Thursday, 1 April 2010


Twitter sources reporting Network Rail gets court injunction to prevent RMT strike

More to follow...

UPDATE: This from Network Rail...

Network Rail head of operations and customer service, Robin Gisby said:

"The signallers strike is off and train services next week will run as normal. This is good news for the millions of passengers who rely on us every day, and for our freight users and for the country as a whole.

"A dispute with the unions remains however, and we have a responsibility to our people to continue talking to the unions to find a settlement that works for us all."

UPDATE: This from the Archer...

Signallers can’t strike, maintenance staff still can!

UPDATE: This from @swlines...

Read between the lines "Services will be normal until something fails and then there will be no service until strike over."

UPDATE: This from Channel 4 News...

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: "This judgment is an attack on the whole trade union movement and twists the anti-union laws even further in favour of the bosses.

"Workers fighting for the principle of a safe railway have had the whole weight of the law thrown against them. Our executive will meet this evening with a recommendation for a re-ballot."

March visitors

In March Railway Eye received 32,001 visits from 8,552 unique visitors.

According to Google Analytics you viewed 43,223 splenetic utterances in total.

Thank you.

ATOC claims 99% of railway spend is waste!

This from the Archer...

Further to Eye's earlier piece on RAIL's expose of the doomed nature of railway financing, did anyone else hear Michael Roberts of ATOC on Radio 5 this morning?

He rolled out the following amazing statistic:

"For every pound that is spent on services by the government just one penny is spent on running the railways."

To Listen Again click here and go to 1:51.51 into the programme.

The canny journalist obviously wasn’t going to be caught out by what he must have thought was an All Fools' day wind-up.

If only this were so!

UPDATE: This just in from
@EdwardWelsh, not via Twitter...

I am delighted to see that it wasn't just Michael and I who were up at the crack of dawn this morning.

I am confused, however, why you think that "services" applies only to train services?

When talking to a national audience, I think you can safely assume that they would know he was referring to all government services and not just train services.

Happy All Fools' Day.

Strikeballs - The Grauniad

Reports of the demise of National Express East Coast appear somewhat exaggerated...

Unless this is what passes for All Fools' Day humour in Kings Place?

Maundy Thursday at St Pancras

Evidently railway padre and St Pancras station chaplain, the Rev Jonathan Barker, takes Dominical Injunctions seriously.

Although Eye is struggling to find any specific reference to the use of Cherry Blossom in John 13.

Industry bust by 2020? Eye told you so!

Telegrammed by Bulldog Drummond
RAIL (issue 640) breathlessly reports a shock meeting on 14 March where Dr Mike Mitchell told railway chiefs that the industry faces economic meltdown by the start of CP6 (2020).

Of course this won't be news to Eye readers who were told this was going to happen wayback in December 2008.

The CP4 settlement exacerbated the problem and by 2014 leaves Network Rail with a £31.5bn debt mountain costing a cool £1.7bn to service.

If this goes on to 2020 DafT has come to the conclusion that NR's debts would cost £4.5bn a year to service and that 'urgent, radical reform is needed to slash costs generally.'

What was even more surprising is RAIL's description that eighty ashen-faced industry chiefs 'listened in shock' to this news.

What do these guys do all day?

They certainly don't read Bill Emery's vivid prose, look at what passes for Network Rail's company reports and, crucially, don't understand that even gravy trains can hit the buffers.

But Eye readers can relax.

RAIL reports these comforting words from a Network Rail spokesman: 'Our debt payment charges are more than manageable and only increase by affordable investment that's supported by a business case which delivers a positive return over time. By 2014 Network Rail will be amongst the most efficient rail infrastructure providers in the world, having cut 50% of its costs...'

So that's all right then.

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

But that doomsday debt scenario is dependent on DfT using the Network Rail credit card (aka the RAB) to the max and ORR letting them do it.

And ORR is already questioning Lord Adonis flashing the plastic on electrification.

So the real message from Mike Mitchell is 'things will get really nasty if my Secretary of State carries on spending money he hasn't got and ORR hasn't budgeted for'.

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

It's all very well Bulldog calling RAIL's cover headline 'breathless', but if you had a scoop wouldn't you be a bit up front?

What is more interesting is that the meeting was held on 4 March, yet there was absolutely nothing about it in Informed Sources published three weeks later.

No doubt Captain Deltic will try to cover up being last with the news with a smokescreen of brain numbing analysis.

Whatever happened to boiling frogs?