Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Birchwood bow introduced for lanky pax

First there was the Harrington Hump.

Now Eye brings you the Birchwood Bow.

No doubt designed this way to cater for the taller passenger?

Pointless signs - Flixton

With a bowler tip to D0260

Pointless signs - Stourbridge Town

This from KingBBoogaloo...

Only one platform with one Pans People Mover serving one destination...

And still it gets three pages!

Virgin Trains - what's in a name

This from Tony Miles...

Virgin has its Pendolinos.

It has its Mk3 "lookalike set" dubbed the Pretendolino.

Now it has its short-Pendo - 390004 - down to 8-cars after Network Rail managed to almost write off one vehicle at Oxley - and dubbed this week the Petiteolino

They will also need a name for the 11-car sets when they are delivered..

Might I suggest the Extendolino?

Eye prefers the alternative name for the fleet - the Bendydildos.

UPDATE: This from Signor Mario Caravadossi in Roma...


I am disappointed that you 'ave forgotten that Pendolino is an Italian word when naming variations on the theme.

Pretendolino must be the first and last example of such Italish or Englian.

The eight car set now running must be the Piccolino and the extended 12 car units the Lungolinos.

That's all for now, the firing squad awaits. But do not fear, the rifles will be loaded with blanks.

Someone has bought Rail Express - Shocker

This from Billy Connections...

No - not just a single copy - the whole thing!!

Lincolnshire-based specialist magazine publishers Mortons Media Group Ltd, has purchased RAIL EXPRESS magazine from Foursight Publications Limited.

Assistant Editor Gareth Bayer will be moving to the role of Editor. Production of the title will transfer to Mortons Horncastle offices.

Philip Sutton will continue to develop other business interests, including the existing limited edition model commissions, from his offices in King’s Cliffe, near Peterborough.

Mortons also publish Heritage Railway magazine.

Transport Select Committee - Chaired by Labour?

Conservative blog The Blue Nation is suggesting that Labour will retain the chairmanship of the Transport Select Committee.

So will we see the return of Louise Ellman?

Eye of course would prefer that Tom Harris becomes the new Madame Chairman (with a deep doff of the bowler to the late and much lamented Gwyneth Dunwoody).

Unless of course Tom has an eye on a Shadow Cabinet post...

UPDATE: This from Tom Harris' blog...

"I’m not quite prepared... to give up hope of taking the fight to the government from the opposition front bench..."

NR timetabling - a tale of woe

Evidently the introduction of Network Rail's much vaunted Integrated Train Planning System has not gone well.

A stinging letter to Messrs Plummer and Gisby from the the Office of Rail Regulation (sadly not on the ORR's website yet) dated 20th May states:

Your introduction of the new integrated train planning system for the May timetable change has not gone well...

We understand that the problems encountered have included trains disappearing from the base timetable, an inability to handle portion working, operators unable to impost bids electronically and delays to the publication of the national rail timetable. This has affected data quality in downstream systems such as LENNON and ORCATS and TOC reservation systems, with knock-on effects on passenger and freight customers...

We are therefore investigating your management of the introduction of ITPS and its impact on operators and their customers...

There are three strands to our investigation:

A. to investigate the circumstances leading uo to the recent timetable problems, including the planning, testing, risk assesment and "go-live" decisions you took around ITPS;

B. to establish the direct impact of the introduction of ITPS on train operators and their passenger and freight customers; and

C. to review your plans for meeting your obligations in the short term and for ensuring these problems are not repeated in the long term (including at the December timetable change).

We hope to finish our investigation by the end of June...

Oh dear.

Producing a working timetable is pretty much the day job for Network Rail.

But at least one piece of good news.

Presumably the agenda for July's Annual Meeting will be too busy to allow similar scrutiny of the ITPS debacle by NR's plastic-shareholder 'members'.

How Whitehall works...

This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

My esteemed former colleagues in Marsham Street tell me that their new masters, having got used to their new desks and red boxes and cancelled some expenditure, are looking for examples of their new Department's previous 'micro-management'.

Of course in true Yes Minister style the Marsham Street mandarins have a Plan A - which is to claim it was all a figment of RAIL's imagination, which should keep the pressure off for a few days.

Ministers will of course came back with 'What about IEP then?'

Here Plan B comes into play, admitting that the specification was indeed a disaster but that lessons have been learnt...

Fortunately the arrival of Sir Andrew Foster's review of the IEP on Friday should provide enough distraction to take us well into June. By which time our new masters should be dependent on what their officials tell them - like all good ministers.

It's always a tricky weaning ministers off their independent sources of information.

Fortunately the election saved us from Lord Adonis who had an annoying habit of making policy off his own bat!

UPDATE: This from Nigel Harris over at RAIL...

What's this?

..a figment of RAIL’s imagination

Typical - when in doubt, blame the press.

It’s a damned calumny I tell you.

Transport Select Committee news

MPs are to vote for the membership of select committees.

The secret ballot of the whole house will replace the previous system of appointment by Whips.

The Government accepted that recommendation of the Wright Report that Ministers and PPSs should not vote in the ballot for the Chair of committees which shadow their departments.

Nominations will close at 17:00 on Tuesday, 8th June.

The ballot will take place the following day, Wednesday 9th June between 10:00 and 17:00