Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Electrification - what's in the announcement

The cabinet, we are led to believe, will be meeting in Wales on Thursday.

Having failed to share their plans with the House, perfect timing to announce electrification plans for the Great Western Main Line.

Alas, for our Tafia friends, nothing West of Bristol.

No matter.

Smart money has Paddington to Oxford and Newbury (think Reading remodelling and Crossrail to Maidenhead) as stage one.

Stage two has Bristol via both Parkway and Bath.

Timescales unknown.

Funding on the back of Network Rail's regulatory Asset Base.

That said, the proposals are likely to find cross party support!

What with the Rt Hon Member for Witney representing an Oxfordshire constituency and leading the Tory Party and all.

Perhaps the Noble Lord should call by, en-route to London, to raise a glass with his future boss?

UPDATE: This from 'David'...

The Guardian today says electrification through to Cardiff - and when you think about it, electrification Swindon-Parkway doesn't create much economic benefit on its own, given that all IC services on that route go through to South Wales.

25kv through the Severn Tunnel should be an interesting engineering challenge.

UPDATE: Captain Deltic adds...

Wake up Fact Compiler!

As the cabinet meeting was announced as being held in Cardiff, even a PM with Gordon Brown's tin ear was hardly likely to announce GW electrification to Bristol.

As for the Severn tunnel, overhead contact track is the logical solution.

Manners maketh the man

This just in from 'William of Wykham'...

Might I use Railway Eye to publicise a cause very close to my heart?

I wonder if I am alone in noticing the increasingly hectoring tone adopted by much modern railway signage.

As an example here is a sign I photographed recently at Leicester.

The use of the word 'please' costs nothing and can transform the way a notice reads from an order into a request.

Which is so much nicer if you've just spent a fortune to travel by train.

So please can we see the return of the word 'please' in railway signage.

Thank you.

And thank you William, the Eye is only too pleased to help.

NXEA has something on its mind

National Express are obviously taking Lord Adonis' threat to strip them of all their franchises very seriously.

At least so it would appear, judging from this page on the National Express East Anglia website.

But with NatEx gone, frustrated East Anglian rail travellers may have one less thing on their mind...

A bowler tip to the Samaritans whose website is here.

Charge of the Light Brigade

Latest figures from Moley on how light the government is in its promise to deliver 1,300 new vehicles...

Norman Baker (Lewes, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what orders for rail carriages have been placed to date under his Department's provision for new carriages under Delivering a Sustainable Railway; when he expects the remainder of such orders to be placed; and when he expects delivery of carriages arising from such orders to (a) commence and (b) be completed.

Chris Mole (Parliamentary Under-Secretary):
543 vehicles have been ordered to date.

Discussions are continuing with train operating companies for the additional vehicles and announcements on these orders will be made in due course.

As Alfred, Lord Tennyson might have said: "Then they rode back, but not. Not the 1,300."

WCML Upgrade underspend - Shocker!

Good news indeed from Moley.

Chris Mole (Parliamentary Under-Secretary):
The North West has benefited considerably from the £8.9 million upgrade of the west coast main line.

Perhaps Lord Adonis and Iain Coucher could give their office sofas a quick rattle?

It looks like there's about £8.991bn in loose change down there somewhere...

McBride of Frankenstein

There are certain Parliamentary exchanges that beg more questions than they answer.

This from the 20th July...

Francis Maude: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on what date the Secretary of State last met Mr. Damian McBride in the course of his official duties.

Chris Mole: The Secretary of State for Transport has never met Mr. McBride in the course of his official duties.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall at those non-official meetings...

Acronym Update - Letter D

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
DMUP - Delayed Multiple Unit Project - The accelerated (sic) procurement of 202 DMU vehicles as part of the Chancellor's fiscal stimulus.

DOR - Department's Own Railway - This is the company set up by DfT Rail to run the InterCity East Coast Franchise. ALSO Directly Operated Railways - the plural 'railways' suggesting that the Department expects that the fair Elaine and her band of BR retreads are going to have more than one railway to run as the recession tightens. ALSO Department of Railways the new organisation that David Carmeron will let Lord Adonis play with after June 2010.

More please...