Monday, 28 July 2008

Cost control

From today's Standard.

"It could cost £50 million to convert the mothballed Waterloo Eurostar station into a commuter terminal".


For the record it cost a mere £135m to build.
Read the Evening Standard article here

Simon Dean RIP

***Simon Dean, flamboyant former member of the team that delivered Royal Assent to Crossrail, has died.***

XC blockade

Telegrammed by our man in ICOBS
Arriva Cross Country has decided to dispense with the ludicrously named "Shops" aboard the former 'Virgin' Voyager fleet.

Arriva says "customer research" indicates that passengers would prefer an at seat trolley service.

The Fact Compiler suspects that the researchers may have faired better than the trolley service in getting through this train.

Railway Garden Competition #6

Leamington SpaWhat a splendid piece of partnership.

Notice how the flower baskets, paid for by local citizens, are beautifully framed by the thrusting NR buddleia which at the same time is busy undermining the masonry of the bridge abutments.

It's good to see Network Rail's complimentary approach to vegetation management.


Good news from Network Rail.

The following request has been circulated to members of the Best Practice Club

Budget Control, Network Rail
We are looking for ways to reduce the bureaucratic overhead of budget approval and control. We need to maintain the same level of control but with a ‘lead’ process. We are very interested to hear from companies who have remodelled their budget control processes.

The Fact Compiler suggests removing very expensive Directors from the approvals process, or indeed payroll, may achieve the desired results.

Do the math

Telegrammed from our man in 222 Marylebone Road
According to the press this weekend the Ministry of Defence has a £2bn hole in its budget.

This may lead the MoD to cancel or defer the improved Lynx helicopter so desperately needed by our gallant troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, in Modern Railways, Captain Deltic says the difference between the amount which Network Rail says it needs for the next five years and that which the ORR says it is going to get is now £2.58 billion.

So, a matter of life and death versus the high-life and bonuses.

Rugger buggered

Network Rail appear to have surpassed themselves again this morning with a spectacular engineering over-run at Rugby.

This, coupled with their little signalling faux pas at Doncaster the other week, means that things are not looking good for Coucher and his other well renumerated Directors.

A number of TOC voices are asking whether NR's porky 'top team' should volunteer to subsidise delay minutes from their gargantuan bonuses?

Railway Garden Competition #5

Primrose Hill tunnels on the WCML

Engineered in 1837 by Robert Stephenson and the first tunnels in London.

What marvellous custodians Network Rail are of our national heritage!

Careless talk costs...

PPPs are not exactly flavour of the month in London following the high profile collapse of Metronet .

Recent failures of TfL's Oyster Card ticketing system may see PFIs going the same way.

Twice in the last two weeks London Underground has had to open the 'gateline' owing to large numbers of valid Oyster cards being rejected by the system.

The expensive glitches have driven TfL to distraction, so in true "Partnership" style they have named and shamed the PFI contractors responsible for the system.

"We believe that (the latest) problem, resulted from incorrect data being sent out by our contractor, Transys," TfL said.

Voice of London and TfL mouth-piece Tony Travers was more forthright in the Guardian: "Transys just need to get a grip, sort it out and make sure that it doesn't happen again" he said.

However, TfL's continued insistence on publically shafting its contractors at every opportunity is likely to cost London dear. Private sector bids for Infracos BCV & SSL, the soon to be disaggregated former Metronet companies, will no doubt reflect the reputational risks of working for TfL.


It wouldn't have happened under the chairmanship of the laser eyed St Gwynneth of Crewe.

Throughout the recently published TSC report into the Sustainable Railways White Paper reference is made to something called the High Level Output Statement.

Any damn fool can make a statement! What the HLOS actually requires is Daft to "Specify" what it wants to buy.

Mea Culpa

Telegrammed from our man in 222 Marylebone Road
All the transport hacks were out in force last Wednesday at Ruth Kelly's much postponed 'get to know you' party.

As it is over a year since she was appointed Secretary of State (in June '07) many attended in error, believing it to be her leaving do.

With Rail Minister Tom Harris (unsuccessfully) pounding the Glasgow East pavements, Saint Ruth-of-Sparks had to get down and dirty with the trainspotting fraternity.

Congratulated on her rejection of the Lambirth Heresy (aka Railways White Paper) our very own "Apostle of the Pantograph" was heard to remark ruefully 'It was published three weeks after I arrived.'

Nothing like passing the buck downward, especially when your rail deputy is not present to defend himself.