Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Captain Deltic - looking for a way out! Shocker

Via the wonders of MMS this from Captain Deltic...

Help! shouts Captain D.

I'm trapped on the refurbished Platform 6 at Derby and someone has forgotten the Way Out signs.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Malins...

Here it is, but there's a pesky ticket barrier in the way!

All part of the Stagecoach plan to make travel difficult.

Lee stars in Return of the Dragon?

Good news for media in the South East!

Uber-PR, Jane Lee, is to return to the industry as Southern's PR supremo.

Eye hopes Ms Lee will forgive the use of her namesake's movie title...

UPDATE: Captain Deltic shares his favourite Jane Lee story.

A few years ago a car''s steering failed and it ran into Jane.

Surprisingly the car didn't come off worse and Jane was taken to hospital with a broken arm.

In casualty the doctor was about to cut away Jane's fashionable leather jacket to assess the damage.

'Cut this coat and you're a dead man' growled the patient. The jacket remained intact.

Welcome back!

RMT voices safety concerns

This from the RMT...

RAIL UNION RMT today launched a confidential email hotline for members amid growing concerns over planned maintenance cuts by Network Rail which have put over 2500 – nearly 20% of the total workforce – at risk.

Today, all RMT Network Rail maintenance members have been sent by text and email details of a confidential email address where they can feed through local details of the impact of the cuts the length and breadth of the UK.

Get ready for a Winter of Discontent.

UPDATE: This just in from Network Rail...

May I gently remind the RMT that there is already an independent safety body (CIRAS) that maintains a confidential hotline for anyone who has rail safety concerns:

They can be contacted online, by Freephone (0800 4 101 101), by text
(07507 285887 - standard text rates apply) or in writing at Freepost CIRAS.

Spot the Operator #5

This one with a bowler tip to Bushy...

Using your skill and judgment can you identify this well known musical Railway Operator?

And for a bonus point can you suggest what she is singing?

Answers please on a postcard to Northern Rail...

2009 Railway Garden Competition #XXVIII

This just in from a Mr Fergie-Lee...

Pictured is Malton, in the delightful district of Ryedale in North Yorkshire (of Calendar Girls fame); a station with just one platform face, a signalbox that looks like it was built by King John and a café that serves the best vegetarian quiche this side of Didsbury.

However, it is a shame that passengers to such a fine market town have to contemplate this screen of crappy vegetation whilst waiting for their train to York or Scarborough.

While the station buildings have been sensitively modernised, only the coming of Autumn will damp down the usual collection of weeds in the six foot, while the screen of scrubby silver birch trees just serves to show that if it isn't covered by a franchise commitment, nobody gives a monkey's.

What would Helen Mirren say?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Rodgers...

I suspect that Helen Mirren would have very little to say!

Yes, Malton is in Ryedale (District Council) but this is not the same place as where 'Calendar Girls' was set which was filmed in and around Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales, a mere 60+ miles away albeit in Yorkshire.

Mind you at least your contributor has also been caught without his clothes on (so to speak).

Balkanisation at Railnews

With the Noble Lord justifiably proud of his Greek antecedents is someone at Railnews labouring the point?


Lord Adonios also announced to the Labour conference a £14 million programme to create cycling hubs in ten major stations as part of the government's green transport policy.

Perhaps we should be toldios...

UPDATE: This from EastWestDivide...

But will the railway cycling hubs be Sturmey-Archer 3-speed?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Spot the Operator #4

And this one stretching the rule slightly.

Using your skill and judgment can you identify this well known Railway Operator who retired last week?

Answers please on a postcard to The Connect Project...

Spot the Operator #3

And yet one more for your consideration, this with an Underground theme.

Using your skill and judgment can you identify this well known lady Railway Operator?

Answers please on a postcard to the Metropolitan Railw... ooops, line.

Spot the Operator #2

And one more for your delectation and delight

Using your skill and judgment can you identify this well known Railway Operator?

Answers please on a postcard to Virgin Trains...

More please...

Spot the Operator #1

An exciting new competition from the Eye!

Using your skill and judgment can you identify this well known Railway Operator?

Answers please on a postcard to East Midlands Trains...

UPDATE: This from Shiny Shoes...

Great to see Shoveller shunting - mind you he was a guard at some point in his early career - so not afraid of getting his hands dirty.

But what's this?!

Undertaking probably one of the most risky jobs on the railway without correct PPE - where's your bump hat?

Surely a case of 'do as I say - not as I do'. East Mids shunters please take note (if such a thing still exists).

By the way the 'hanging gardens of Crewe' are slowly being removed.

Not on!

