Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Spot the difference

There was much media interest at Darlington this weekend for the first steaming of the splendid new Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific locomotive 60163 "Tornado" (pictured below).

As the newest vehicle on the railway network The Fact Compiler thought it might be instructive to compare the 60 year old A1 Peppercorns with the the brand new IEPs.

Readers are therefore invited to guess which of the following statements apply to Tornado and which to the Frankenstein train

1. The vehicle's design assumed that carbon based fuel was cheap and plentiful.

2. It avoids the need for further electrification

3. These vehicles were originally to have a 30 year life. This soon became only 20 years.

4. Not many suppliers were willing to work on this design - which added dramatically to cost

5. Just one vehicle of this type will set you back £3m

6. It's jolly slow compared to its European equivalents

Tie breaker

I believe the Department for Transport is qualified to specify a new InterCity train for Britain because

A. I am Ruth Kelly

B. I am Mark Lambirth

C. I am bonkers

The winner of this competition will receive two first class tickets on the first revenue earning service of the IEP (as currently specified) or a guided tour round the Strategic Reserve as a guest of Sir Ernest Marples.


As ever, it is a case of who you know, not what you know.

There have been a growing number of complaints about ride quality on South West Trains 458 (Juniper) units that ply the Waterloo - Reading route

As part of a planned programme of modifications vehicle 8017 has just been fitted with new springs, anti-roll bars and dampers to improve the ride.

Similar modifications are to be rolled out across the fleet.

But what is this?

Priority is to be given to modifying those vehicles with First Class seating.

Could this be connected with the deluge of emails and videos about ride quality that have landed on the desk of SWT MD Stewart Palmer, from a "powerful senior figure in London Underground"?

The Fact Compiler understands that there is no truth to the rumour that SWT staff have been instructed to collate similar evidence of piss-poor track quality on LU's roller-coaster District line.

Rounding error?

Telegrammed by The Raver
Rewriting history is plainly becoming something of a habit for the denizens of rail privatisation.

Railway Eye readers may recollect Nigel Harris's recent confusion over the average age of rolling stock at privatisation

The latest purveyor of samizdat history is one Richard Bowker who, in a Sunday Telegraph puff-piece this weekend, claimed that 14,000 trains a day were running on the network in 1997 compared to approximately 20,000 today.

The true figure for the number of trains operating on the network in '97 is much closer to 18,500.

In the scheme of things not overly important, but National Express shareholders may wish to scrutinise this year's annual report and accounts a little more closely - just in case.