Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thin Controller no more?

***Twitter sources suggesting Lord Adonis will not stand for Shadow Cabinet***

More to follow...

UPDATE: The Master texts...

Adonis has just announced that he's standing down as Shadow Transport Secretary to allow the role to be covered from the Commons.

Source BBC News 24

Eye's previous post seems very prescient. There are more Shadows at a vampire convention than in Labour's Transport team...

UPDATE: Sources suggesting @SadiqKhan may get the Shadow SofS role.

UPDATE: New Shadow Secretary of State for Transport is

Secretary of State shows deep railway knowledge

This just in from the Wickerman...

Just been to the opening of Kings Cross' new platform, which was attended by our new Transport Secretary.

In his speech he gave a commitment to HS2, although on the proviso it goes through Heathrow.

For the first official train into the new platform, East Coast obliged by providing a manky mk4 set with a mouldy tea towel stuck to the front of the leading class 91.

And here our new Secretary of State shows his in-depth railway knowledge by safely exiting a Class 91 cab...

A picture paints a thousand words...

Wither Flying Scotsman?

This from Driver Bill Hoole...

Will new Transport Secretary Phil 'Hard Man' Hammond perpetuate his predecessor's Vanity Project which injected two sub-4 hour London-Edinburgh trains into the Eureka! East Coast Main Line timetable?

East Coast is still two minutes short of the Noble Lord's revived 'Flying Scotsman''.

Chasing down those elusive minutes must be using up Network Rail's hard-pressed timetablers
(shouldn't that be timetabler - singular? Ed).

The disturbing case of the missing Shadows

Don't expect too much excitement in Parliament over the thin gruel for Transport contained in today's Programme for Government.

With the LibDems joining the Tories on the government benches it leaves only Labour MPs to hold ConDem transport ministers to account.

Fortunately Labour MPs that previously held transport portfolios moved seemlessly into Shadow roles once the new administration took office.

At least they would have moved seemlessly if there were any left.

Of Labour's four former transport ministers at the General Election one is in the Lords (Andrew Adonis), two were defenestrated by the electorate (Clark and Mole) leaving just one remaining in the Commons (Sadiq Kahn).

Having one Shadow in the Commons to face off a team of four ministers, including the Secretary of State, is less than ideal.

In the normal course of events this democratic deficit will be addressed when Labour selects its new leader at Party Conference, whereupon the division of Shadow spoils can recommence.

However, that's four months away and clearly today's Shadow Transport Light is neither good for scrutiny of the executive nor for users of Britain's transport network.

It's not even as if there is any shortage of Labour MPs who are knowledgeable or passionate about transport; why four even turned up at King's Cross yesterday to welcome an Adelante!

So quickly beefing up Labour's transport team in the Commons shouldn't be a problem

Perhaps Ms Harman might care to address soonish?

Programme for Government - Transport policies

The Coalition Government has published its 'Programme for Government' today.

Here is the transport section:

The Government believes that a modern transport infrastructure is essential for a dynamic and entrepreneurial economy, as well as to improve well-being and quality of life. We need to make the transport sector greener and more sustainable, with tougher emission standards and support for new transport technologies.

  • We will mandate a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • We will grant longer rail franchises in order to give operators the incentive to invest in the improvements passengers want – like better services, better stations, longer trains and better rolling stock.
  • We will reform the way decisions are made on which transport projects to prioritise, so that the benefits of low carbon proposals (including light rail schemes) are fully recognised.
  • We will make Network Rail more accountable to its customers.
  • We will establish a high speed rail network as part of our programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for creating a low carbon economy. Our vision is of a truly national high speed rail network for the whole of Britain. Given financial constraints, we will have to achieve this in phases.
  • We support Crossrail and further electrification of the rail network.
  • We will turn the rail regulator into a powerful passenger champion.
  • We will support sustainable travel initiatives, including the promotion of cycling and walking, and will encourage joint working between bus operators and local authorities.
  • We are committed to fair pricing for rail travel.
  • We will work towards the introduction of a new system of HGV road user charging to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers.
  • We will stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras and switch to more effective ways of making our roads safer, including authorising ‘drugalyser’ technology.
  • We will tackle rogue private sector wheel clampers.

No mention of IEP and Thameslink.

A cautious commitment to electrification.

Phased HS2.

And apparently farewell to Passenger Focus?

Atkins communication strategy exposed - Shocker

This from Billy Connections...

Clearly the recession is beginning to bite.

Here Modern Railways new ad sales supremo Chris Shilling asks Sue Foster of Atkins whether she'd like to place an advert trumpeting the company's successful involvement in the London Underground PPP...

So just the one page then?

UPDATE: This from Atkins' Marketing department...

To whom it may concern,

I am writing regarding your post this morning on the Railway Eye blog. I would be grateful if you could remove the post including the photo of Sue Foster and Chris Shilling with immediate effect.

No permission has been sought to use this image, and the content of the post is defamatory to both Atkins and Modern Railways magazine.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly.

Thank you for enunciating Atkins' communications strategy quite so clearly.

Railway Garden Comptition - Boston

How kind of Network Rail to grow this bowling green for Railsports...

Railway Garden Competition - Factory Junction

This from Fiona Gail...

Here are some examples of the greening of the railway by Wandsworth Road and Factory Junction.

Please note the soaring buddleia trees on the viaduct.

Presumably Network Rail intend to decorate this one with tinsel come Christmas?

Railway Garden Competition - Abroad

This from Sealink Sam...

A couple of pics for Eye taken at Treviso, 30 mins north of Venice.

Above very green tracks...

...and an interesting advert that, judging by the liveries, seems to show Clapham Junction several years ago!

UPDATE: This from Driver Potter...

Now now, TFC - that naughty Italian advert clearly doesn't show Clapham Junction.

'Tis Victoria, old thing.

I claim my Monthly Anorak prize

Railway Garden Competition - Wakefield Kirkgate

Railway Garden Competition - Elephant & Castle