Wednesday, 22 July 2009

We're in the money!

***NR bosses have seen off a challenge to change the company's controversial bonus scheme***

Sparks and the Thunderer

Oh dear.

Allowing a Peer to announce Electrification via the Times may have upset Wapping's home team!

This from Transport Correspondent Ben...

Passengers on one of Britain’s busiest intercity routes face six years of disruption while it is electrified under the Government’s low-carbon agenda.

Shome mishtake, shurely.

No doubt the huge amounts Network Rail will pay to First Great Western for disruption will allow passengers to be suitably compensated.

And they may even get tomorrow's railway!

New Apostle of the Pantograph - Electrification announced!

That announcement!!

In the Times here!!!

Bad luck Cardiff - Wapping had it first.

Readers letters

Dear Fact Compiler,

I have been a very good driver, having not gone on strike for the last twenty minutes and not looked at any filthy publications in the rest room - this includes Penthouse, Playboy, The Daily Mail, RAIL Magazine and the company newsletter...

For Christmas I would like lots of electrified bits of railway; 3rd rail would be favourite but 25kV knitting will do - and I would like lots of these to play with. They seem to be comfortable, fast and exude purposeful modernity. They are also not built by Alstom (the last toys I had from Alstom arrived with bits missing and still don't work properly) and will look sexy for the papers.

I know it's only July, but I've heard that the government might be spending a few pennies on the National Trainset and since there isn't much money about I want to get my requests in early.

Yours in a well-behaved manner,
Driver Potter

Electrification announcement latest, with added infill schemes


So it's the Great Western Main Line, first stage Paddington to Oxford & Newbury; then on to Bristol via both Parkway and Bath.

At some indeterminate point in the future extended to Cardiff and possibly even Swansea (no doubt designed to prevent a Plaid Cymru inspired meltdown of Labour Constituencies).

The favoured infill scheme now appears to be Manchester - Preston (Goblin's loss - but blame Tory Boris).

An infill between Manchester and Preston would allow TPE Manchester to Edinburgh/Glasgow services to be switched over to new electric 'low carbon' (sic) traction, resulting in a cascade of DMUs to the non electrified railway.

Similar cascades will happen with GWML electrification - although the Thames trains 165's were built to a more generous loading gauge so reader suggestions for a new home, other than the scrapyard, welcome.

Where this leaves the Delayed Multiple Unit Project to speed-up the procurment of an additional 202 DMU vehicles is of course anyone's guess.

As Northern are still gagging for additional stock and Wales will have to wait some time for the sparks effect, perhaps both may get an internal combustion pre-election sweetner?

UPDATE: This from The Major...

Manchester – yes.

Preston – no.

Try Liverpool...

Guided busways - a success!

Splendid news from Cambridgeshire, home of the St Ives guided busway!

This from the The Hunts Post...

The busway, on the route of the disused railway line, was originally due to open in April but was delayed when disputes arose between Cambridgeshire County Council and contractor BAM Nuttall over cost overruns on the £116.7million project.

Eye readers will not be surprised to know that Cast.Iron, which lobbied for restoration of the railway, costed the line reopening at £50m.

Even if you doubled that figure to allow for puffer-nutter optimism it would still have come in cheaper than this much delayed bustitution white elephant.

That'll learn 'em

It would appear that NR's Leeds Timetable Planning Unit suffered severe travel disruption in the Leicester area on Monday.

Apparently on a jolly to inspect their cosy new Milton Keynes offices they were apprehended by the Rozzers!

Alas, they were travelling by coach and the vehicle's tachograph showed the driver was over hours.

This of course wasn't seen on or about the railway at the same time.

Good to see Network Rail staff creating additional capacity, by not using overcrowded rail services provided by their own TOC customers.

To the ramparts! But not our own.

Congratulations to Rampart Rail!

The Derby based company has just launched a lovely new website.

See how well equipped their workshop is and crammed full of kettles and stuff.

Perhaps a pity the picture is not actually of their Derby facility at all!

Any suggestions as to where it might be?

UPDATE: This from The Plagiarist...

Isn't that LNWR at Crewe?

Have Arriva bought Rampart as well.

I think we should be told!

UPDATE: This from a sharp-eyed google whacking reader...

Searching for 'railway workshop' in google image search brings up a familiar looking image on the second results page which suggests its the Don River Railway.

In Tasmania!

Christmas gets earlier and earlier

The latest issue of Modern Railways has just thudded through the letterbox.

Weighing in at 10oz it nearly killed the dog and the postie was heard muttering darkly.

Only July and The Fact Compiler is already having to calculate the size of the Christmas box.

Pitt stop?

This from TransportXtra...

South West Trains today announced the appointment of Andy Pitt as its new managing director.

As DafT and SWT can't agree when Cap and Collar comes into effect Andy may have a short tenure...

Let them eat cake but tell them nothing

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
Has the erudite Gricer Lord finally lost the plot?

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the parent company loan obligations in the agreements for each of the current railway franchises.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
Details of all franchise agreements that are not deemed to be market sensitive are published in the Public Register at register.

Information pertaining to loan arrangements between individual franchisees and their parent organisations are a matter for the parties to those agreements.

Wait a minute.

These committed loan agreements are determined by his Department.

Had his Department thought that NXEC might need a bit more spare cash in case of hard times, it could have required NEG to provide a larger committed loan - as has happened with other franchises in the past.

So loan arrangements between franchisees and their parents are a matter for government and therefore the taxpayer.

Les aristos a la lanterne!

Morse code?

This from 'Westmount'...

I'm surprised Eye hasn't picked up on the irony of EMT having a Red Dot Day initiative and then ASLEF picking more strike days on EMT?

Surely Red Dot Days are an ASLEF initiative when the trains AREN'T running !!

Doesn't anyone tell Marketing/Publicity Depts the significance of Red in railway speak??

Now "Green Dot Days" might have been a better title - but then ASLEF could have really screwed up EMT's marketing initiative as well as the service!

NR Director's bonuses

Just a quick reminder to those Public Members on their way to Network Rail's Annual Meeting today.

Just say no.

Mystic NXEA

This from 'Redrover'...

The following item was displayed on the NXEA website at 22.15hrs on TUESDAY 21st July.

Train service alterations - Wednesday 22nd July 2009

The following train service will not run on Wednesday 22nd July 2009 owing to an operational incident: 18:00 Liverpool Street to Norwich.

What kind of "operational incident" is going to take place tomorrow I wonder?

Can they predict the lottery numbers too?