Friday, 26 September 2008

Snapper snaps

Unusually, serving Rail Minister, Tom Harris, elected to discuss transport on his now infamous blog.

What caused Tom to bend his own unwritten rule was the ruminations of a mad Vulcan to which he felt compelled to respond.

The posting proved an immediate hit with readers commenting in droves with thoughts of their own.

Needless to say both Captain Deltic and The Fact Compiler shoved their ha'p'orth in, to greater or lesser effect.

So excited became the debate over whether additional trains or new track would increase capacity (the answer is of course both) that Paul Bigland, the industry's very own 'Pictographer Royal', felt compelled to post.

The brave Snapper even signed off with:

"Of course, further electrification would allow greater fleet utilisation too..."

Of course extending the Pendolino network would also allow Snapper to recharge camera batteries on even longer distance assignments!

Some you lose

Telegrammed by Eboracum (50A)
The RAIB report into the collision of a train with a demolished footbridge at Barrow upon Soar was published today.

Section 9 of the report is reproduced below

"The causal factor was that the lorry driver forgot to fully lower the body of the lorry
because he was distracted from his normal routine by having to unlock the cab passenger
door to allow access for the COSS."

The COSS is of course the Controller of Site Safety – or perhaps not!


Telegrammed by Eboracum (50A)
Despite NEG’s promise that GNER’s high customer service standards would be maintained on the ECML this seems not to be the case.

Yesterday late afternoon 3 out of four sets of the automatic doors into York station had failed and were locked OOU.

Perhaps passenger numbers would be a little higher if they could actually get into the station in the first place!

Cash in hand

It would appear that The Fact Compiler is not alone in being irked by fatuous railway announcements.

A Railway Eye regular has been in contact to bemoan the decline in the quality of announcements at Derby station.

"Only last week" he moans "my ear drums were assaulted by the following phrase:

'The xxxx train will be delayed here for half an hour awaiting an essential member of staff.'

"Of course he's bloody essential, with stiff penalties for late running most TOCs barely wait for passengers let alone non-essential members of staff.

So if they mean "driver" or "guard" why not just say so?

Quite right Mr Westmount, but of course the essential member of staff may not be traincrew!

In these financially straitened times, with rising fuel costs, shares collapsing and banks failing it may be that Network Rail is only allowing trains to depart if the TOC Finance Director turns up with cheque book in hand.

A state of affairs not unknown to some of those in the charter train community.

Winging it

Announcement on a Virgin service from Liverpool:

"We are now making our final approach into Euston".

Congratulations to Beardie Rail for discovering how to stack trains

Getting DafTer

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road

All four shortlisted bidders for the new Thameslink train fleet are expected to submit fully funded finance packages.

At an optimistic £1.5 million per vehicle that means ringing commitments totalling £6.6bn.

In these turbulent financial times that much finance simply doesn't exist.

Particularly when the customer is calling for price cuts on leases it was happy to sign less than a year ago.

So DafT has asked each bidder to come up with funding for a quarter of its fleet on the basis that the commitments from the three unsuccessful bidders can be transferred to the winner's financial pot.

Railway Eye finds it hard to believe too, but we are assured it is true by a harassed looking man in red braces down to his last Porsche.

Railway Gardens #13

The Fact Compiler is indebted to Al from Whittlesford Parkway for this entry to the Railway Garden Competition.

Al writes:

"It's nice to see the positive benefits of not having retention tanks on the West Anglia line.

"I was admiring this display when a train pulled in, and lo and behold, the most verdant parts of the track appears to be immediately below where the discharge pipe drips down when the train is at a stand.


Indeed it is lovely Al - and thank you for this splendid entry to the Railway Garden Competition.