This from Police Oracle...

A British Transport Police officer investigating reports of suspected cable thieves near Langley Mill railway station, Derbyshire has been seriously assaulted by one of the suspects.

The incident occurred around 00:30 hours on Sunday, 27 September, after police reacted to a report of intruders lineside in the vicinity of Milnhay Road, some 300 yards south of Langley Mill station.

Anyone with information relating to this incident is urged to contact British Transport Police urgently on Freefone 0800 405040 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

Waterman apologises...

This from Pete's Blog...

Apologies to Model Rail

'Nuff said.

Musings on referendum promises...

Forgive me...

...but weren't we previously promised a referendum by this government?

Once bitten, twice shy.

More changes at London Midland - still doomed

As predicted by the Eye there have been further developments at beleaguered London Midland.

Yesterday LM errr... misplaced its Ops Director, Andy Thomas.

Steve Law has been drafted in as acting replacement.

Sources suggest that the axe hasn't stopped swinging yet...

UPDATE: This from 37422...

It gets worse.

Thanks to the train crew payments farce, Station Managers are now unable to buy any stores without finance director sign off.

Bring your own bog roll!

The RMT company council have advised LM that all station grade RMT members will be re-balloted for the Sunday payments.

Vacancies remain unfilled and stations remain closed as a consequence.

Happy days.

I give it until December before LM joins the WNXX pool.

Resco goes into Administration

***Farewell then to Resco - which appointed Administrators yesterday***

Conference news - Battle of the Fringe

Telegrammed by Party Animal
A busy evening in Brighton last night.

With at least three industry soirees taking place there was fierce competition to see who could attract the best speakers.

Whilst Bombardier and Network Rail had to make do with Lord Adonis one cheeky Open Access operator secured the PM for its Northern Night do!

Let's hope arch-blogger Guido Fawkes isn't correct in describing him as Jonah Brown...

UPDATE: This from NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...

Not just Adonis.

Network Rail also had Amir Khan who is, of course, the face of our No Messin' campaign.

Meanwhile might the term 'Jonah Brown'
be better applied to soi disant 'veteran observer' and Grand Central PR monkey Brennan-Brown?

NR exposes RAIL's secret HS2 plans- Shocker

This just in from Network Rail's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...

Our friends at RAIL magazine were less than complimentary about our plans for high-speed rail in the new lines study.

However, we at Network Rail can always accept constructive criticism.

So we were thrilled to learn that Peterborough's finest minds have actually come up with their own high-speed proposal.

This leaked map proves, as ever, the magazine has got right the detailed analysis that Britain's 21st century rail system needs.

UPDATE: This, surprisingly, from the late Kenneth Williams...

These concerted attacks on RAIL by the high speed line fantasists remind me of my favourite line from my role as Caesar in Carry on Cleo.

'Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me'.

Isn't it about time for Jim Steer to have a go at Nije 'n' Phil? Otherwise people might think that Greengauge is not a proper grown up pressure group.

Stop messin' about Jim.

UPDATE: This, unsurprisingly, from Nigel Harris...

How can the alleged HSR map from NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit (IRRU) possibly be taken seriously?

If it really WAS the product of ‘Peterborough’s finest’ then, as any fule kno, it would go via Rose Grove and Copy Pit...

Perhaps all those pre-holiday fillings have addled the IRRU's brain?

UPDATE: This from a Mr D Lane, who appears to dabble in such things...

I would label this as the "Big W" or 'Woolworths' Plan.

'Nuff said, I think!

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

Surely Nigel's preferred route would run from Peterborough to Leicester, thence direct to Manchester London Road...

UPDATE: This just in from Phil Haigh...

Since my gaffer's stuck his oar into this one, I might as well offer a view too...

With my frequent journeys between London, Peterborough, York and Newcastle, the East Coast Main Line will do me quite well enough.

All it needs is 140mph trains.

But wait, didn't BR introduce these in the 1990s...?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Wolmar in bribery shocker!

This just in from Christian Wolmar...

Next Monday (5th October) I am doing a literary dinner at Foyles in St Pancras - meal , lots of Wolmar babble and then book signing.

Do you think you could give it some deeply sarcastic plug on your site making sure you include details below?

Tickets are £35 and details are available from Helen Cook (Tel: 0207 923 5454).

Drink will be poured down your gullet next time I see you...

Certainly not - The Fact Compiler cannot be bought but make it a large one and I'll see what Eye can do.

PM bounces back from depression slur

Good news for Labour Party members in Brighton!

This from Railnews...

Prime Minister 'excited' by high speed rail and a new Age of the Train

And, Andrew Marr please note, not a happy pill in sight!

