Thursday, 25 February 2010

General Election update

***Twitter abuzz with rumours that Gordon might go to the country as early as next week.***

Sadiq says...

This via Twitter...

Just back in London from Beds and Herts where I experienced rural buses. Used buses in Luton, Hitchin, Shefford and Flitwick. And then FCC..

What could that ellipsis mean?

"Additional trains" for the North in weeks?

This from the BBC...

A DfT spokesperson said: "We are currently involved in detailed commercial negotiations to deliver additional trains for the busiest services in the north of England. We hope to make an announcement about this in due course."

Meanwhile Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) "has invited Lord Adonis to come to Manchester in the next few weeks, when they hope to make a further announcement."

Exciting news indeed.

But what's this?

As any fule kno there is no suitable spare rolling stock anywhere in the country, and short of robbing trains from routes serving evil Tory constituencies to provide them to Labour heartlands in the North West these is little that Adonis or DafT can do.

So where will these magical "additional trains" be conjured up from and at such short notice?

Eye understands that the Noble Lord was recently shocked to discover that there are oudles of Mk2s and Mk3s sitting in sidings doing nothing.

In particular some 30 Mk3s that are currently doing nothing whilst under the control of nationalised East Coast (prop. A Adonis).

With little room for manoeuvre and the need for good headlines in the North can we expect an immanent return of loco hauled trains on "the busiest services in the north of England"?

Eye looks forward to travelling aboard a "Pork Barrel Express".

Wanted - industry teams for Three Peaks Challenge

This from the Railway Children...

The search is on for people in the rail industry to take part in a unique challenge.

Railway Children, a charity helping children living on the streets, is looking to recruit 50 teams of four people to take part in a mountain expedition.

It involves climbing the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland – travelling between the mountains on a special train.

The aim is for each team to raise a total of £3,500 for the charity – to fund outreach projects with street children in the UK, India and Africa.

To enter a team of four in the June Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Railway Children, please call Katie on 01270 757 596 or email

Take a look at the website for more information –

Ministers force officials to flip - Shocker!

It's amazing what you can find on You Tube.

The following two videos have been produced to help DafT press officers show their ministers in the best possible light when using a Flip Camera.

Eye is uncertain whether to be outraged at public money being spent on this agitprop training or grateful for the helpful pointers it includes.

Meanwhile Eye commends both videos to Eurostar's PR team - as nowhere do they advise filming in a broom cupboard. Ever!

UPDATE: This from StephenRees, via Twitter...

It looks like DafT have ruined our fun, they've removed both of those YouTube videos now...

Nice! Surely not through embarrassment?

UPDATE: Whilst the videos have now been removed here is a screen grab of the originals...

Mrs Interweb has a long memory!

UPDATE: This from RADA Luvvie...

This is priceless!

Trevor John - who did that flip camera training video - presents a
psychic radio show as well as apparently being a ministerial speechwriter.

Parliamentary language explained

This from the Noble Lord yesterday...

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much subsidy, if any, has been paid to the operator of the West Coast Main Line franchise since 2005.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
The Department for Transport routinely publishes details of contracted base franchise payments and receipts for individual franchise when they are let. Details for the west coast main line franchise is set out on our website and can be found at

Is this Parliamentary language for "My officials can't be arsed to answer your question"?

UPDATE: This from Sir Herbert Gussett (Rtd)...

Lord B asks Lord A for the subsidy paid to Virgin West Coast & Lord A refers him to an old press release.

Clearly Lord A is such a master of his brief that he forgets that since then track access charges nationally were re-based & a significant element of the high charge for using the WCML is now paid directly to Network Rail.

Virgin is now paying "a small premium" to the DfT (Source Tony Collins as quoted in Modern Railways).

Perhaps Lord B should now ask the following:

a) How much extra is the DfT now paying NR for the use of the WCML, despite the fact that it is so unreliable that Virgin is now the worst performing TOC!


b) Why Lord A is talking out of his ars... (Eye reserves the right to shorten reader comments due to pressures of space. Ed)

Franchising policy explained...

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

Surely this explains why the commercial close on IEP has been delayed?