Friday, 19 June 2009

Severn Valley to avoid doomsday?

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
Do BBC news editors ever travel by train?

Thursday's News at Ten reported on the global warming threat to "national infrastructure"... with a shot of SVR track washed away in floods two years ago!

Mind you, if it secures additional government dosh then it's time to head to Kidderminster.

DRS to strike

***ASLEF announce DRS strike days***

Calls to gate Glasgow Central

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
So Network Rail are keen to discourage feral youth from loitering at Glasgow Central station?

The obvious solution is to gate station entrances so that only ticket holders can enter!

Those wishing to buy a ticket at the station, and how 20th Century is that! - would buy a 'Permission to Enter Facilities' pass for £2 which would be refundable against tickets bought in the station.

For family groups meeting relatives there would be a group pass for two adults and up to three children costing £5.

Although such a proposal might not find favour with retail outlets and indeed Eye's editor...

(Indeed it wouldn't, although The Fact Compiler has no problem with re-introducing what we used to call platform tickets. Ed)

Again... Who speaks for the Railway?

This from the BBC...

The government is wrongly prioritising investment in rail over roads, despite 92% of all passenger journeys in the UK being made by car, the RAC has said.

A bold challenge from a well connected and highly effective lobby organisation.

So who will pick up the RAC's gauntlet and defend the railway industry?

The supplier group the Rail Industry Association wouldn't say boo to a goose and sadly the Railway Forum has become mute in recent years.

Which leaves us dependent on Network Rail or ATOC.

But can either be said to speak for the whole industry?

So where is the railway's 'RAC' and who should be our Glaister?

UPDATE: This just in from Ithuriel...

No one can speak for the railway industry because there is no 'industry' sharing common objectives - unlike the RAC (we want lots of roads for our member's cars), or the SBAC (we want orders for lots of planes), or even the Rail Freight Group (we want passenger trains abolished and the entire network cleared to continental gauge).

Getting ATOC to agree to anything is like herding cats, and even then it daren't offend Marsham Street.

Network Rail thinks it speaks for the railway industry in much the same way that Spitting Image portrayed Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet at dinner. 'What will you have Iain? 'I'll have steak'. What about the vegetables?' 'The TOCs will have steak too'.

The Railway Industry Association speaks only for the supply industry'

And the Railway Forum is reported to have lost the First big beast in its membership.

So that leaves Railway Eye or Lord Adonis.

UPDATE: Manifestly some Eye readers have too much time on their hands. This from the late Sir Arthur Sullivan...

Stand up, stand up for railways, at Euston and “The Cross”;
Lift high the CP4 plan, it must not suffer loss.
From apathy to victory , the DfT must lead,
Till every train runs "On Time", - Adonis, Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for railways, the trumpet call obey
We need a gallant champion, someone who’s here to stay.
For those who run a franchise are more concerned with brass
And those in the freight business, are “looped” to let them pass.

Stand up, stand up for railways, who’s good at slick PR?;
Someone who’ll “up the anti” against the friends of car.
Someone who‘s credibility; is something to be feared
Some say that it’s “The Captain”? whilst others say “The Beard”. (Nah!)

Stand up, stand up for railways, the strife will yet be long;
Forget about the bonus, forget about a gong!.
To those who raise the standard and fly it till they die;
Will have eternal Glory, (bowler tip to Railway Eye).

Electrification creeps closer?

Network Rail yesterday issued an OJEU in connection with the proposed electrification of the Midland and Great Western mainlines.

Optimistically entitled 'Network Electrification' the document outlines NR's requirement as follows:

"The programme currently envisages the potential introduction of electric traction onto the Midland and Great Western Mainlines over Control Periods 5 and 6 subject to comprehensive study/development being carried out during Control Period 4.

In order to facilitate this programme, Network Rail is seeking to procure a number of services from the supply industry.

The initial development phase will include developing optimum technical solutions and outline design for all elements of electrification and associated infrastructure."

As the OJEU points out it is 15 years since Britain last saw a mainline electrified.

Typical, you wait 15 years and then two come along at once.

Wish you were here

Brighton is the most metropolitan of seaside resorts.

So it came as no surprise to see Messrs Ludeman, Souter & Eccles taking the South Coast air there, earlier this week.

Strange, no postcard yet.