Thursday, 19 March 2009

Directions and guidance

This from Mini-me in the House of Commons on the 4th March:

Paul Clark (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport; Gillingham, Labour) | Hansard source:

As for bonuses, let me say again that that is a matter for Network Rail.

However, I am sure that hon. Members would expect Network Rail's remuneration committee to be mindful of the public mood and not to award bonuses that the travelling public would consider unjustified by their own experiences of Network Rail's performance.

I am referring here to the hundreds of thousands of commuters on the West Coast Main Line whose services were cancelled and massively disrupted in the new year due to the poor maintenance of overhead wires.

Reprinted here, just in case the Remuneration Committee didn't hear it the first time...

UPDATE: This just in from Network Rail...

First with the news as ever! I'm sure I don't need to remind tfc that Network Rail's management incentive plan is calculated by using three main performance indicators agreed with the regulator - train performance, financial efficiency and asset stewardship.

Influential that you are, it is those factors that the remuneration committee will take into account when the year is over and the numbers have been crunched.

The minister's comments in Hansard two weeks ago mentions the travelling public's own experiences of Network Rail's performance on West Coast. Yes we had a some teething problems on West Coast, not helped of course by a plane crash in addition to the unrelated series of overhead line equipment failures.

Today, the real story on West Coast is that over 1,000 extra trains every week run and journey times slashed by up to 30%. Freight users enjoy a 70% increase in capacity while weekend passengers travelling to places such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham benefit with shorter journey times and more services.

I'd gently also remind this blog's reader(s) that the latest Passenger Focus survey shows that 83% of passengers are satisfied - the highest number yet recorded.

Isn't this called shooting the messenger?

UPDATE: Captain Deltic harrumphs...

If 17% of readers were dissatisfied with Eye it wouldn't have become the dominant force in the railway blogsphere that makes even Network Rail sit up and engage with the real world.

Lies, damned lies, etc... etc...

Scottish Ps & Qs

Telegrammed by the Major
Disgraceful behaviour in the Scottish Parliament:

(MSP).....I have almost lost track of the amount of my correspondence on crossrail with the minister and Transport Scotland. Getting an answer from Mr Stevenson in writing is no easier than getting one in the chamber. It seems, on occasion, that he has delegated so much of his portfolio to Transport Scotland that all that is left for him to do is give us bad news and occasionally unveil new paint schemes for the trains.

Mike Rumbles: He has delegated everything. He just tells us what the civil servants want.

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): Bollocks.

Alison McInnes: Pardon?

The Presiding Officer: Members should be careful about the language that they use in the chamber.

Quite right too. Pardon is so non-U!

Livingstone to return?

***Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone - who lost last year to Conservative Boris Johnson - will challenge again in 2012.***


Telegrammed by Ithuriel
Lord Adonis may know more about railways than the average transport minister - and we have had some outstandingly average transport ministers in recent years, but not enough to spot when his officials are embroidering the truth.

In a letter to an MP whose constituent had asked the Walmsley Question (why not loco haulage for IEP?) the noble Lord rehearses all the old canards and as a clincher concludes:

"The French railways have recognised these arguments and so the next generation of the TGV, the AGV, will operate as distributed traction with all vehicles carrying passengers."

So there!

Except that French Railways have nothing to do with AGV, which is an Alstom private venture.

And French Railways are still ordering TGV Duplex with power cars at each end.

They have noted the AGV development, but really want double deck trains for capacity. Fitting traction packages underneath double deck coaches would be un peu difficile

When anyone tries to drag in the French to support a technical argument, it's a sure sign they know they've met their Waterloo.

Leafs on the line

1D48 Driver Spilt Tea
CCIL 407995
1940 Hrs – Advised by EC Controller thaty 1D48 was at a Stand on Down Main at Finsbury Park.
Advised by NXEC Control that driver has Spilt Tea over Controls and Lost His Front Lights. Train will Return to Kings Cross for Fitters Attention. Train will be Cancelled at Kings Cross.