Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Busted flush

After Metronet went bust it couldn't be long before the wheels fell off Tube Lines as well.

Today they have - see BBC piece here.

One piece of good news.

Metronet overspent by £2bn, Tube Lines by a mere £1.4bn

And the name of the two dullards behind the disastrous PPP scam?

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Lady Shriti Vadera. Hang your heads in shame!

Diamond ring

An amusing story in the "Grumpy Old Man" section of the latest issue of Today's Railways.

The 9th August edition of 'Branch Line News', the The Branch Line Society newsletter, erroneously reported that the editor of Railways Illustrated was "Dumbo".

For the avoidance of doubt Mr Pip Dunn is the one who can't fly.

Shropshire ghosts

The Fact Compiler received an email yesterday from Keith Barrow, Associate Editor of the IRJ.

Keith wrote to point out the following story on the Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser website:

A49 closed after lightning strikes rail crossing
10:40am Monday 8th September 2008

THE A49 near Ludlow has been closed after a level crossing was struck by lightning. The road near Onibury has been closed in both directions between the A4113 and the B4368.

The Highways Agency confirmed that signals at the crossing had been damaged and that Railtrack is carrying out repairs.

Good to see that the Highways Agency can correctly name the other government agency (sorry private company) that it has multiple safety interfaces with.

Railway Garden Competition #9

The inhabitants of God's own county are renowned for being careful with the pennies.

Notwithstanding this Sheffield station staff have managed to put on a splendid display without incurring the costs of the usual hanging baskets.

The Fact Compiler is particularly impressed with this ensemble - complementing as it does the station which was recently refurbished at vast expense.

Saint Augustine refers

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
To judge by the following passage from NR’s response to the ORR draft determination, the Director's bonuses are working as advertised.

'Network Rail has always recognised that an element of judgement is required in reaching a view on these matters and that our targets should be reasonably challenging’.

Perhaps they should have added “but not so demanding that we risk losing our incentive payments”.

As St Augustine said 'Lord make me chaste but not yet.'

100% safe

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Safety - what inconveniences are imposed in your name!

Only 13 lines into the Executive Summary of Network Rail's 400 page demand for more money with thinly veiled threats the dread phrase 'Safety remains our over-riding priority' appears.

If this were really the case Network Rail would prevent trains from running past high output machinery on adjacent lines while work was in progress, thus causing massive inconvenience to passengers and inflating costs of mega projects like the West Coast Route Modernisation.

Thank goodness that Iain Coucher and his board know that safety and economy have to be balanced and that a risk-free railway has infinite reliability and zero maintenance costs.

Because nothing moves.