiations will be played for much higher stakes.

Less is more

Today is the 70th anniversary of Mallard's record breaking run down Stoke Bank.

The special run saw the LNER locomotive achieve a top speed of 126mph - a world speed record for a steam locomotive that remains unbroken today.

Seventy years later the top line speed on the East Coast Mainline is 125mph (providing the wires aren't down, cables haven't been nicked, points haven't failed, etc...).

Progress schmogress