Thursday, 18 September 2008

Old queen

Telegrammed by The Master
Passengers longing for an end to the disruption caused by Victoria line upgrade works didn't know whether to laugh or cry this afternoon.

PA announcements across the network relayed the dismal news that the "planned early closure" of the Vic had been cancelled yet again.

One can't help wondering if LU's in-house engineering contractor Metronet tuned the clock back to year zero when it was taken over by TfL earlier this year?

Without the pressure of time there seems scant desire to make use of hard won extended engineering hours.

Perhaps Tiling is to join Whiff-whaff as a 2012 Olympic event?

Ducking the issues

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
£15 million to boost nation's duckponds!!

Announcing a new strategic research programme, including £15 million of Government funding, Glasgow Tom said:

"This programme will help the industry achieve the challenging long term goals set out in the White Paper, such as doubling rail capacity and further reducing the carbon footprint of rail transport in a safe and cost-effective way.

According to Tom, before the first projects start in 2009, RSSB will work with DfT and the industry on ‘route-mapping’ - paving the way for an industry vision of what fulfilling the Rail Technical Strategy means, and how the new research programme can support it.

As the Rail Technical Strategy, published last year, lacked any sign of a strategy and implied that hydrogen produced from bionic duckweed would make electrification obsolete in 10-15 years we fear that Tom may have been "badly advised".

Railway Eye doubts there is anything in the document worth spending 15 quid on, let alone £15m.

Robbing Peter...

It's difficult to know whether TfL or the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will run out of money first.

On current form it looks neck and neck.

TfL announced this week that it has descoped the proposed four tracking of the North London Line between Caledonian Road and Camden to a two track affair.

The grounds for this was the poor condition of a number of bridges along the route that would have required renewing.

By not four tracking throughout the project saves £40 million.

However, the removal of two platform faces at Camden will prevent the delivery of an 8 train-per-hour service throughout the day.

Which may disappoint the cash strapped ODA who are reported to have put £100m into the scheme to help move people to and from the Olympic site.

Poor BoJo. What looked like a £40m saving may soon turn into a very large bill from the ODA.

Keep it in the family

Network Rail strengthens Board with new appointments

The company's Board will soon be strengthened in preparation for CP4, with three new additions to the leadership team. Robin Gisby, director operations and customer services, Simon Kirby, director infrastructure investment, and Paul Plummer, director planning and regulation, will be promoted and become executive directors with effect from 1 October 2008.

Presumably NR will need to issue an OJEU for a bigger trough?


Don't you just love banks?

The Fact Compiler has received a communication from HSBC's very own Ministry of Truth.

It announces HSBC's new management team.

"Following a recent internal review, HSBC Rail is pleased to announce its new management team for the business. Mary Kenny has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, blah, blah, blah..."

But what's this?

Not a word about the HSBC Rail's former top man Peter Aldridge who was done over during the bank's very own night of the long knives.

Railway Eye has a longer memory.

Therefore as a service to the industry and to help the alzheimer suffering bankers of Hong Kong and Shanghai here is a picture of their former guv'nor.

HSBC may be the "World's local bank" but it's evidently still run by a bunch of wankers bankers.