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Don't be so sure - with the numbers involved (£35bn) it's probably electric shock therapy.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Imperial Wharf opening falls flat

Telegrammed by The Master
A bowler tip to London Connections for reminding Eye that the new Imperial Wharf station was due to open today.


The first train to call at the new (and much delayed) station this morning... was cancelled:

Headcode: 2M18 UID: W43986 27/09/2009 0815 Clapham Junction [CLJ] to Watford Junction [WFJ]

Location FD Sch. Sch. Expected Expected PL Lateness DR
Arr. Dep. Arrival Departure
Clapham Junction [CLJ] 0815 Cancelled 2
LTCHMRJ Pass 0817 Pass -
Imperial Wharf [IMW] 0819 0819 Cancelled Cancelled
West Brompton [WBP] 0822 0822 Cancelled Cancelled 4
Kensington Olympia [KPA] 0826 0825 2 -1
Shepherds Bush [SPB] 0828 0827 2 -1
NPLE813 Pass 0832 Pass -
MTRBDGJ Pass 0835 Pass -
Willesden Junction [WIJ] Pass 0841 Pass -
WLSDNNJ Pass 0842 Pass -
Wembley Central [WMB] Pass 0844 Pass -
Harrow & Wealdstone [HRW] 0848 0848 Cancelled Cancelled
Watford Junction [WFJ] 0858 Cancelled 10

One just hopes members of the Fourth Estate were still aslumber...

Birthday Greetings

***Eye wishes NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit a happy birthday.***

London Midland goes from bad to worse?

This intriguing snippet from 37422...

Keep an eye on London Midland this week. Expect some interesting announcements.

What on earth could this mean?

Surely not more service cuts on top of those already revealed by the Express and Star?

Yoghurt Rail curdles?

A bowler tip to Sim Harris and King Henry for this...

An exciting weekend for Yoghurt Rail watchers.

This press release emerged from Grand Central yesterday:

Grand Central statement on Alliance Rail Holdings Limited

On Thursday 24 September 2009 Alliance Rail Holdings Limited (Alliance Rail) issued a press release containing details of a submission to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) of plans for new "Open Access" services on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) by the Great North Eastern Railway Company (GNER) and also plans by the Great North Western Railway Company (GNWR) for new high speed services on the West Coast Main Line (WMCL).

The board of directors of Grand Central Railway Company Limited (Grand Central) wish to clarify that:

1. Ian Yeowart, director of Alliance Rail, was dismissed from his position as an employee and director of Grand Central on 27 May 2009. His dismissal is currently the subject of proceedings in the Employment Tribunal.

2. Certain of the routes identified by Mr Yeowart in connection with Alliance Rail's proposed new Open Access plans include routes in which the Grand Central group has registered an interest with the ORR and on which Mr Yeowart worked in the course of his duties with Grand Central.

3. The board of Grand Central considers that Mr Yeowart remains bound by certain post-employment obligations owed to the company by virtue of his former employment. Mr Yeowart also remains subject to obligations imposed upon him pursuant to the terms of the agreement relating to his investment in Sula TOC Limited ("Sula TOC"), Grand Central's holding company (which obligations will continue to apply for a period of twelve months after he ceases to be a shareholder of Sula TOC). Grand Central is concerned that, by reason of his recent actions, Mr Yeowart may be in breach of certain of these obligations, and is undertaking further investigations in this regard.

4. Mr Yeowart is currently a shareholder in Sula TOC. His dismissal by Grand Central, however, entitles Sula TOC's board of directors under the terms of the articles of association of that company to require Mr Yeowart to sell his shareholding in Sula TOC. The steps required to effect such a transfer of his shares are currently in process.

5. Grand Central is currently considering its legal position regarding Alliance Rail's proposed new open access services and particularly Mr Yeowart's involvement therein.

Meanwhile, King Henry advises that "if you google Mr Y's personal company 'OA Consultants' (which apparently stands for Open Access) you find 'Orecchia and Artieri Consultants', tax planners in Monaco."

Has Yoghurt Rail gone offshore already?

UPDATE: This from Charles Yerkes...

Old news!

This press release was on both the WNXX Forum and UK.railway yesterday!

Has The Fact Compiler been asleep?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Lookalike - Rise of the machines

Last week saw the launch of Wolmar's new tome Blood, Iron and Gold.

As the Noble Lord himself was guest of honour the event was packed full of transport luvvies (Peter Hendy, Tony Travers, David Begg, Ken Livingstone, Bernard Gambrill, Jeremy Candfield, Gordon Pettit, etc...).

