Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Follow the Social Media Train in realtime...

For those of you who are twitter-monkeys...

You can follow those aboard tonight's Penistone Line 'Social Media Train' at #smtrain...

I know Eye am (or should that be is?).

UPDATE: Listen to the latest Audio-boos (broadcast or 'live' sound files in old money) here.

That RIP poster...

Make your own here.

Lord Adonis resides in parallel universe

This surreal response from the Noble Lord, given in the Upper House yesterday:

Lord Dykes (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of suggestions for gross cost contracts for future rail franchises.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
Gross cost contracts would place all revenue risks of passenger train operations with the public sector and would require the Government to be more greatly involved in specification and monitoring of all elements of rail operations, including the setting of fares, timetable development, revenue protection, service quality and marketing activities.

We do not believe that government involvement in such an approach would benefit users or franchisees. The Government believe that the ability of private sector operators to attract more passengers, grow the market, improve the service and receive the revenue benefits of such actions is a key element of the current franchise model and one of the reasons for the significant growth delivered in recent years. Our discussions with operators have generally supported this view.

Using your skill and judgment you may care to guess which one of these the Government is currently NOT directly involved with:

- Setting of fares (DOR recast of East Coast fares at the Noble Lord's behest )

- Timetable development (Adonis telling NR to path a sub 4hr London - Edinburgh service)

- Revenue protection (DafT proposals to increase penalty fares and demanding station gating)

- Service quality (Adonis specifies catering on train and at stations)

and marketing activities.

The clue is marketing...

But Adonis has had a jolly good go at pushing the All Line Rover, despite ATOC's best endeavours...

UPDATE: This from The Tailor....

The noble lord DOES get involved in marketing.

I am reliably informed that he personally approved the East Coast newspaper advert, which appeared just before Christmas, that sought to capitalise on the threatened BA strike by proclaiming the rail alternative.

All very laudable, but surely not in his job description?

PS The 'arm's length' DOR offices at Marsham Street are literally an 'arm's length' from m'Lord's very own throne room.

Memorial Service for Derek Holmes

The memorial service for Derek Holmes will take place at 12:45 on Tuesday 23rd March 2010

The service will be held at St Mary’s church, Eversholt Street, NW1 1BN.

The church, which is the usual venue for the industry carol service, is on the corner of Eversholt St and Aldenham St; approximately five minutes walk from Euston Station.

The service will be conducted by Father John Caster, the vicar of St Mary’s parish church and the London Transport Choir will provide musical support.

Will the last one at Tube Lines turn out the lights

Dean Finch will become Chief Executive of National Express Group on February 15th 2010.

Tube Lines gain is National Express' loss (shurley shome mishtake? Ed)

European Rail Timetable is a Security Risk - Official

This from UK.Railway on Google Groups...

Once a year I buy a Thomas Cook European Passenger Timetable.

Today tried to buy one from (WH Smiths) Luton branch. They would not sell me one unless I either produced my passport (yeh I really do carry that with me to buy a book) - or some other identification - and even then give personal details.

They said this is now company policy for security reasons.

Is there no end to this hysteria?

How in God's name did we ever survive the 70s and 80s when the Fenians were on the loose?

UPDATE: This from Reuben over at Thomas Cook (no less)....

Just a couple of points about that....

1. He tried to buy it from the Foreign Exchange counter at the Thomas Cook branch, not WH Smith as they don't sell the Timetable in their high street shops.

2. The assistant that served him had unfortunately misunderstood a Cook's policy regarding FE sales where as part of a drive to cut down on money laundering it is company policy that anyone exchanging money must have ID. It has been communicated to all Thomas Cook stores that this policy does NOT apply to the sale of guide books and Timetables!

As well as being available at the FE counters of many Thomas Cook store, both the European and Overseas Timetables are of course also available to purchase online (where you get a discount!) or directly over the 'phone by calling 01733 402002.

Hope that clears this up!

Election debates - And then there were two!

Evidently the industry is determined to ensure that at this General Election transport isn't allowed to slip below the political radar!

Eye hears that there are two debates planned where the parties respective Transport spokesmen/women will have their feet held to the fire.

Over at Nigel Harris blog he explains the difficulty he has experienced in securing Theresa Villiers for a debate a mere two weeks before the General Election.

Meanwhile the South East area of the Institution of Railway Operators have already planned their debate, sponsored by CSRE, with Messrs Hammond MP, Mole MP, Baker MP and a muesli muncher from the Green Party.

Election 2010 - The Rail Debate will take place on the 17th March and attendance is apparently free!

Details here.

Tafia bans Charter Operators from the Ryder Cup

Exciting news from the Tafia!

Punters keen to see the energetic Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup had better be aware of the following draconian restrictions placed on those attending the event.

According to an email from ATW's Contracts and Compliance Manager:

Due to concerns of the Ryder Cup organisers and the security arrangements that will be put into place, all trains conveying attendees to the Ryder Cup must use Newport station, where all attendees will be security screened prior to onward travel to the venue. They will then be transferred to specifically approved coaches for onward transportation into the Celtic Manor venue. There will be a 2 mile exclusion area around the venue; no pedestrians, private cars or non-approved coaches will be allowed in that area.

No doubt such extreme measures have been designed to protect what remains of the Principality's female virtue.

But what's this?

Arriva Trains Wales, famed for its desire to provide its own services over other operators routes, is apparently less keen to allow Charter operators in on the Ryder Cup action.

The email continues:

No trains, other than timetabled services, will be permitted to call at Severn Tunnel Junction station during this period. (In any case, there would not be enough space in the car park for coaches to wait and pick up, and the coaches will not be permitted into Celtic Manor). Please also note that we will not be in a position to accommodate steam haulage, deal with the disposal of bagged rubbish or provide facilities for the tanking of rolling stock during this period.

Good to see the Welsh rail operator safeguarding its own patch so zealously!

UPDATE: This just in from Pillbox...

You get more people in Cardiff on a Six Nations weekend than will most likely go to the golf (always 100k plus for Wales home matches).

This looks like overkill and going for the lowest common denominator rather than trying to accommodate demand.