Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Lost in space

Telegrammed by J Alfred Prufrock
From a Press Conference at Euston today:

Turning to trains and track, Sir Richard continued: ”With a £1bn investment we could, within 3 to 5 years, see our trains running at 140mph with reductions in journey times between London and all West Coast destinations. What we are asking is that the Government re-thinks the franchise situation to give train operators the opportunity to invest, grow the rail business and lessen the burden on taxpayers.”

So three to five years. That's by the end of the current control Period. When Network Rail still hasn't decided what to do about the Stafford Bottleneck.

And nothing's going to happen until the next election in 2010, and then there's going to be a hiatus while the new government sorts out the funding priorities, then the Intercity West Coast franchise has to be re-let, then it's 2012.

There's more chance of Sir Beardie going into sub-orbital space than Pendolini running at 140 mph.

UPDATE: Dyspozytor over at Behind the Water Tower takes a different view...

First for broad mindedness

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
Welcome to Scotland - land of tolerance

This from the Caledonian Sleeper latest brochure.

"You may have to share your berth with a person of the same sex".

Just don't light up afterwards.

DafT's abysmal PPM

The Commons' Public Accounts Committee has published its report into the Department of Transport: Letting of Rail Franchises 2005-2007.

Predictably the media focused upon the PAC's call to make discounted fares more easily available to those without internet access.

However, as those without internet access won't be reading the Eye probably not worth focusing on this overly much.

Of greater interest is the criticism the PAC reserved for the Government's endless spin over the alleged 1,300 vehicles the department keeps promising the network.

The PAC report stated:

The Department promises of bringing 1,300 new rail carriages into service by 2014 look over-optimistic.

There are only 423 on order so far, and another 150 carriages are the subject of negotiations. It takes 30 to 36 months to mobilise the supply chain, suggesting deliveries running into 2011–2012 for the current work in progress.

If Daft were an owner group, and this piss-poor rate of delivery were translated into a Public Performance Measure, it would forfeit its franchises.

Now there's an idea!

Sunday Working

The question of whether Sundays are a rostered turn for drivers has exercised many minds since privatisation.

Most recently those at East Midlands Trains, which, over the last two weekends, has found it almost impossible to provide a Sunday service "due to virtually no drivers being available for work".

Following discussions at the High Court on Friday the following letter has been jointly issued by Alsef and EMT.

This one looks set to run and run, unless of course it's on a Sunday