Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sadiq says...

Via Twitter...

I am spending plenty of times on our trains today. At Cabinet discussed historic announcement on electrification of various lines.

Does the reference to 'our trains' suggest that others may soon go the way of NXEC?

UPDATE: This just in from the Waterbaby...

I note with interest your feed of Mr Khan's Twitter updates, and in particular the one listing Yasmin Qureshi, Parliamentary Candidate for Bolton, as one of his 'good mates'.

Let's hope nobody lets on to Ms Qureshi that Mr Khan's proud announcement of Manchester - Liverpool electrification yesterday in fact wipes Bolton off the inter-city map by diverting through services away from the town and onto the WCML at Golborne instead.

Whilst admittedly this covers only 3-4 trains a day and the current situation of running DMUs over Shap under the wires is (to use a Dizzee Rascal-ism, if I may) 'bonkers'.

Bolton is still one of the largest boroughs in the country and a sizeable railhead for the whole north Manchester area for journeys to the Lakes, Cumbria and Scotland....

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler would like to point out...

Electrification of Manchester to Preston (via Notlob) was a strong contender to appear in the announcement.

Of course there are more constituencies in Liverpool.

It also remains an option, as can be seen on page 28 of the Electrification Strategy.

Electrification - where the trains are going

This just in from a Mr Saltaire...

I wondered if Eye readers might appreciate a quick and dirty breakdown of what today's announcement means in rolling stock terms?

This taken from the Departments 'The Case for Electrification' published today:

  • 319s cascaded from Thameslink to GW Thames Valley in December 2016
  • 165s cascaded from GW Thames Valley to GW Bristol area (probably Cardiff – Portsmouth) in December 2016;
  • DMUs from Bristol area that are freed up when 165s are parachuted in, to be cascaded to Northern to boost capacity in December 2016;
  • New four car EMUs to be procured to operate Manchester – Scotland TransPennine Express services, delivery 2013;
  • Class 185 DMUs freed up when new EMUs enter service to be used to strengthen existing 185 operated TPE services in 2013
  • 319s cascaded from Thameslink to Northern electrified routes in 2013 (or earlier);
  • Super-duper express replacing HSTs across all the GW from December 2016
  • HSTs freed up for the Voyager replacement project (tee hee);
  • Pacer replacement project, starting with Northern at franchise renewal in 2013 and continuing with ATW in 2018.
By that time, we should be into long (15 year) franchises, allowing the TOCs to commit to new trains with some forward thinking.

Unless of course the Tories turn the juice off...

UPDATE: This from Muttley...

A few things I've noticed about the electric news ....
  • The Electrification document states in para 57 that the Super Express Programme was started in 2005. Was it? Wasn't that the Intercity Express Programme? or HST2? Note the document makes no mention of IEP, political spin to distance the DfT from the millions already wasted? Modern Railways consultancy feature reckons over £15m so far. Maybe 3rd time lucky for the Class 666's, the Super Express Programme Train is Coming!
  • Para 18 contains a good line: "Experience around the world shows that a well designed, constructed and maintained electric railway will be more reliable than a diesel railway." Ouch! No examples within the UK exist? Is that a future warning to NR?
Ceefax this morning had another solution to the question of what to do with the Severn Tunnel and a few others:

I look forward to travelling though Box Cutting!

Extraordinary - The Fact Compiler didn't realise such old technology still existed. Does Ceefax host blogs?

UPDATE: This from Dreadnought...

I have heard that rather than procure new stock for the TPE Manchester-Scotland service the intent is to use Class 350s from the existing fleet.

One option is that these would be found by using an Outer Suburban version of the Hitachi Sooper-Dooper Express on some of the fast Northamptons.

Could just be a load of 'Cobblers' though!

Ford Perfect

The following has appeared on the WNXX forum, with a bowler tip to Driver Potter...

I think Roger Ford of Modern Railways Magazine has personally done a lot to get electrification back on to the political agenda.

Roger is very good at presenting hard facts well and his repeated articles, along with the electrification petition etc, have culminated in today's announcement.

It would be nice for him to get some recognition for sticking his head above the parapet and stating the bloody obvious.

Arise, Sir Roger?

Or even better Lord Catenary of Welwyn!

Would someone like to nominate Captain Deltic as a 'People's Peer'?

Lookalike XXIII - 25kv into the Future

Camera crime

Oh dear.

It looks like the Boys in Blue have been over zealous on the Underground again.

This from Tuesday's Grauniad...

A woman is to challenge the Metropolitan police in the high court, claiming she was handcuffed, detained and threatened with arrest for filming officers on her mobile phone.

As Harriet assured us "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear."

Quite so.

And, evidently, just because you're innocent doesn't mean you're not guilty.

White flags fly at Marsham Street?

Not so much rowing back, more the full 60 knot reversal!

Theresa Villiers (Shadow Secretary of State for Transport)
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when his Department plans to begin the pre-qualification process for invitations to tender for the Inter-City East Coast franchise.

Chris Mole (Parliamentary Under-Secretary)
In the event that a state company takes on responsibility for the inter city east coast services later this year, the Department for Transport will consult on a new franchise specification with a view to issuing an invitation to tender in the summer of 2010.

"In the event"!?!

Why, suddenly, has an element of doubt crept into the proceedings?

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

As DafT are supremely confident that they can enforce Cross Default it's possible that NatEx have waved the white flag.

So expect an announcement soon on the date of their exit from East Coast.

And perhaps if they play ball DafT will let them keep the other two until 2011.

2009 Railway Garden Competition #10 (Yes - Chester again...)

This just in from Rich...

As a reader for a while, I've been avidly following the Railway Garden Competition, and thought readers might be interested in an update on Chester's bid for glory.

The pictures below were taken last Saturday.

Not much further to go and platform 4 will be totally screened from the elements.

It's a cruel wind that sometimes blows in from the Dee...

Update: This from Bushy...

One of my sources tells me the ORR is taking a great interest in Network Rail's burgeoning 'nursery and garden' business, being rather unimpressed with the excessive growth of weeds and other vegetation.

Maybe one of their directors should offer to appear on Gardener's Question Time?

BBC news editors off the rails, part 94

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
According to the 7.30am headlines on Radio Four this morning:

"The government is to spend £1bn electrifying the West Coast Main Line to Cardiff".

Come to think of it, perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea to spend an additional £1bn on the WCML.

Electrification - a plea

Dear Lord Adonis

Thank you for the promise to electrify various bits of the network.

Would it be possible to avoid the mistakes of the past and not do it on the cheap?

To stop this sort of thing happening:

(LNE) At 0858 OLE sections 34 & 36 on the Down Slow and Down Fast lines at Biggleswade tripped with the driver of 1N03, HB, 0830 London Kings Cross - Newcastle Central, in section on the Down Fast line reporting a loss of line light, with the driver requested to examine the pantograph. The traction current on the Down Slow line was reset at 0909. A Mobile Operations Manager and OLE staff were sent to site. The line was examined by 1P12, EG, 0822 London Kings Cross - Peterborough, with the driver reporting a dropper below the contact wire on the Down Fast line near Tempsford CCTV LC. All Down direction services were diverted to the Down Slow line with service reduction implemented. At 1025 staff on site reporting being unable to find anything foul of the contact wire. 1N03 was authorised to go forward, after the pantograph was confirmed as undamaged, and was instructed to examine the OLE for the remainder of the section. NWR at 1041 after 1N03 had completed the examination with nothing amiss found.
TRUST 269559 IQGU = 2 part cancelled = 61 trains = 818 mins.
Fault No.331607. CCIL 455997.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely
The Fact Compiler