Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Not so clever now

Exciting news from the world of high finance!

GMR Group won the prestigious Infrastructure Acquisition of the Year award at the annual Infrastructure Journal (IJ) Award Ceremony held in London on Thursday, 12th March, 2009.

... GMR Group was shortlisted among the top rated companies in the Infrastructure Deal of the Year category which included; the £3.6bn acquisition of Angel Trains by a consortium of investors including; Babcock & Brown, AMP Capital Investors, Deutsche Bank and funds advised by Access Capital...

Perhaps they can also help with the inevitable fire sale?

We're in for a Spring of Discontent

The Brothers look set to blow Gordon's last chance of winning a June election.

This from the RMT...

RMT members at First Capital Connect voted by more than three to one to strike, and at National Express East Anglia by more than two to one, after the employers refused to provide unequivocal assurances that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

The RMT lost the third ballot at SWT where members voted against strike action.

Mind you serves Gordon right.

He was very free and easy with our cash when it came to bailing out car workers and bankers...

Barriers to goodwill

Thanks to the TSSA the mainstream media has finally woken up to the implications of the ludicrous spread of barriers.

This from Michael Williams in today's Independent...

Now National Express wants to ban trainspotters, a move backed by Rail minister Lord Adonis, who is offering government money for "gating" to tackle fare evasion. In reality it is a sop to rail companies during the recession.

This will create enmity, as it is a mistake to assume all rail fans are geeks. Six weeks ago, thousands turned out to celebrate the maiden mainline journey of the first new steam express engine to be built in Britain for nearly 50 years. I was there with my children, thinking that these days it might be better to grow up a train driver than a banker after all.

It's not just train spotters Michael.

Pity the poor passenger with luggage or those who wish to say farewell to loved ones - all of whom will be massively inconvenienced by these ill thought out schemes.

And what about local residents, like those at York and Sheffield, who have traditionally used stations to get from one part of their city to another?

Enmity? More like cold, hard, furious rage!

What a great PR victory for the industry.

UPDATE:This detailed rant from James D of the Tafia...

Then there's the disastrous barriering of Cardiff Central.

The barriers are only really needed on platforms 6 and 7, as the layout of the station neatly splits long-distance and local services. They should therefore have been installed at platform level on that platform only.

Instead, ARRIVA Trains Wales (why are they running such a major station instead of the Intercity operator First Great Western anyway?) have installed a total mess of a barrier scheme.

The important things to note about Cardiff Central are that the car park is on the south side, and two subways - one with stairs and one with lifts - span the station.

Probably the more serious problem is ARRIVA's decision to permanently close and lock the south entrance to the lift subway, despite the obvious likelihood of anyone who needs the lift arriving by car. Quite how sending someone with mobility difficulties through three sets of barriers complies with the DDA is mind-boggling.

This problem is compounded by ARRIVA's poor staffing levels. Cardiff Bus services tend to finish relatively early, so people who know they will be arriving back late at night tend to use the car park.

ARRIVA have an awful tendency to short-staff the barriers in the evenings, deciding to close the south side of the station completely rather than leaving the barriers open. Although the Penarth Road under the railway is more creepy than unsafe, ARRIVA should not be forcing people to walk it alone at night.

There is something seriously wrong with allowing such a half-baked scheme to be built. The authorities lost a key bargaining chip in allowing this one to go ahead - they could have used it to make ARRIVA carry out a more substantial rebuild of Cardiff Central's outmoded design in exchange for being allowed to barrier it.

I would now encourage the WAG to designate both subways as public rights of way, so that ARRIVA are forced to remove their hare-brained barrier scheme and we can start again from a sensible position.

Spot the Vicar of Dawlish

Enter The Eye's exciting new competition!

Using your skill and judgement pinpoint where the Vicar of Dawlish is in this picture from the Daily Mail/Evening Standard.

Fabulous prizes to be won including FREE access to Railway Pictures!

Clue: The reverend father has adopted a cunning pair of dark glasses.