Wednesday, 6 January 2010

NR asset failures are TOCs fault - Official

Exciting news from Network Rail!

Apparently the infrastructure owner is trying to blame "ice falling from trains" for infrastructure failures.

Presumably NR's latest wheeze is designed to shift fault attribution and bolster its PPM performance during the current adverse weather conditions.

Eye has a couple of novel suggestions that might really help address the problem of equipment failure in adverse weather.

Perhaps NR should clear snow from the area "On or About The Line" so it can't interfere with trackside equipment.

And whilst they are at it why not also have a go at improving ride quality so that impacted snow and ice isn't dislodged from trains when passing over switches and crossings.

A foolish dream of course.

UPDATE: This from Network Rail's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...

The weather is brutal. Transport will always be hit. Roads and airports especially so.

Remarkably, train performance, in the main has held up well in difficult circumstances.

In my experience the hallmark of the last few days is how closely train operators and Network Rail have worked together to keep most lines running.

Of course there will be a time for fault attribution and I know there are those who criticise the fact that the rail industry employs people employed to do this.

All I will say on that subject is - much as I hate to use a phrase from the world of management consultancy - it's true; if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

Getting to the bottom of what causes specific delays means that we can focus on how to minimise such delays in the future.

The most important work going on across the network now is the tireless work of railwaymen and women who are keeping the tracks clear and the trains running the best they can in tough conditions.

And to illustrate the point here are some of NR's finest at work.

Above: Off track team on fault clearance Thatto Heath

Above: Chainsawing felled trees in Anglia

Above: Snow duty

Snow plays havoc with Adonis plans for NatEx!

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
Let's hope that Lord Lenin Adonis is keeping his promise to monitor closely the performance of the remaining franchises operated by evil National Express.

Under cover of the snow chaos those back-sliders and recidivists at ludicrously named c2c are not only operating a full timetable but as at 12.00 the PPM for the day is a risible 97.67%, with three trains arriving outside the TOC's 4 minute target!

The sooner Elaine Holt takes over, the better...

UPDATE: This just in from Rudi over at Merseyrail...

Merseyrail trains are running normally (as they did yesterday) to the normal (not revised!) timetable with PPM for today at 94% at the moment.

And remember, our trains are 3rd rail and there is lots of snow on the ground; not usually a good combo...

There have been no buses at all on Merseyside since 1700 last night and a lot of roads are closed or impassable so we are virtually the only way of travelling into and out of the city.

All of our staff got to work first thing this morning, a lot of them on foot, and all stations are open.

Good effort!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Patrick...

Down here we have cars stuck in driveways and at the side of the road, airport closed and all local buses suspended but 4 trains per hour from my local station to the city centre with minimal delays!

Just goes to show what the real 21st century mode of transport is!

UPDATE: This just in from Captain Deltic (for it is he)...

What a strange coincidence, the two TOCs with the highest PPM scores also seem to cope best with the worst weather conditions since the last ice age - and on busy commuter routes.

Could this be a reflection on the quality of the management by any chance?

Who killed the Railway Forum?

So farewell to the Railway Forum which shuffled off this mortal coil on the 1st January 2010.

Yes, the grey men have finally done in the invisible man!

Set up at privatisation to give the industry a united voice the Railway Forum was laid to rest by an unholy alliance of Network Rail, ATOC and the Railway Industry Association.

Of course any suggestion that the grey men hoped we wouldn't notice is completely wide of the mark, which is why the Railway Forum website is still up and running.

Sadly the abolition of the Railway Forum is a signal that the industry really isn't bothered about speaking with one voice on anything.

A triumph for narrow self interest and factionalism but a victory for the DfT and the slick lobbyists of the aviation and automobile industries

Eye salutes all involved!

UPDATE: This from the Continuity Railway Forum...

I thought Eye's readers might be interested in the following press release which was almost issued this week:


There was widespread delight today that the Railway Forum which represented all sides of the industry has finally been abolished.

Michael Windbag of ATOC said, "This is wonderful news. Now we do not have to be bothered pretending that we are a united industry and we can get on with feathering our own members' nests."

Paul Faceless of Network Rail added, "This just goes to show that we are in charge and don't you dare forget it!"

Jeremy Bureaucrat of RIA, said "I am delighted that we have finally killed of an organisation that was dangerously enthusiastic, put the case for rail and had several ideas which were not invented here."

The Forum's last Chairman, Richard Tunnel-Chaos, speaking from a broom cupboard, concluded "Basically we lost the will to go on, but I 'm not really to blame. Any news on my pay rise?"

No funeral and no flowers requested!

UPDATE: Wolmar also mourns the Forum's passing...

It was the membership that was the problem.