Thursday, 17 June 2010

Lincoln's loss as Eurek undone!

As predicted by Eye on Tuesday there is bad news for the East of England


Train operator East Coast has today announced a number of amendments to the planned introduction of a new timetable from May 2011.

Under the amendments, most of the planned new London King’s Cross – Lincoln services will now operate between King’s Cross and Newark, with one through train per day in each direction between Lincoln and King’s Cross. As a consequence, it will not be necessary to introduce an additional fleet of trains (five Adelante Class 180s), and the daily service to and from Lincoln/King’s Cross will be resourced from within the existing East Coast fleet.

The amendments to the timetable changes proposed will result in a net saving of £9 million per year compared to the original plans.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Elaine Holt, Chief Executive of Directly Operated Railways and Chairman of East Coast, said: “I know this will come as a disappointment to many people, especially to those in Lincoln who were looking forward to a much improved direct service to London.

“We had believed the proposed new Lincoln services would provide more through trains for customers from the region – and this formed an important part of the Eureka! timetable changes. However, given the very tough economic climate, all parts of the Government are looking to see where efficiencies can be made.

“We’re very pleased that two through services will be retained for Lincoln.”

East Coast mounted an extensive information and consultation programme earlier in 2010 in England and Scotland to communicate details of the proposed Eureka! timetable. As a result, the company processed 1,500 feedback enquiries and the results of this work were passed to Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation and the Department of Transport.

East Coast will be communicating the details of the latest changes to stakeholders over the next few days.

Seven weekday trains in each direction had been planned for the new Lincoln/London King’s Cross services, using the Adelante Class 180 trains.

Now, the modified service pattern will include a single direct service from Lincoln, in the morning departing at 07.22, arriving at King’s Cross at 09.21 (calling at Newark, Grantham, Peterborough, Stevenage, and London King’s Cross). During the evening peak, a single direct service will leave King’s Cross at 19.06, arriving at Lincoln at 21.00.

Four additional services will be available in each direction between Newark and London King’s Cross, provided by East Coast’s nine-carriage trains, and providing valuable extra capacity on this busy route. These will link to connecting services between Newark and Lincoln.


Lincoln must be pleased it elected a Tory MP.

UPDATE: This from Tony Miles...

The campaign to keep the three Adelantes with Northern Rail, pending the delayed return of its Class 142 Pacers from FGW because of the 172 fiasco now steps up.

No doubt the various ITAs will be asking for Northern to be allowed to borrow the other two 180s currently at Bounds Green until the Government does something about serious overcrowding in "The North".

The North, for members of the new Transport Team, is that place above Watford that you have probably read about in books.

UPDATE: This from a Southerner...

Whilst Parliamentary Under-Secretary Mike Penning is the only Minister without a direct rail remit, he is MP for that well-known constituency of Hemel Hempstead, which when seen from the glorious south (of the Thames) is very definitely North of Watford.

Admittedly it may not be as far north of London as Stretford - but there again, Miles' own country might be considered to be 'deep south' by the denizens of Thurso.

Meanwhile, if Northern wants the 180s, they are welcome to them. At least we don't [yet] have to worry about them appearing on the Lymington branch.

UPDATE: This from Live Culture...

There will be no money for the ITA's to take the Adelantes on.

So that leaves the open access mob to scrap it out.

Unless Sir Humphrey can suddenly find a pot of gold to stop them.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Damon Powell (presumably in Lincoln?)...

Its OK, as long as they terminate them at Newark, we can get there, because a week or so ago, Stagecoach in Lincolnshire launched their new bus service from Lincoln to Newark North Gate (which originates at Grimsby - fancy that, just like the train!).

Its supposed to link us to Newark North Gate so we can get London trains there.

Here is the interior which admittedly is much superior to a 153:

Now, I can't figure out what's best about the service...

a) The fact that it's Stagecoach Bus competing with Stagecoach EMT


b) That most of the buses are timed to leave Lincoln 5 or 6 minutes before or after the train to either Newark Castle or Newark North Gate, but takes twice as long as the train does!

Shurely a case of Stagecoach 'improving the efficiency and value for money of rail franchises'. Ed

UPDATE: This from Tony Miles...

Perhaps I could point out that Northern already has the funds for three Adelantes as they are "in lieu" of the Pacers loaned to FGW at the DfT's request. I'm sure any shortfall is made up by the DfT as it brokered the loan.

If DfT decides the Pacers will have to stay with FGW longer (it has decided this actually) then it'll have to let Northern keep the 3 Adelantes a bit longer.

As for the other two, well GMITA is very miffed that WYITA got local support for additional rolling stock & nobody in the N West was as generous.

Maybe it's time for them to start a campaign in the spirit of the Wars if the Roses over who will fund two more trains?

UPDATE: This from King Henry...

The question now is whether ORR's forthcoming 'lessons learned' review of the East Coast saga is ruthlessly honest about the collective madness or whether it is another outpouring of guff.

Another bloody nose for DfT Rail.

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
More bad news for the Department for Transport

Having failed to get any money out of the ROSCOs, DfT Rail has now lost its challenge to SWT's cap & collar claim at arbitration.

Still at least they didn't go to court, saving a few millions in legal costs.

