Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Listening government

Where Railway Eye goes, ministers are sure to follow.

Within hours of our Independent Expert posting that rail fares need to fall because of deflation, what happens?

Ministers let it be known that "rail fares will be allowed to fall in line with deflation".

In the land of the one-eyed the blogger is king!

Pigs in space?

It's Network Rail bonus time again.

Confirmation that Iain Coucher and two other senior directors are in line for sizeable bonuses came in a letter to Network Rail public members from Jim Cornell, who chairs NR's remuneration committee.

Last year, Coucher received bonuses totalling £510,000, which are likely to be matched this year.

Of course it is up to Iain, and his fellow directors, to decide on whether or not to accept the additional moolah; especially when the rest of the railway is tightening its collective belt.

The industry, media and Westminster await their decision with interest...

UPDATE: This direct from Network Rail...

What confirmation that 'sizeable' bonuses wil be paid at Network Rail this year?

The year is not over, the final numbers have not been crunched and the remuneration committee has not made a decision.

The story that provoked this latest furore is the TSSA's brandishing of a 'leaked' letter which talks about NEXT year's management incentive plan - a plan that stretches incentives and further aligns them to passenger benefits.

Unlike the banks, Network Rail's bonus scheme (which encompasses everyone, whether signaller, maintenance worker, humble press officer or board member) rewards success.

It is also a licence condition and agreed with the ORR.

If train performance improves, assets are well managed and costs are controlled then bonuses are triggered.

We welcome this debate.

O'Toole - the reason why shocker

This from the Currant Bun.

"O’Toole – known as the Invisible Man – masterminded the huge transport operation."


Gone to the dogs?

Captain Deltic reporting that Rotem has not submitted a bid for the 200+ DMU vehicles brought forward by the Pre Budget Statement:

"With Hyundai Rotem of Korea having pulled out for the time being, the bidders, in alphabetical order, are Bombardier Transportation, CAF of Spain and CSR Nanjing Puzhen of China."

DafT is still claiming it's an open race, despite strange words from my Lord Adonis at the IEP press conference...

Legs crossed

This from DMPS at Newcastle...

An announcement on departure of the 16.06 Transpennine Express from Newcastle to Manchester Airport yesterday:

"Ladies and gentlemen we are sorry to announce that this train has no working toilets. We will be making toilet stops at Darlington, York and Huddersfield".

The Lord said smile, things could be worse, so I smiled and tied a knot in it.

At least we now know that the maximum time between permitted loo stops is 48 minutes! (York - Huddersfield).

IEP horsepower revealed

This from Andy Roden, over at the IRJ...

The real number of horsepower for the IEP is two!

At least it could be, judging by the very odd picture to be found at the ONCF's website:

Zut alors!

Mystery 377

This from Peezedtee...

Not sure if this is of any interest, but for the last few days an empty Class 377 (in Southern colours) has been whizzing back and forth through Elephant and Castle, a beast not previously seen in these parts, as far as I know.

Presumably this is something to do with Key Output Zero (route testing?) ready for 22 March.

Yeo off message?

Telegrammed by the Master
The Master attended Monday night’s Railway Study Association annual dinner.

An occasion where the great and the good of the railway industry get to meet the strange fraternity of men with an over abundance of pens in their top pockets.

The guest speaker was Tory Tim Yeo MP, a choice which puzzled many as he’s not known for his knowledge of the rail industry.

Tory Tim quickly alienated many by needlessly sticking the boot into the corpse of BR in a poor attempt to defend privatisation.

But it was his remarks about Colchester station which confused the most.

Tory Tim criticised the station as being an unpleasant place to use because it didn’t offer “an airline experience”.

Presumably he meant that you can just pitch up, buy a ticket and board a train.

Rather than have to turn up two hours before and queue for security with your shoes in your hand whilst your luggage is sent to another country.

Mind the gap

So farewell then Tim O'Toole, top man at London Underground.

Eye understands that Tim will return to the States for personal reasons.

Even so, should provide an interesting topic of conversation when Boris meets Gordon today to discuss moving Crossrail forward.