Thursday, 21 January 2010

Eureka - a timetable with no clothes!

A word on today's exciting announcement that the new, improved, East Coast main line timetable will not now be introduced until May 2011.


Remember, you read it all here and here first!

UPDATE: This from our man at 222 Marylebone Road...

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We have been measuring punctuality in the same way since 1996 and no matter how you slice it we are more punctual than ever. There are now more trains on the network. We are certainly better than British Rail ever was."

Today's NR press release says: "The DfT has also asked us to look into the possibility of running a sub-four hour service each weekday from London to Edinburgh and back. We understand the benefits to passengers of reducing journey times, especially on a long-distance route such as the East Coast Main Line, and will always try to make the best use of the capacity available on such a busy route. Over the coming months we will consult with the eight passenger and freight train operators that use the East Coast Main Line to understand what is involved in attempting to introduce sub-four hour services and come to a decision that delivers the most benefits.”

So we'll take that as a 'no' then.

1991 ECML summer timetable, the first after electrification the 06.30 from Edinburgh arrived in London at 10.33, an end-to-end average speed of 97 mph including stops at Newcastle and York.

There was a Northbound 15.00 train from Kings Cross running a minute faster.

Subsequently the headline time came down to 3hr 59 min.

"Better than BR ever was"?

Prove it

UPDATE: This from Lobby Fodder...

It would appear that the open access lot aren't happy with the Noble Lord's shiny new timetable.

Apparently Grand Central are already consulting My Learned friends!

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

And Network Rail were not exactly amused to find that the agreed wording had changed overnight and that the noble lord had unilaterally committed them to 'facilitate' the sub 4hr London-Edinburgh journey time which is nigh on impossible in a clock-face timetable which assumes all trains run to the same timings.

And as for Adonis' pledge to reinstate the Flying Scotsman, doesn't he know it left Kings Cross at 10.00?

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

People are getting a little over excited about this election winning pork-barrel timetable.

If everyone just calmed down they would realise it will all be forgotten after the 6th May...

Watch Eye's lips - No New Trains!

This from the Daily Telegraph...

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, a Conservative adviser, has said spending cuts of £75bn a year are needed to tackle the economy and that the party should drop plans to raise taxes.

As new trains will be a luxury the country cannot afford that means the current fleets will have to run for ever and ever.

Eye fervently hopes that the UK's remaining "assembly plants" (nee train builders) are getting ready to offer some seriously cost effective life extension work.

Bombardier of Derby - that includes you!

NatEx "considers" bidding for current franchises

This internal announcement from the formerly doomed National Express (with a bowler tip to Sinoda):

Dear All

I wanted to update you about reports you may have seen in this morning’s newspapers, that Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport, has announced plans for the re-tendering of the East Anglia and c2c franchises as part of wider reforms for the rail industry.

The reports relate to the first step in the tender process which will see the outline terms for the new franchises sent to potential bidders. The next step will be the formal tendering process, which Lord Adonis has confirmed will not take place until after the general election.

Our position is that we will take time to consider the franchise documents before coming to a decision about re-tendering.

One of the things being proposed is that the c2c franchise will be known as Essex Thameside. This is the Department for Transport’s (DfT) name for the franchise and does not impact on our c2c branding which we will continue to use.

We have a fantastic record of running railways and I know you will continue to focus on delivering great operational performance and unbeatable customer service. The recent bad weather has demonstrated the enormous efforts you make to ensure we run services for our customers.

c2c is the best-performing train company in the UK , a position it has held over a number of years. It consistently delivers the highest levels of PPM performance and has the achieved the best ever MAA in the rail industry of 96.2%. It has the best customer satisfaction rating amongst franchised operators in the most recent National Passenger Survey and operates the most reliable fleet in UK as recognised by the recent Golden Spanner awards.

National Express East Anglia has delivered consistent improvements in PPM performance improving its moving annual average performance from 85% in 2004 at start of franchise to 91.6% at end of Period 9 in December 2009. Our Service Improvement Plan is underway to introduce 30 new trains and17 refurbished trains as part of £185m deal with the DfT, and already we are delivering 28,000 extra seats for our customers each week.

We do a great job every day, and I know that’s a record we are all proud of.

As ever, I will continue to keep you updated with developments as and when appropriate.

Kind regards
David Franks

What a lot of words to convey a fairly simple message.

Allow Eye to translate: 'Adonis - you're a dead man walking. Tories - National Express is still here and if you let us, we can bring something to the party.'

Subtle, not.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

From Lord Adonis yesterday:
"Recent events have also shown how vital it is that we make it harder for operators to walk away from their franchises, so performance bonds will rise and we will expect much larger guarantees from parent companies."

And from today’s OJEU notice:
The future franchisees should have sufficient financial backing to place a performance bond and a season ticket bond. For Essex Thameside, these are expected to be up to GBP 15 million and GBP 20 million respectively. For Greater Anglia, these are expected to be up to GBP 40 million and GBP 70 million respectively

So National Express will indeed need to bring something to the party if they want to retender

Namely bonds to the value of £145 million!