How long before someone takes responsibility for these bad judgments and resigns? (Presume this is rhetorical question - Ed)

Ministerial Statement on Franchising


My Department will shortly begin a consultation exercise on the future of rail franchising policy. This consultation will provide industry partners with the opportunity to comment on the Government’s approach to rail franchising and whether bidders for longer franchises would be able to offer investment in improvements to trains and services. It will also allow the industry to set out its proposals for improving the efficiency and value for money of rail franchises, for both taxpayers and fare payers. I will set out further details to the House in due course.

To enable the next Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises - which are currently in the process of being re-let - to fully reflect the changes resulting from this review of policy the competitions for these franchises, which were started in January 2010, are to be cancelled.

It is currently expected that a new competition for the Greater Anglia franchise will be advertised by the end of the year, after the consultation responses have been considered, with the Essex Thameside franchise following in Autumn 2011.

So that's the formerly doomed National Express back in from the cold.

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

As with all ministerial statements the important bit is what is omitted.

So no reference to what is planned for nationalised East Coast.

Or for that matter the superfluous additional layer of bureaucracy that is Directly Operated Railways.

My departmental colleagues play a most amusing new game.

It is called 'What is the point of Elaine Holt?'.

Answers on a postcard please to Petrol-head c/o Marsham Street.

UPDATE: This from The Major...

Eye's cut and paste of Villiers' statement on franchising omits the final paragraph which talks about East Coast.

It doesn't say much of course... simply talking about "some consequent changes to the procurement timescales previously published".

I guess that means EC stays in state hands for longer.

Changes at Network Rail?

***PA reporting that Iain Coucher may be leaving Network Rail***

More to follow...

UPDATE: This from Network Rail...


Thursday 17 Jun 2010 10:30

Iain Coucher has informed Network Rail’s Board of his intention to step down following eight years with the company, including three years as chief executive. He will remain in his post over the coming months and will be involved in the search and recruitment of a successor to allow for a smooth and orderly transition.

Network Rail chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, said: “Iain has been an outstanding leader for Network Rail both as chief executive and deputy chief executive. During his time with the company Britain’s railway has been transformed with improved punctuality which is at record levels, safety improved and billions removed from the company’s costs through efficiency saving. What was a company with enormous problems in 2002 is a strong and stable one today – and Britain’s rail users and taxpayers are the main beneficiaries.

“The Board and Iain agreed that ,with Network Rail one year into a five year financial settlement, now is the ideal time in our financial and regulatory cycle for Iain to hand over to a new chief executive who will guide the company through the process of reviewing our funding with the Office for Rail Regulation for the next regulatory control period and address the next phase of challenges in its transformational journey.

“Iain and I are working closely together to find a successor and then deliver a smooth and orderly transition, all the time focussed on making sure that throughout the period the company continues to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient railway.”

Network Rail chief executive, Iain Coucher, said: “I am enormously proud of what the Network Rail team has achieved over the past eight years. Britain’s railway is now on a sure footing for the future.

“Following three years as chief executive, and five before that as Deputy, now is a good time for me to move on. The company needs continuity of leadership throughout the next five year regulatory review period.

“Leading the thousands of dedicated railwaymen and women that make up this company has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. I know that under the management team we have in place, complemented by a new chief executive, they will continue to go from strength to strength in the future.”

A process to select a new chief executive is now underway, led by the chairman, Iain Coucher and the Board.

Notes to Editors:

Iain Coucher biography

Iain Coucher has been chief executive of Network Rail since 2007, having been deputy chief executive for five years before that.

Previously, Iain was chief executive of Tube Lines, one of the preferred bidders for the London Underground public private partnership. Before joining Tube Lines, Iain worked for EDS for 15 years, culminating in heading up the company’s mergers and acquisitions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He was seconded to the TranSys consortium between 1996 and 1998 as its chief executive and led the development of the Underground’s Oyster smartcard ticketing system.

He was also responsible for delivering the IT PFI to London Underground that provided the company with a new IT infrastructure.

Iain is an engineering graduate from Imperial College, London and also has an MBA.

Department for Transport - an epicures delight

Although Transport is one of the more lowly Departments of State it can on occasions get right up there with the best of them.

So it was with a sense of pride that the Fact Compiler discovered that DfT officials have won both second and third place in the coveted Troughing Stakes.

This from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism via the Daily Telegraph:

Here are the most wined-and-dined mandarins in Whitehall, based on the published hospitality information for central government departments, and FOI research.

1. Dave Hartnett, Permanent Secretary for Tax, HMRC

Accepted hospitality on 107 occasions.

2. Mike Mitchell, Director General National Networks, Department for Transport

Accepted hospitality on 89 occasions.

3. Simon Webb, Director General: International Networks & Environment, Department for Transport

Accepted hospitality on 80 occasions.

How noble that Messrs Mitchell and Webb should sacrifice their waistlines in pursuit of a better understanding of transport issues.

In these austere times an example to us all.

Of course such onerous duties take it out of a man, so it comes as no surprise to discover that Dr Mike will hang up his napkin in November.

Discreet soundings are already being taken on who should replace him.

Eye understands that an ability to think on your stomach heads the list of candidate attributes.

UPDATE: This from The Master...

Presumably it is safe to assume that Dr Death wasn't wined and dined on East Coast...