Invited to say a few words Adonis took the floor; bemoaning the demise of British Rail as "an act of wanton destruction" he swiftly moved on to review Wolmar's book and over the next 15 minutes, in a tour de force of impromptu oratory, he regurgitated whole chunks from memory.

Adonis is not a man - he's a machine!

And with rumours that the Tories will appoint him as Chairman of HS2 after the election Eye brings you its latest Lookalike!

Eye can already imagine Adonis' first words to Prime Minister Cameron: "Your clothes... give them to me, now!".

UPDATE: This from AlanG...

Any mention by Wolmar of bidets?

Thankfully no!

UPDATE: This from our man at 222 Marylebone Road...

It looks as though the Noble Lord's cover has slipped.

All that work by the Railway Liberation Front to get a high level mole into DfT could be put in jeopardy by a little slip.

Let's hope Gordo doesn't read Eye!!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Freightline® Gobshitte®y

This C®ap from Freightline®, presumably at the behest of GE®.

Eye® is delighted to say that NR® in its response refused to play this g@me.

What a lot of a®se!

LibDem conference news

Telegrammed by Party Animal
Regular Eye readers will be aware already of the LibDem's decision to endorse 30 year franchises.

A slick piece of lobbying by new ATOC PR supremo Ed Welsh.

Ed's background is in local government, so presumably he had Baker and the rest of the 'gas and water' muesli munchers eating out of his hand.

Whilst ATOC congratulated itself on a spirited performance in Bournemouth the award for the biggest PR coup goes to Alstom!

The French train manufacturer sponsored the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group fringe event on Sunday night.

So delighted was Chairman Paul Rowen MP, that he made a passionate speech thanking Alstom, "the UK's last train manufacturer, based in Derby".

Brighton next week - see you there.

HS2 - Is Rowlands in control?

Telegrammed by Sir Humphrey Beeching
Have we another Mottram Moment in the making?

A furious email has been issued by HS2 containing a statement from Sir David Rowlands...

HS2's response to RAIL Magazine

“The insinuation that Scotland would not be included in our proposals for a high-speed rail network is frankly ludicrous. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are on our list of primary destinations and will definitely feature in all of our proposed network options.

“In fact, on the day RAIL Magazine published its factually inaccurate article, I was in Scotland meeting with the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson to discuss, among other things, the work Scotland is doing to ensure a future high-speed link is integrated with its transport planning strategies."

Well that clears that up then.

Or does it?

Perhaps Sir David would be better directing his ire closer to home.

After all, RAIL was merely reporting non-attributable briefings given to several trade titles by Rowlands' own staff...

UPDATE: This just in from RAIL's Managing Editor. Nigel Harris...

RE The Scottish Question

Eye watchers will be interested to know that I am already in correspondence with my good friend Sir David's office regarding RAIL's HS2 report, in the last issue, by Business Editor Phil Haigh.

RAIL stands 100% behind Phil's entirely accurate, objective, prompt, thoroughly professional news story and I shall be inviting Sir David to withdraw his allegation of inaccuracy forthwith.

I'll be dealing with this in the next RAIL - including, maybe, further revelations from Phil's carefully noted, on-the-record briefing, which contained the controversial 'not for Scotland' opinions.

Wild horses wouldn't drag the name of the highly-placed source from our lips, but if HS2 thinks the Scottish comments were embarrassing, then other remarks lying (currently) unpublished in the detailed transcript I asked Phil to produce, from his contemporaneous notes, may indeed prompt the 'Mottram Moment' you so wittily allude to.

Bottom line: Phil's story is 100% accurate. Fact.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Saltaire...

Tut, you wait years for a Scotland scandal, and then two turn up at once!

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic ( in serious mode for once)...

Several of us in the railway press have had the same story, with the same quotes from HS2L sources.

I didn't follow Phil into print for the simple reason that I have decided to write about HS rail only when there is something in print with hard numbers to crunch - such as the NR report.

Informed Sources has run for over a quarter of a century because the eponymous sources know I will never let them down.

But trust is bi-directional and I work on the basis that anyone is allowed to mislead me once.

Had I followed Phil with an item and then had a denial sent not to me or my editor in the first instance but to all the railway press I would wonder whether it represented a breach of trust.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The art of signwriting explained

WSMR Anschlussed

More exciting Open Access news.

Following today's announcement from Yoghurt Rail comes news of developments at WSMR.

This from Modern Railways...

Rail firm Wrexham & Shropshire announced (today) that direct services between Wrexham, Shropshire and London will, from the New Year, be operated by Chiltern Railways, a company owned by WSMR's largest shareholder, German state rail operator DB.

