Friday, 28 May 2010

Thameslink fleet - caped or not?

Much furious spinning yesterday following the suggestion on Radio 4's You and Yours that the new Thameslink fleet might already have succumbed to early DfT cost cutting.

Regular readers will recall that on the 24th May Eye revealed that:

The Department will not be going forward in 2010-11 with planned spend on the HLOS rolling stock schemes that have not already been contractualised.

But did this include new build for Thameslink?

You and Yours suggested it did - whilst Thameslink spinners said it didn't.

First blood went to the spinners when this appeared in Railnews yesterday:

THE Department for Transport has denied reports that government budget cutbacks have led to the cancellation of the order for new Thameslink rolling stock.

The DfT statement blames confusion over its announcement that orders under HLOS not already signed would be cancelled but that "...the major rolling stock orders for the replacement Thameslink fleet, as well as the new trains for Crossrail, are not included in the present HLOS totals."

But what's this?

According to then Rail Minister Tom Harris on the 30th April 2008:

Hansard - 30 Apr 2008 : Column 428W
Rolling Stock: Thameslink

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new carriages for Thameslink announced on 9th April 2008 are in addition to the new carriages announced in July in the White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway. [202209]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 28 April 2008]: Some of the new vehicles for Thameslink are a component of the 1,300 new vehicles announced in July 2007 in the White Paper ‘Delivering a Sustainable Railway’ which committed a high level output statement (HLOS) for the railways. However, Thameslink and the HLOS have overlapping timescales. The HLOS vehicles are required to be delivered by March 2014. The final complete fleet of new Thameslink vehicles are required to be in service by December 2015.

And this from the DfT's own 'Rolling Stock Plan':

50. The vehicles required for the Thameslink Programme KO1 in 2011 are included in the total of 1300 new vehicles. It is expected that some of the vehicles required for the full KO2 service in 2015 will also be introduced during CP4.

So in short it already looks as if Thameslink will get less vehicles. Now time to truncate the route...

UPDATE: This from Sim Harris, Managing Editor at Railnews...

Actually, dear Fact Compiler, we do know about KO1.

But MOST of the proposed Thameslink fleet is KO2, isn’t it?

That’s why we said “major rolling stock orders”, not wishing to get too deeply into it. And KO2 is surely outside the “HLOS 1300” -- an increasingly mythical concept in any case.

But DafT is adamant that no decision has been made about the main fleet. And the HLOS cancellations are for this financial year only

Anybody got any spare 319s? All right, I’ll get my coat.

UPDATE: This from PZT...

Tsk, tsk!

"Fewer vehicles", not "less vehicles"!

Because vehicles are countable objects...

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Boys, boys,

I know that tables are tedious but all you need to know about the HLOS 1300 is available in the latest Informed Sources - available at all good newsagents.

The HLOS 1300 needed around 330 Thameslink vehicles to make up the total.

But with the delay in ordering the Thameslink fleet, the current target for financial close in December this years means that, at the most, 120 could be delivered by the end of the current Control Period.

What is more important is that Mr Miles has forced the Department of Transport into its first inexactitude just over a fortnight into the new administration.

Quite simply, we can't trust what we are told.

As for the order cancellations being for this year only.

Dream on.

Wolmar love bombs Petrol-head Hammond

Evidently the new Transport Secretary's interview in yesterday's Standard has done nothing to reassure Wolmar.

So enervated was the push biking hack by Petrol-head Hammond's disdain for cycling that he has issued a challenge via his blog.

Wolmar invites Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to:

"jump on your bike and come for a ride with me around the West End on a busy Friday evening and I will show you how its done".

As an enticement, the text is accompanied by this fruity image.

'Nuff said!

Wurzels enter train building market

This just in from Adge Cutler...

It is good to see that the strong representation of West Country folk in the English community around Zaragossa has been recognised by CAF when naming their new high speed train concept.

Train names nowadays are designed to be pronounceable in any European language, so the Wurzels will be entering next year's Eurovision song contest with a tribute to the CAF Ooarris.

Oi've got a bran new 'igh speed train concept.
An' you can have a total train service provisioon contract

UPDATE: This, unbelievably, from Long John Silver somewhere on the Spanish Main...

'Old 'ard, Adge me 'earty.

Them devil dogs of Spain be tryin' to publicise their Ooarris train to the in'ernational pirate community

'Ere be our website

UPDATE: This from Jake the Pake...

G'day, Cobbers

The Spanish community here in mutlicultural Oz reckon that the new train is named after there adopted Cultural Icon Rolf.