Thursday, 30 July 2009

2009 Railway Garden Competition #XV - NR shows contempt for Chester

This really is a case of pearls before swine.

But if Network Rail is prepared to keep taking it, then the Eye will keep dishing it out.

Yes it's Chester (again!!!)...

This courtesy of Gareth Marston, Chairman of SARPA and taken at Chester today.

Gareth writes:

Here are some bona fida current railway weeds at that well known garden at Chester today.

Some must be six footers!

The Eye assumes that Network Rail board members are now too busy counting the bonus lolly to worry about the increasingly piss poor state of the nation's infrastructure.

Perhaps the ORR or Passenger Focus could have a word - if they're not similarly engaged?

UPDATE: This just in from Anthony Smith over at Passenger Focus...

Thanks for alerting me to the garden that is parts of Chester station.

While it is worth noting that in the last couple of years there has been plenty happening at Chester and Passenger Focus has been involved but, as with many heritage stations, dealing with some of the detail seems beyond the industry.

It is the largest National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) project in the Arriva Train Wales franchise area at present which has led to the complete redevelopment of the front of the station, concourse, etc... Passenger Focus have been involved in project development including leading on an accessibility audit of the station.

ATW is actively monitoring National Passenger Survey scores for the station, which have gone up more than 20% in the past year for some categories.

We also raised this very issue at Virgin's passenger panel a few days ago.

Virgin say that to clear the weeds, NR need full possession of the track and weeds aren't a priority (Crewe station has trees growing halfway up the wall at the side of the track!).

The panel asked Virgin to look into the problem at both stations. As Chester is an ATW station, that has just been refurbished, they should be pursuing NR with vigour.

We’ll pursue this one and report back – maybe weeds are the new graffiti?

It all makes the passenger think no-one is caring for the railway's fabric.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Saltraire...

A cynic might suggest that a way of doing “station improvement” on the cheap, is to let the weeds grow waist high… and then cut them down.

There, station improved… what more do you want!

UPDATE: This from Shiny Shoes...

Part of the horticultural delights of Chester station are in fact the unintended consequence of an idea put into effect by a rather imaginative (and for the time) forward thinking Area Manager, one Mr Eric Roberts.

Mr. Roberts' tenure at Chester in the early to mid 80's was quite different to what had gone before - he made great efforts to improve the image of the station (with I suspect very limited resources) as he was aware that the place had always 'enjoyed' the reputation as a tip with the good people of Chester and as long as I can remember was (and is) referred to as 'the hole' by railway folk.

Part of the improvements were the grand landscaping of redundant land, which included ornamental conifers and a neatly manicured lawn alongside the through lines - all visible for the delight of passengers from platform 3.

All happily attended to on a Sunday by the local p/way complete with mowers and pruners! Ah, those were the days!

Inevitably and perhaps predictably Mr Roberts' fine intentions have turned to rat-shit on a post privatisation railway.

The once manicured delights are now a wild jungle.

Unfortunately those on platform 3 can still see it, in all its neglected glory.

I often wonder what Eric Roberts would have to say about it.

Sadiq says...

Via Twitter

Princess Badiya of Jordan will be there too. I need to make sure I remember Royal etiquette!

Poor old Willie Hamilton will be spinning in his grave.

Sadiq says...

Via Twitter...

I have written to George Osbourne today asking him to confirm the Tories are committed to £1 bil spending/annum for concessionary fares

How much?!?

What are the passes made of - solid gold?

UPDATE: This from the Commuter...

I hope the Tories don't commit to spending £1bn on Concessionary fares.

Why should an OAP with no mortgage and thousands in savings be permitted to travel for free on buses and trains in certain areas whilst others are paying through the nose?

The actual cost of it is much higher, elsewhere across the country, underfunded councils are having to cut money from services such as parks and transport in order to fund this extravagance.

What a waste of money.

This was, presumably, a Party Political Broadcast from the non-Dave-aligned Conservative Party!

Network Rail to dispense with MOMs?

This just in from 'Marshy'...

Good news indeed for those whose journey's are interrupted by fires alongside the railway.

According to Network Rail: A new robot-based service has been launched to help fight fires and support other major incidents, in particular those where acetylene gas cylinders which can become highly unstable are involved.

One assumes that said robots will be PTS or IWA certified as a minimum and will be able to don HiVis and take a T3...

2009 Railway Garden Competition #14

Our latest entry is a genuine Railway Garden!

This from the London Evening Standard...

A memorial garden for the victims of the Clapham rail disaster has been neglected for so long it is "unrecognisable", claim commuters.

The piece is accompanied by a truly splendid picture.

Obviously Vegetation Management just isn't Network Rail's thing.

UPDATE: This from Mr Saltaire...

Whilst on the subject of Railway Gardens have the Eye and Mr Harris nothing better to do with their time than bicker over weeds?

Sadiq says...

Via Twitter...

Just driven a coach around a training circuit, in and out of cones. Nat Exp examiner reckons I'm a brilliant driver. No bridges this time!

Looks like NatEx's bus operations are safe then... Cosmen allowing!

Lookalike XXIV - Rev Dame Stephen Sorby