Monday, 22 September 2008


There are dangers in believing that old canard about the 'earth moving' during passion.

As this South African couple quickly discovered.

Was it the Jubilee line extension that claimed it went faster, deeper, longer?

Aviation big bang

The Fact Compiler has received a communication from a concerned resident of Sheppey, which is soon to become a hole in the ground.

It would appear that before BoJo's brand spanking new Heathrow airport replacement can be built, a large volume of unexploded war time ordinance needs shifting.

The proposed airport is to be created on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary off the Isle of Sheppey, near the site of wrecked liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery.

The ship sank in 1944 carrying 1,500 tons of explosives.

"He's mad, we're doomed!" screamed my correspondent.

Sounds like it, which ever way you look at it.

Cry for help

The Fact Compiler had assumed that last night's ATOC/NR fringe event was subject to Chatham House rules and therefore suppressed the urge to blog - despite much temptation.

Fortunately Tom Harris, fearless of his party's feminist banshees, has posted his opening gambit on his own blog so it's now fair game!

"Since being appointed rail minister, I’ve “gone native”, as it were, and found myself doing something I would never have imagined doing before: buying railway magazines at W.H. Smith. But to avoid embarrassment, I also buy a copy of Playboy to put the rail magazine inside."

The Fact Compiler wonders why its only Rail magazine that he has to hide inside a porno mag?

As a modally agnostic minister does he therefore shroud Modern Railways in Aviation Today or mask Railway Magazine with Autocar?

Perhaps we should be told.

Meanwhile readers of Railway Eye are invited to assist Tom with alternative opening gags for industry events - contributions here.

£600m sticking plaster?

Telegrammed by Brochet
A wondrous new website, on the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station, has appeared on the interweb.

Regrettably it has been built using Flash so those with restrictive IT policies on Javascript will be unable to view it - to get frustrated click here

As a service to the industry The Fact Compiler has reproduced the home page image here.


But a hole is still a hole, even if you cover it with a pretty tent!

While the cat's away

Ruth Kelly - opportunity knocks!

The Prime Minister is attending the Labour party conference. He addresses the Conference on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he flies to New York where he will remain until Friday.

While the Old Man's away why not slip in something radical - how about announcing funding for electrification of both the MML and GWML ?

Chunnel damage

Kent On-line reports that the Chunnel blaze was more severe than that experienced in 1996.

Fire chiefs briefed Kent County Councillors and Medway Councillors behind closed doors

Photographs distributed at the meeting show the tunnel lining stripped back to the supporting steel structures.

Read the Kent On-line story here.

On a more positive note Eurostar says it will be running from St Pancras at 'nearly 100 per cent capacity' by the end of the week, but will continue to avoid the most badly damaged sections of the tunnel.

Railway Garden Competition #11

Even though we are now in the season of mellow fruitfulness the Railway Gardeners continue to ply their trade (or Network Rail fails to ply its - take your pick).

Here a discreet offering on the East Coast Mainline down slow.

Nice to see NR helping Welwyn Garden City live up to its name.

Holy Matrimony

This from Auto-Trader

Apologies for the off-topic post but it was just too good!

Pan up, breakers in

From our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Wednesday morning sees the brothers and sisters debate Transport at t'Conference.

Expect Saint Ruth of the Catenary, the Apostle of the Pantograph, to say something positive about electrification.

No doubt short of any financial commitment.

Stitched up like a kipper

Captain Deltic of Modern Railway's fame is renowned for the surgical skill with which he wields the stiletto.

Therefore The Fact Compiler was much looking forward to the latest Informed Sources ePreview which plopped into his inbox this morning.

With numerous hacks swanning around Manchester for the Labour Party conference this week perhaps one of them could tax the Secretary of State or one of her ministers on the following insight from the good Captain:

"Didn’t Rail Minister Tom Harris say that the mythical 1300 (new vehicles) didn’t include the 1100 Thameslink vehicles? Well they do now, leaving poor old Tom stitched up by his officials yet again."

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first...

Bonhoeffer Rail

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
A confused indifference pricing expert writes.

Lease rentals for the MOLA fleet were set (by DafT and its consultants/bankers/advisers/leasing experts) so that TOCs would be 'indifferent' financially as to whether they leased new stock or kept their MOLA fleet trains.

The laudable aim was to ensure that sparkling new trains were not priced out of the market by cheapo second hand trains.

As the CoCo provisional findings show, DafT has already 'up-buggered' (technical term - Ed) the leasing market so that new trains are now significantly more expensive than the MOLA fleet.

So now DafT wants to make MOLA fleet rentals even cheaper. Making new trains even more unaffordable.

Still it's one way of getting out of that commitment to 1300 additional vehicles that the previous Transport Secretary was so keen on.

Not that the ROSCOs are likely to be keen to fund them if they face the prospect of retrospective DafT demands for mid lease rental cuts.

How does it go?

First they came for the slam door stock, then they came for the MOLA fleet...

Holborn woodworm horror 2

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
More on ORR chair hunt.

We note that a chair is static and squeaks if you try to move it around.

Of course, if on castors it goes shooting off in the desired direction at the smallest nudge.

Both attributes are just what DafT is looking for.