So where does all this leave former WSMR shareholder Renaissance Trains?

Perhaps Hull will be seeing a lot more of the Landlord?

UPDATE: This from the Major...

Do keep up FC old bean.

I'm sure those chappies at RAIL ran this story last weekend (unless of course your copy's stuck in Mount Pleasant sorting office...).

It did indeed reach me. But the Modern Railway's story had quotes and stuff. Even one from Herr von Shooter!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Scott...

Perhaps Renaissance Trains haven't noticed what has been happening with WSMR as they are completely snowed under preparing for the launch of Glasgow Trains.

Which according to their website
is due to take place in er... 2009?

Genius behind the PPP to leave the Government?

Sky News reporting that Business Minister Lady Vadera is expected to leave Government.

The railway industry will remember her fondly for the masterful way she broke the Underground.

Gordon next?

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

Nor should we forget that Lady Vadera was also instrumental in breaking Railtrack thus making her responsible for the 2004 Periodic Review which saw annual railway subsidy soar to £100 million per head of population!

UPDATE: This from Lazarus...

According to Leo "the 2004 Periodic Review which saw annual railway subsidy soar to £100 million per head of population!"

No wonder there's an exclamation mark, that's a total of £6,000,000,000,000,000 per year, or roughly 1500 times the UK GDP. Wow!

UPDATE:This from Leo Pink...

My apologies.

I was calculating the size of my bonus when I broke off to telegram Railway Eye with my thoughts on Lady V.

As a result I was thinking in millions.

The sum should of course be £100 per head..

Yoghurt Rail returns

Exciting Open Access news!

Two new open access operations have been proposed for the East and West Coast Main Lines.

Branded GNER (haven't we heard that somewhere before? Ed) and GNWR they are the brainchild of Ian Yeowart, late of Grand Central fame.

The new Yoghurt Rail services will call at virtually every station in the country using Chinese built trains.

Yoghurt Rail's proposals have already been welcomed by Passenger Focus:

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: “Open access operators have brought to the network competition, lower prices, and quality services. Our latest National Passenger Survey revealed that passengers are very satisfied with the services they receive from Grand Central and Wrexham & Shropshire Railway."

Expect DafT to be a little more sanguine however...

UPDATE: This from King Henry...

Does Mr Yeowart know what happens if you visit ?

UPDATE: This from the man in the Pendo....

Is there some competition with Virgin to spell station names wrongly?

Virgin's Wifi intro is still misspelling Manchester Piccadilly and Llandudno Junction.

However for Yog(h)urt rail it's the residents of Alderley Edge and Hebden Bridge who will be irked.

Still I don't suppose they will ever need to spell them correctly on a destination board.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

An invitation from the Labour Transport Group

The Fact Compiler has received the following from the Labour Transport Group:

LTG Member, supporter, friend, colleague

At Labour Conference 2009 The Labour Transport Group are launching Labour's Transport Policy for the Future - 60 Words Campaign

Why not tell us in no more than 60 words what Labour's Transport Policy for the Future should be?

The suggestions will be posted on our website, will be debated at future LTG meetings and form the basis of our future campaigning.

Contributions already received are shown at

Why not join the debate and comment on the policy ideas, or write your own - simply comment on the website or email it to the admin team

Please include your name and CLP (if Labour Party Member).

Please forward this email.

Play nicely...

UPDATE: This from our International Correspondent...

"Under a Labour government the railways will be publicly owned"

"There is a commitment that there will be a publicly owned, publicly accountable railways under a Labour government"

Alastair Campbell, 16 January 1995

Seems clear enough.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Iliff...

"Consult widely, formulate a range of options, assess them against relevant criteria... then throw them away because Gordon knows best." (20 words)

Anything else would be out of character.

Is Shooter wrong?

This from Getreading...

Fuming university lecturer Kerry Renshaw has launched a petition calling for First Great Western to abolish first class tickets on journeys to London.


As at 10:15 the petition has a mere 14 signatures!

Perhaps time for the Chilteenies to mount their own campaign to restore first class...

Leed to Manchester to be electrified!

Or possibly not.

The Yorkshire Post has the amusing tale.

Who would have guessed that Iain Coucher was brought up in Leeds...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Pharisee news

The Pope has clarified his position after it was revealed he had broken the rules on celibacy.

Citing the Crown .v. Scotland he said:

"I fully accept the findings of the Conclave that I made a technical breach of the rules. I apologise for having made this inadvertent error."

The Holy Father continued: "Of course this in not a resigning affair, despite the fact I personally promoted this particular piece of Canon law."

