Monday, 21 July 2008

Little piggies

The Tories have also put the boot into Network Rail following the publication of today's TSC report.

Theresa Villiers, the eminently forgettable Shadow Secretary of State for Transport said:

"This report confirms the points the Conservatives have been making for years - that Network Rail is not accountable to its customers.

Handing out fines of millions of pounds which the taxpayer picks up is pointless when the senior management at Network Rail can collect six figure bonuses in a year which saw them preside over the fiasco at Rugby, Liverpool Street and Glasgow."

Wise words indeed.

However, Coucher and co have no need to panic yet. Whilst everyone else is talking about reform to NR corporate governance DafT remains to be convinced.

And as long as NR continues the pretence of being a 'private company', whilst acting under Marsham Street direction, then next year's refill of the bonus trough is assured.

No respect for age

Announcement overheard on a FGW service to Paddington this afternoon:

"Just to remind people that there is a fully licenced buffet on the service this afternoon, Jamie is quite bored reading his Railway Magazine, so please go and see him".

The Fact Compiler is unsure whether Messrs Piggott and Milner have cause for celebration or not...

Can't count - won't count

ORR recently published the annual station usage figures for 2006/7.

The resulting media coverage made much of the fact that an alleged 84 million passengers use Waterloo Station each year, whilst just 17 lonely souls used Tyndrum Lower.

A Railway Eye reader travelled to Tyndrum Lower on Thursday 11th July.

He was one of five boarding the train. The conductor had picked up nine more passengers on his outward run, meaning that annual loadings for the station had almost been achieved in just two journeys on one day.

Plainly ORR's station usage figures are just plain wrong.

Delta Rail (formerly AEA Technology Rail) collates station usage for ORR. In their defence the data is drawn from 'Lennon' and excludes non-station specific tickets, so BritRail Passes, Rovers, and Staff Passes don't count.

Even so this must make a nonsense of claims that Tyndrum Lower "cost Scotrail £589 per passenger during 2006/7".

Is Tyndrum Lower the only station where usage figures are so magnificently under reported. Community Railways are advised to mount their own counts.

Long live the Queen

Whitehall and Network Rail heaved a collective sigh of relief when the Grim Reaper achieved what new Labour had failed to do by removing Gwyneth Dunwoody from the Chair of the Transport Select Committee.

Alas Louise Ellman who is the TSC's new Madam Chairman is already proving to be a member of the awkward squad.

Ellman was on the 'Today' programme this morning talking about the TSC's report into DafT's lacklustre publication 'Delivering a Sustainable Railway', which is supposed to give a 30 year vision for the railways.

Ellman's tip-top performance saw her lambast the Government for a lack of ambition in planning new high speed lines and Network Rail for "serious failures of management" over its disastrous Christmas blockades.

Bonuses for porky NR Directors were also criticised.

Download the TSC report here

St Gwyneth, Our Lady of Transport, must be smiling down from above.