Friday, 12 March 2010

Eye breaks into mainstream media - Official

Fame at last!

Whilst your Nigel Harrises, Roger Fords and Christian Wolmars swan around the broadcast media the team behind Railway Eye have achieved true fame in no less a mighty organ than the Western Gazette: (who? Ed)

Since The Western Gazette reported UK Railtours' refusal to stop its train at Sherborne, company owner John Farrow has reiterated his argument on popular the internet blog Railway Eye. (this is almost gibberish are you sure you want to run this? Ed)

To view Eye's original story click here.

Meanwhile your humble scribblers are off to celebrate our fabulous new found fame with a very large... (no you're not - you're all fired. Ed)

NR neglecting Tay Bridge - Shocker

This extra-ordinary image of the Tay Bridge from Google Maps, with a bowler tip to Mercator...

Mercator continues:

The Road Bridge has an equally slipped connection.

Fife appears to have grown by between 15 and 20 yards at this point.....relative to Angus on the north shore.

What more proof do you need that the interweb is the devil's work!

Eye salutes the man behind the 'Y' route for HS2

The Fact Compiler has been wondering where the Thin Controller got his idea for a Y shaped HS2 route?

No, it's not possible - is it?

UPDATE: This from Lobby Fodder...

I think this is what you are looking for.

It has been commissioned by a grateful nation and shows
The Thin Controller in his HS2 trollies.

It will have pride of place in the new Euston Arch - gateway to the HS2 station.

North Norfolk rejoins the Network - Shocker

So good news from the North Norfolk Railway!

This from ITV Anglia Tonight...

An extraordinary thing happened on Thursday: hundreds and hundreds of people, possibly even thousands turned out for the opening of a new level crossing in North Norfolk.

Can it be long before NR issues a press release entitled: Sheringham 'would it kill you to wait?'

UPDATE: This from a Mr Tilly...

Some more photos of the opening event here.

Rain forest vanishes in DafT photocopier

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
This Written Answer from the Noble Lord given on the 10th March:

In the latest year for which figures are available, the Department for Transport spent £328,471 on photocopier paper.

This figure excludes spend by the Vehicle Operator Services Agency, which could only provide the information at disproportionate cost.


On photocopier paper!!

And how much of that was down to the late and unlamented IEP?

Railway Risk Management explained

This from Moley in the House on the 9th March...

Recent improvements in the industry include the introduction of new train protection systems, new rolling stock and better management of the infrastructure. The independent rail safety regulator, the Office of Rail Regulation, has acknowledged a steady improvement in railway safety standards, and the UK's record is comparable to that of other western European countries. To build further on this strong safety record, the high level output specification for rail calls for a 3 per cent. reduction in the risk of death or injury to passengers and staff by the end of 2014.

With the country broke no doubt DafT knows exactly how it will achieve this 3% reduction in risk... operate 3% fewer trains!

A french perspective on the HS2 route

This just in from Claude Bottom...

You Roast Beef are zo funny.

In your Chilterns you have Messieurs Les Nimby complaining about the route of your LGV Deux.


En la Grand France we welcome such things.

And if our government fails to provide a gare to compensate for ze blight then it is guerre!

So Monsieur Bufton Le Tufton pull up les socks, embrace le change and campaign for Shooter Hauptbahnhof! (is this right? Ed)

UPDATE: This from our man in a railway carriage near Compiegne...

Lieber Fakt Kompiler.

I zink zat my meine freunde Klaus von Bottom from Alsace Lorraine let his cover as a cheminot slip when he referred to Herr Schuter's railway.

Letter from an Aerodrome - BHX trounces BAA

Telegrammed by Biggles
Questions will no doubt be asked at the British Airport Authority’s (BAA) Heathrow bunker this weekend over how the HS2 link hit the blocks.

HS2’s report was dismissive of the suggested link, sniffily pointing out that over 80% of prospective punters for HS2 will want to get to Central London, and not be delayed by 9 minutes taking the scenic route via Heathrow.

Meanwhile the big aviation winner in the HS2 plans unveiled by Adonis yesterday is Independent Birmingham Airport’s (BHX) - which should gain a swanky new Airport station, putting Birmingham International Airport just 38 minutes from London and encroaching on Heathrow’s lucrative customer base.

The HS2 team also saw through a ‘Trojan Horse’ report from the Conservative Bow Group – which whined on about the importance of feeding ever-increasing numbers of punters to Heathrow.

Industry cynics see the Bow report as a pisspoor vicarious attempt to attract volume, thus justifying the deeply loathed third runway at Heathrow (prop. BAA) rather than distribute aviation to other UK airports with spare capacity.

The BHX change of fortunes results from a happy planetary alignment which saw new Chief Executive Paul Kehoe parachuted in during 2008, to give the Birmingham BHX regime a good shake-up (shurely 'kicking'? – ed), with a new gospel that the world did not end at the county boundary.

Since then Kehoe has orchestrated a £50 million new terminal, and is well on his way to starting work on a runway extension which will see BHX competing on a level playing field with all the other ‘big boys’ for very long-haul aviation business.

Adding HS2 to the mix will signal open season on the cosy coterie of so-called London Airports who are terrified that new long-haul airlines may choose Birmingham instead.

BAA’s spin machine was caught off guard when Reichsmarshall Kehoe deployed his secret weapon - none other than the sharp-shooting and combative Baron Von Richtmorris (former Virgin Cross Country PR monkey John Morris).

After shredding the ludicrous ‘Boris Island’ Airport proposal, Morris cheerfully declared that BHX should feature on the Underground Map as, in journey time, it would soon be in Zone 4 – closer than Gatwick, Stansted, Luton – or even Heathrow on a good day. Evidently an Aviation Wonk promoting rail has succeeded in winning friends in high places.

It helps of course that Kehoe is not an aviation ideologue. He has caused more than a stir in the rank and file of aviationistas by suggesting that the German Model – to ‘fly the train’ and mix modes should not be beyond the wit of man, even in Britain. If some short-haul European business goes to rail then so be it – there are bigger fish to fry.

He also infuriated BAA, BA and Virgin bosses at the AGM of the Airport Operators Association (ATOC for the flyboys) by pointing out that Heathrow had six runways in 1946 and they’d been rather careless in losing four of them. Such was the old guard fury over this witty observation that it was excised from the official record of proceedings!

Whilst aviation industry grandees find his approach irksome, Kehoe has impressed politicians of all colours by his practical yet blunt style which offers solutions without making huge demands on the local environment or the public purse.

His killer blow was that Birmingham has slots to spare – claiming it can take another 9 million extra passengers without pouring a drop of concrete and that Birmingham could provide a Solution to the ‘Heathrow Problem’ for around 2% of the cost and without slating 700 homes for demolition.

Clearly BAA was over confident that Adonis and HS2 Limited would fall in line, sheep-like, as so many politicians and transport planners have done before.