Monday, 14 July 2008

Big boys toy

***Steve Norris, former London Mayoral candidate and Jarvis Executive Chairman is being touted as the new Chairman of Cross London Rail Links Limited. The Crossrail bill is due to receive Royal Assent on the 22 July***

Sorry - the hardest word

National Express loathes Open Access Operators and would do almost anything to stop Hull Trains and Grand Central services running on the East Coast Mainline.

Recent tactics include retail staff at Kings Cross (employed by National Express) telling passengers that the operator of a rival service had gone bust (not so) and changing the validity of previously open First Class tickets so that they can only be used on National Express East Coast (NEEC) services.

However, NEEC's arrogance may well be its downfall if recent events are anything to go by.

On Sunday Network Rail closed the East Coast Mainline between Stevenage and Peterborough for planned engineering works.

Whilst the two open access operators on the route continued to serve London (via Cambridge) National Express couldn't be arsed, preferring to use generous Network Rail compensation payments to buy in rail replacement services from its own bus and coach divisions.

Alas the bus operation turned into a complete shambles, leaving hundreds of passengers milling around stations as NEEC platform staff went to ground.

With the plan unraveling canny train-crew on Anglo-Scottish shuttles told passengers that Open Access services to London would be a better bet.

As many of these passengers had been sold NEEC-only tickets there were near riots at York and Doncaster as National Express customers tried to clamber aboard the already full trains of other operators.

With no platform staff in evidence and the situation fast deteriorating the Boys in Blue were finally called; after of course significant delay minutes had been recorded by both Open Access operators.

NEEC has yet to apologise.

Ecce homo

The Fact Compiler has been supplied with these two remarkable images.

One shows someone surrounded by a diminishing band of supporters, about to be cruelly betrayed and ultimately sacrificed with the connivance of a capricious and deeply unpopular foreign overlord.

The other shows the Son of God.

One less Nobby at SWT

A metaphorical bouquet goes to SWT following the retirement after forty three years of ‘Nobby’ (Alan Haynes) - an Area Route Controller based at Waterloo.

The company allowed a special train to be organised in secrecy to take him from Waterloo to Brockenhurst on a surprise jolly.

Nice to see a company that appreciates its staff.

ECML paths

***CORRECTION: Sources indicate that Network Rail has determined that there are no additional paths available on the East Coast Mainline for the December 2008 timetable.***

Further details, at the usual address, would be appreciated...


The Fact Compiler has received an agitated email from a gentleman endeavouring to reduce endemic overcrowding on the bus and railway network.

He writes: "I am very concerned about the ridiculously high levels of gross-overcrowding on public transport, caused by train, tube and bus operators pulling buses, tubes and trains out of service willy-nilly, without first putting decent acceptable alternative travel arrangements in place. I believe that this constitutes a grave health and safety matter; and more shockingly, there seems to be absolutely no legislation that addresses this serious problem.

The petition can be found at

The Fact Compiler is happy to alert his readers to the above but fears that the deepening recession may make overcrowding concerns somewhat academic...

Minister manages ECML

Parliamentary Written Answer given on 10th July

"Tom Harris (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport; Glasgow South, Labour) | Hansard source

Officials in the Department for Transport meet Network Rail every four weeks to discuss rail performance and this meeting is normally chaired at ministerial level. As a key intercity route, all aspects of performance on the route are discussed."

So no Micro-management there then.