Dear God - How much longer must we put up with this dishonest and disreputable bunch?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Compare and contrast: £5k versus £120k

Comment would be superfluous.

UPDATE: This from John B...

Don't quite understand Steve Strong's point here.

Scotland employed 1 illegal worker; Coleman employed 12. Both of them did so unknowingly.

£10k is the maximum penalty for that; you get £2.5k off for a first offence (including multiple 'first offences' at the same time) and £2.5k off for admitting fault.

So if Coleman admits fault, he'll be fined £5k per worker like Scotland. If he doesn't, then he'll either be fined nothing or £7.5k per worker, depending on whether he can convince them he's got a defence.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Saltaire...

Am I missing the point, or is everybody else?

As I understand it, the Noble Lady (?!???!?!) was fined because she failed to keep copies of documentation, and was therefore unable to prove that she had seen and checked that documentation.

The point is, had she been able to produce copies of the said documentation, would that not have simply proved that she knew the worker was illegal, since that is apparently what she was?

We all know that the reason the opposition is not making hay on this matter, is probably because half of them are also treading on thin ice themselves in this regard.

R.I.P. honest politics!

UPDATE: This from the Velopodist...

Mr Iliffe is indeed missing the point, as are many others.

Had Lady Scotland photocopied the documents, it seems it would have proved that she was shown fairly convincing fakes.

Reading between the lines of statements issued by those investigating these things, there is an investigation going on into how said fakes got produced and collars will soon be felt.

People are getting upset about it because they want to kick the government and because she's Attorney General - except for the Daily Mail, who just can't stand any prominent left-leaning woman.

The Fact Compiler is getting upset because he is utterly scrupulous in all his dealings with officialdom and could never be reproached for even the slightest technical breach of any rule. It's one of his best-known characteristics.

The Fact Compiler is uncertain whether the Velopodist is extracting the urine?

Flying Scotsman update

Exciting news for lovers of iconic loco 4472.

As many Eye readers will know Flying Scotsman is being extensively rebuilt by the NRM.

As work continues on the locomotive there is a clamour from kettle enthusiasts, keen to see a model of 4472 in an as-is condition.

Word reaches Eye that an enterprising manufacturer has now filled this gap and according to a Mr Roden, the new product is being secretly test marketed in Launceston!

Beautiful and every dimension to the correct scale.

Success for ATOC's new media team

Absolute fury amongst the organisers and sponsors of last week's National Rail Awards, at which John Humphrys was guest speaker.

Someone or somebody broke the railway Omertà!

Which led to the following Evening Standard headline the very next day:

Mastermind? It’s just money for old rope, says John Humphrys

The piece then listed a litany of alleged faux pas from Humphrys' witty peroration.

Who could have been so naive as to have done such a thing?

Obviously someone new to the game.

No matter!

No point in crying over spilt milk.

Clearly when you sup with the Devil you should use a very long spoon... etc...

Meanwhile, perhaps best if ATOC don't invite Lydall again next year!

Mediaballs - Salisbury Journal

This shabby headline from the lame Salisbury Journal:

Train crash near Salisbury


The rest of the story continues:

The black Fiat Bravo was travelling south when it appears to have gone out of control and hit a garden wall on the right-hand side of the road.

The car was thrown back across the carriageway, mounted the kerb and went over the embankment onto the track, where it was hit by the 5.15am express to London Waterloo.

So that would be a 'Car Crash' then?

NR to provide Zil Lines for Olympics?

Good to see that the promise of an Olympics open to all doesn't extend to the good burghers of Nottingham.

This from the Nottingham Evening Post...

Rail chiefs claim they haven't yet decided when the station will close, but Coun Richard Jackson says Network Rail told him the work would be during the London Olympics.

So its 'Zil Lanes' for athletes and 'Zil Lines' for NR engineers.

LibDem's support 30 year franchises

This from Transport Briefing...

Conference supported shadow transport secretary Norman Baker's calls for 30 year rail franchises with five year rolling reviews that would force train operating companies to invest profits in reopening lines and stations.

With both Adonis and the Tories now in favour of longer franchises can we see an end to Dr Death's 'reign of timidity'?

Germans unveil low cost head end power unit

With a bowler tip to Turbostar...


2009 Railway Garden Competition - Balkan Chapter

This from Ben Jones of Model Rail magazine (which he assures Eye is piling on readers)...

Passing through Serbia on my way to Istanbul last week, I was extremely impressed by the countries efforts to win a Gold Medal in the European railway garden competition.

Belgrade’s main station is a particularly fine example of urban greenery, putting Network Rail’s efforts into perspective and setting them a challenging target for next year.

