Friday, 11 July 2008

Stop complaining fatty

Good news from the Department for Transport which, rather than doing what it says on the tin and worrying about how to get us from A to B, is now more concerned about our girth.

As DafT is plainly unable to meet the Cartesian requirement for sentience (I think therefore I am) it has cleverly devised an alternative - I print therefore I am.

Latest publication off the Melton Street presses is 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System'.

Alongside a whole load of tosh plainly designed to justify Civil Serpent inactivity is the following entry under "Goal Narratives - Challenge" (I kid you not)!

Improve health outcomes for individuals through encouraging and enabling more physically active travel

Under Possible Metrics are a number of suggestions as to how DafT might respond to this 'Challenge'

Increased levels of walking and cycling

Reduction in obesity levels (child & adult)

Increase in % of adults meeting recommended minimum physical exercise

So there you have it. All those fatties seen standing on trains due to a lack of seats (or waiting on platforms due to lack of trains) are actually helping Daft deliver "transport solutions that address non-transport challenges".

To read this, and further Daft existential clap-trap, click here


From our man at 222 Marylebone Road
If DafT reckons it can spend £1.4bn on 1100 vehicles to a specification no current design can meet...

...and with the first of these Technicolour Dream Trains (TDTs) reliable enough to dive into the Thameslink tunnels after only five months testing it could be in for a nasty shock.

Well tried Bombardier Electrostars off a live production line are costing £1.5million per vehicle. compared with DafT's estimate of £1.27 (recurring) million.

And that's before you allow for price inflation as the Chinese buy up all the steel, copper, aluminium and other raw materials they use at Litchurch Lane.

Is there a Doctor in the house

More mutterings about the PassengerFocus National Passenger Survey.

Regular readers will recollect that publication of the survey was delayed for two months to allow figures to be massaged and that when published National Express cried foul when it's East Coast franchise with spanked with other dire operators despite a claimed 4% improvement in NEEC passenger satisfaction.

The saga gets murkier still.

The Fact Compiler has received the following note from a TOC source:

"NPS is somewhat flawed as they hang-around stations giving out surveys indiscriminately to people - a certain percentage of whom actually work for TOCs.

"The easiest way to get your score up is to find a survey team, flood the station with people in suits from HQ and pretend to work for the NHS!!"

The Fact Compiler awaits the PassengerFocus press release celebrating the record numbers of NHS staff travelling to York with interest.

Derby lightweight

With an incredibly tight timetable for introduction of the new Thameslink fleet the smart money must be on Bombardier.

The first units are due for testing in Autumn of 2011.

The company already has dual voltage electric trains operating on the Southern and the work done on developing a lightweight Turbostar for London Midland and Loo-Roll could presumably read-across to their Electrostar production lines.

Sources close to Litchurch Lane also indicate that capacity at Derby would not be a problem (despite the company talking up full order books).

Siemens may be in with a chance with the lard-butt Desiros but the Fact Compiler hears disturbing rumours that the company is quoting silly prices for desperately needed Trans-Pennine infill vehicles. Which may explain why no orders have yet been placed.

Alstom looks like also-rans as they haven't yet got a design.

Of course it would be dangerous for Bombardier to get too complacent as the inclusion of Hitachi in the pre-qualification list will require some serious sharpening of Derby pencils.

I know, but ask him to tell me

It is an established fact that the Department for Transport does not micro-manage the railway.

As is well known DafT would rather set broad policy but expects franchises to take day-to-day responsibility for their businesses.

Without interference from Whitehall - of course.

But what's this?

David Laws, LibDem MP for Yeovil has become much agitated over SWT plans to reduce staffing at Crewkerne and Yeovil Junction stations, particularly their potential effect on disabled access

Laws met Rail Minister Tom Harris yesterday

"The Minister told me that he understood these concerns, and encouraged anyone who shares them to write to Passenger Focus. If enough complaints are received, they will write to the Minister and he will be able to consider the case for vetoing the plans." he said.

What a Labyrinthine way to go about it. Write to Passenger Focus so that they can tell the Minister something he already knows? The Fact Compiler recommends writing direct to the Organ Grinder rather than the Monkeys.

Mind you, at least it would give PassengerFocus something to do whilst they ponder how long to delay publication of the next Passenger Satisfaction Survey.