Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sadiq says....

Via Twitter...

Great piece in The Guardian about our plans for High Speed Rail. Recommended reading. Read it here

After following the link Eye fears that Sadiq may be preoccupied with the credit crunch.

The future of branch lines (episode 94)

It was Chris Austin, of the then Strategic Rail Authority, who dreamt up the concept of Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs).

With great fanfare and the full blessing of Beau Bowker he set about attempting to secure the future of many marginal railways, whilst cynics carped on the sidelines claiming it was mere PR piss-and-wind.

We cynics have been proven wrong.

The CRPs have delivered real improvements, not just by working with TOCs to improve service frequency but more importantly by making small incremental upgrades to passenger facilities; with the result that over recent years most CRP lines have seen enormous growth in passenger loadings.

As this extract from a memo from the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) confirms:

(TOC's name REDACTED) opinion is that, as far as rail travel is concerned, there’s little need to further promote the rural services as the majority are now full and therefore have a future. Any service improvements would require levels of rolling stock or infrastructure investment that would simply not be available or justifiable.

Good news indeed.

The memo makes the point even clearer by saying:

It is (TOC's name REDACTED) opinion however, that some CRPs are turning into lobbying groups (which they are not prepared to support) whilst others have effectively run their course, having succeeded in their aim to secure a future for the line.

So where does this leave the future of Community Rail Partnerships?

ACoRP helpfully suggests...

It’s apparent that in the current situation, CRPs in (REDACTED) are gradually seeing their rail role diminish. This doesn’t mean however that they have no future – they are after all, rooted in the community and should be addressing a multiplicity of other concerns such as access to work, local transport integration, environment, health and regeneration. CRPs might also benefit from looking at other transport modes, such as community and local buses, cycling and even walking.

When Community Rail Partnerships were established the railway was fighting a rear-guard action against the perceived threat of a reduction in the network's size.

Under the aegis of My Lord Adonis there is the real possibility that the network might actually physically expand!

Clearly, however, in these cash constrained times something will have to give.

The message is clear: CRPs broaden your base. User groups redouble your efforts!

UPDATE: This from Branch Line Boy...

I'm not so sure it was Chris Austin who dreamt up the concept of Community Rail Partnerships.

I thought it was Paul Salveson, late of AcoRP, now a big wig in Northern!

The Fact Compiler stands corrected!

UPDATE: Captain Deltic points out:

My Lord Adonis is quite scathing about the poor value for money of even ATOC's modest proposals for line reopenings.

The only way he wants to see the network expanding is through the construction of high speed lines.

See the Grauniad's on-going advertorials all this week (yawn).

Strange railway couplings

This just in from an incredulous reader...


Perhaps 1E23 was wearing a rather fetching mini-skirt, stilettos and white handbag combo?

Pearson's becomes family friendly?

Telegrammed by Lord Peter Whimsy
An extraordinary out of office email from FT transport hack Robert Wright...

"I am taking a day off to build a climbing frame for my children"

As Groucho Marx might have said "I didn't know you guys were allowed to have families."

UPDATE: This just in from the man himself!

I hadn't expected, I must admit, my working on the Jungle Gym Club, like the one seen here, to garner so much attention.

But, since it has, your readers might appreciate an update.

I finally completed work on the climbing frame - better described as a small, wooden house - at 9pm on Wednesday after spending Saturday and all of Sunday after church working on it.

The low point on Wednesday came when, after I'd dug substantial holes for the foundations, my electric drill, which has seen more work these last few days than in its entire previous life, gave up the ghost. There were 400 screws, each of which needed to have its position measured before a hole was drilled and the screw finally inserted.

However, rest assured, railway people. As with a new Bombardier EMU, there will be some retrofitting to correct manufacturing defects. I put the wrong kind of 80mm screws in a lot of the holes.

Also, the Fact Compiler shouldn't fear that I have a life.

Yesterday was taken as a day off in lieu for working this coming Sunday,

I left the office at 2.30am on Saturday and I've yet to take a day's annual leave this year.

Errr... thank you for this Robert. Eye is none the wiser but no doubt better informed.

2009 Railway Garden Competition #XXII

This just in from Rich...

For your viewing pleasure today, may I present Llandudno Junction.

The forest shown also doubles up as a small yard, complete with the strategically placed string of DBS owned wagons.

This is truly splendid Rich.

Thank you.

Notice how the foliage lovingly caresses the point mechanism.

No doubt, come leaf mulch time, this will serve to lubricate and protect the workings.

Perhaps Network Rail could learn from DB Schenker's low cost approach to switch and crossing maintenance.

UPDATE: A pedant writes...

Isn't it a rake of wagons in this country?

You're not a Septic are you?

Keep up the good work.