But, for sheer invention, the pile of scrap dumped alongside the new platforms at Athens Larissa station takes some beating. No prizes for spotting the ‘wild card’ item among the usual detritus.

Inspired by such sterling work from our European cousins, expect a raft of articles on how to grass over your Hornby track in Model Rail soon!

Pointless signs #14

This from a Mr MB...

I humbly offer an entry for the 'Pointless Signs' competition, spotted recently at Warrington Bank Quay.

One wonders if this is a statement of Virgin's policy regarding the employment of trans-gender staff...

UPDATE: This from Lazarus...

Not only a pointless sign but also a pointless comma which renders the message grammatically meaningless.

No need for a comma at all, or, if Virgin really want commas, put another one after "facilities".

UPDATE: This from Sir William Pollitt...

So few words, so many errors... the second comma from the sub-clause is absent (it should be after 'facilities') also the random and unnecessary capital letters ('male' and 'female' are NOT proper nouns) and the inaccurate running together of two words 'may and 'be' which, of course, should be separate.

Of course, a normal person would also have said 'person' rather than 'operative' and 'toilets' rather than 'facilities' - but as whoever commissioned this sign is clearly (deleted for reasons of taste. ED), we are not surprised.

Is there a new RE competition here, for the most illiterate railway sign? This horror takes some beating.

Andrew Scott to be Acting Director of NMSI

Internal Announcement

Andrew Scott to be Acting Director of NMSI

I have today on behalf of the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Andrew Scott as Acting Director following the dismissal of Molly Jackson.

Ms Jackson was dismissed following questions that were raised about whether she had followed the NMSI’s Code of Conduct on potential conflicts of interest in her business dealings.

(Continues in excruciating detail for several paragraphs. Ed)

The recruitment of a new Director NRM is already underway and Andrew is reviewing what arrangements will be put in place in the meantime.

Any queries from the press should be referred to the press office in the normal way.

Lord Waldegrave

Who said Museum life was dull?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Harris joins Railnews!

Much excitement tonight amongst the railway chatterati!

From next Monday there will be a new Managing Editor of Railnews!

And its a Mr Harris!

But which one?

Could it be Tom - the off message MP?

Or Nigel - star of Rail, TV and the National Rail Awards?

Or maybe Sim - late of Rail Manager on-line fame?

Here's a clue...

Perhaps more a case of changing, rather than keeping, track....

Go-Via buys pig in a poke?

Eye welcomes the new South Central franchise which began operation yesterday

The franchise was awarded to current operator Govia (a Go-Ahead and Keolis joint venture) and will see the continuation of the Southern brand.

But what's this?

The winning bid was based on 4% revenue growth over the first two years of the franchises life.


What looked a 'toppy' bid may now turn into a Herculean challenge.

This from the BBC...

London Underground (LU) has been hit by a fall of 190,000 journeys a day, with the recession and job losses blamed... August journey figures were 6.4% lower than the same month last year, Transport for London (TfL) said.

With loadings down on LU no doubt similar pain is being felt by NSE TOCs as well.

Watch out for eye-watering increases in unregulated ticket prices and car park charges as Govia struggles to balance the books.

Captain Deltic derailed?

This from Roger Ford's latest Informed Sources ePreview:

Talk about hubris, my warm glow at having networked the home soon vanished when nemesis followed and a few days later my computer not only wouldn’t connect to the internet over broadband, the back up dial-up stopped working too.

The Fact Compiler fears that this may have been premeditated rather than misfortunate.

Perhaps Captain Deltic should contact the
Association of Old Crows to protect himself from future attacks?

Network Rail Bullsh*t Bingo

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
Term of ill omen?

In his letter summing up the results of the the two workshops held with Public Members earlier this month new Network Rail Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite refers to a facilitator present at the events as "a thought leader in institutional investment governance".

Just what NR needs - state of the art management jargon.

LibDems outline priorities - World sleeps

Exciting news from the LibDems!

This from the Evening Standard...

Crossrail not a key priority for us, warns Vince Cable.


UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

At least Vince had a go at the "scandal" of the still empty Waterloo International Terminal.

The other parties are positively supine about it.

Adonis embarks on Marple's Memorial Meander

Hot on the tail of the Pilgrimage of Grice, the Noble Lord has taken to exploring the motorway network.

Details of the Marple's Memorial Meander here.

It will be interesting to see whether, after fighting his way around the UK road network for a week, Lord Adonis has an appetite to divert more funds into roads to relieve congestion, or whether he argues even more strongly that the railways should be developed, to get people out of their cars.

Can he hold his nerve, or will he bottle it?

UPDATE: This from Tom over at Boriswatch...

It's interesting that Lord Adonis meets up with the Chairman of the RAC Foundation straight off the bat, who are the spiritual successor to the rabid interventionist road lobby of the 1960s to 1980s.

On the other hand it's highly amusing that said gentleman had to take to the train to avoid the M25 jams...

UPDATE: Captain Deltic in calculating mood asks...

Shouldn't we know what car Lord Adonis is driving?

And what miles per gallon it is achieving?

And what average speed he is assuming to get to these various meetings on time?

Pointless signs #13

With a bowler tip to Trailer Second...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Adonis addicted to lines - Shocker!

This from Sim Harris...

Is anyone paying attention?

According to The Department...

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said, "The new East London Line will be of great benefit to rail passengers in London with more frequent trains to more destinations."

Well, fair enough.

Except, err... it will be the 'East London Railway'.

The ELL designation has been dropped.

Who failed to brief the Noble Lord or did he merely fail to listen?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Saltaire who plainly has too much time on his hands...

Who says it should be called the East London Railway?

Well, I thought that Balfour Beatty did, since their web site for the project is

However, when you open the web site, the title says…. East London Line Project!

It WAS called the East London Railway, when it first opened in 1865.

But, apparently, the line WILL be called the East London Railway, WHEN IT IS COMPLETED.

So, technically, The Noble Lord is right…. Hurrah!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Elf 'n' safety - Gone mad!

This from the Hastings Observer...

A teenager has been charged with endangering safety on the railway after a woman's hair was set alight on a train.


Fact Compiler exposes himself to MP - Shocker!

Tom Harris MP has the sordid details....


A respectful message to Ms Louise Ellman MP and the Labour whips:

Come the next Parliament please could you consider Tom for membership of the Transport Select Committee?

Tom - we'll make a Robert Adley out of you yet!

UPDATE: Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road awakes from his slumbers...

Given that, according to his blog boosting privatisation, Tom still thinks that the Government is buying 1400 vehicles in the current Control Period he'll need a few hours on a simulator before he can sign the Transport Select Committee!

Why does the Fact Compiler jump on hagiographic band wagons when N*g*l H*rr*s does it much more convincingly?

UPDATE: This from the Major...

I do hope this wasn't a Humphrys/Blair style urinal moment...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Pointless signs - North American edition

Seen on a wagon in the up yard at Cheyenne...


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Daily sex Tube map

Telegrammed by Charles Yerkes
So the Thames has vanished from TfL's new Tube map.

Yadder yadder.

The rot set in when they failed to restrict 081 to South of the river.

You want to see a Tube map?

Try the inclusive Dyslexic's guide to the Underground.

2009 Railway Garden Competition #XXVII - ENTRY DISQUALIFIED

This just in from Dyspozytor...

I greatly applaud your initiative to encourage the development of green corridors along England's railways.

The propagation of your idea by means of a 'Railway Garden Competition' is stunning in its simplicity.

The fronds of buddleia that I see adorning the previously dull brick built bridges and viaducts whenever I visit the UK shows the extent to which the management of Network Rail are giving your 'bottom up' initiative their wholehearted support.

However, it is only fair to point out that Network Rail's efforts are still at the nursery garden stage compared to the achievements of my colleagues on Poland's railways.

I enclose a picture I took earlier today of a Prussian goods van at Kalisz station.

I trust that you will be able to use this picture to encourage Network Rail's gardeners to even greater efforts.

Alas foreign railways are not currently able to enter the Railway Garden Competition. Although Eye understand that this is to be addressed as part of the EU's Fourth European Railway Package...

Credit where credit's due

This just in from Driver Potter...

Perchance GNER is not dead, it does but slumber.

Potter, having attended his brothers wedding in Newcastle this last weekend, travelled to Kings Cross on the 15:50 Up service (1A53?) on Sunday.

I was astonished. If you believe the wibbling anoraks masses, NXEC have all but abandoned customer service. Potter begs to differ. The staff were nothing short of exemplary; prompt, courteous and all questions answered quickly with a smile.

I once mourned the loss of GNER - the blue and red, "Route of the Flying Scotsman", named locomotives and staff with pride. Now I see that perhaps I was wrong to worry.

All NXEC have done is change the livery and the uniforms; the pride remains unchanged. And even not knowing what the future brings has not dented the professionalism on the East Coast.

FC, would you be good enough to post this on your rather fine site? We hear enough wibble about poor customer service. Fine efforts should not go unsung; especially from staff who face an uncertain few months ahead.