Monday, 28 June 2010

Railway Garden Competition - St Pancras Irrigation

Railway Garden Competition - Cardiff Central

Who should replace Iain Coucher?

The race to replace Coucher has already started.

Yesterday the Independent on Sunday suggested that NR directors Robin Gisby and Simon Kirkby might be interested in Iain's enormous bonus (shurely challenging role? Ed).

With industry bigwigs already being asked their views on who should become Network Rail's new Chief Executive it seemed only right, in the spirit of openness and transparency, that Eye readers should also have an opportunity to participate in the Great Succession Debate.

Each week Eye will post a new selection of names and invite you, dear reader, to use your skill and judgement to decide who could best replace Iain Coucher

Our first category is Men of the Moment.

And the nominations are:

  • Tony Hayward (BP CEO) - Well qualified in clearing up a mess
  • Gen Stan McChrystal - Well qualified in managing relationships with government
  • Fabio Capello - Well qualified in managing over-expectation.
  • Gordon Brown - Well qualified in listening to taxpayers
You can vote on the right hand side menu bar....

EDM calls on NR Members to block bonuses

Halifax MP, Linda Riordan, has sponsored the following Early Day Motion:

"That this House views with deep concern the decision of Network Rail Board to pay senior management a total of £2.4m in bonuses for 2009/10; notes that Network Rail is heavily reliant on taxpayer funding; further notes that the decision was reported in a week when everyone was asked by the Government to share the burden of reducing Britain's deficit; considers such payments as being unjustified and inappropriate and calls on the public members of Network Rail to vote against such bonus payments at the impending Network Rail AGM."

Sadly if Coucher and co wouldn't listen to the ORR or the Secretary of State for Transport then Eye doesn't hold out much hope for this succeeding.

After all NR's Public Members are famed for their ability to hold the 'private' company to account.

On the plus side - at least it affords a further opportunity for MP's to show their utter contempt for NR's money-grubbing directors

Railway Garden Competition - Birkenhead Central

This with a bowler tip to @kpmarek, via Twitter...

Transport Select Committee News

Eye understands that it is proving somewhat of a challenge to recruit the full complement of MPs to some Select Committees.

In yet another unintended consequence of the Wright Reforms MPs are proving backwards in coming forwards to take on roles.

Westminster insiders suggest that restrictions on MPs travel allowances and reductions in staffing budgets mean that some older hands are unwilling to shoulder the additional workload. Especially where Select Committee's meet on Mondays or Fridays

This means that many of those elected to serve on the new Select Committees are also new to Parliament.

Take for instance the Transport Select Committee.

Conservative Home provides a list of those who have been elected to serve as Tory members of the TSC.

Conservative members: Angie Bray (Ealing Central & Acton)*, Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne)*, Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)*, Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South)* and Julian Sturdy (York Outer)* Members marked with an asterisk are new to Parliament*:

Not one old hand amongst them..

Reassuringly, according to Labour Uncut, the opposition party's nominees include some older and therefore perhaps wiser heads, including former Transport Minister Tom Harris:

Labour members – Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South)*, Tom Harris (Glasgow South), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) and Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge) Members marked with an asterisk are new to Parliament*:

Meanwhile from the LibDem's not a murmur.

Apparently the coalition party hopes to confirm which of their MP's have been elected to which Select Committees by Wednesday of this week.

Expect formal confirmation of Transport Select Committee membership week commencing the 4th July.

With the Labour Shadow team somewhat thin on the ground Eye hopes TSC Chair Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside) has already booked Petrol-head for a grilling.

Three Peaks Challenge by Rail

This from a Mr Houghton...

Dear Fact Compiler

Would you be willing to mention that Railway Vehicle Engineering Limited participated in the Three Peaks Challenge by Rail this weekend (24th - 26th June).

Hopefully the following vaguely humourous picture of our team scaling the heights might amuse your readers:

If any of your readers feel generous then donations can still be made here.

Eye is happy to support the Railway Children - if you haven't yet please do donate. Any more teams want a mention?

Railway Garden Competition - Newcastle

Railway Garden Competition - Brora

Pointless signs - International edition

This from Globetrotter...

I hesitate to propose a signalling instruction as a pointless sign, but at first glance this makes a good candidate.

Does this mean that EMUs can SPAD with immunity?

Maybe not ...

Knowing the location, I think I know what it is all about, but others may care to hazard a guess.

UPDATE: This from Bruce...

G'Day FC,

Is it because the next signal after CL11 is in tunnel, and the sensitive Queenslanders do not want to be barbequed by fumes from antiquities that burn their own fossil fuel on board?

Or get their nice OLE knitting coated with carbon deposits when said antiquity stands at danger?

If CL11 is green, the theatrical traction has the road all the way to the open air section.

Right Away Cobber!!

UPDATE: This from our International Correspondent...

Curiously, Queensland Rail, like Dick Fearn's IE, is taking the financial hit of training more steam men to safely - and sustainably - operate kettles.

How quaint of former dominions to unbelt for this - have they not heard of Wet Coat's money saving business model of bunging retired (or in some cases, rest day) DBS men £120 for a driving turn?

Cheap and dirty, like their XXXX (removed on legal advice. Ed).

Catalis Rail Training into administration

This from City Insider...

So. Farewell Catalis Rail Training,

Born out of the old BR training division and based at the former LMS training college in Derby it went into administration on Friday.

RTC Group plc (the "Group")

Catalis administration

RTC Group plc has today (Friday) put its Training subsidiary Catalis Limited into administration.

Although restructuring in 2009 brought the business close to breakeven in the first quarter of 2010, significant revenue shortfalls in the second quarter and the uncertainty over future industry spend on rail training has led to this action being taken. The Group had explored a wide range of options in respect of the Catalis business prior to taking this action.

All other Group companies continue to trade as normal.

Eye fears that this will not be the first rail business to fall victim to uncertainties over future industry spend.

Why new Thameslink fleet is essential

Today's FT explains the importance of ordering a new Thameslink fleet:

If he cancels the Thameslink order, Mr Hammond is likely to face criticism for failing to address the shortage of rolling stock on the Oxford route - one of the most heavily used in the country.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

UPDATE: This from the Raver...

I was amused to read the FT piece, in particular the reference to Wolmar 's 'Fire and Steam' sitting on Hammond's desk.

Apparently Wolmar had been to see the new Secretary of State earlier and the meeting did not go well!

When the 'transport expert' offered Hammond his tome he was curtly told "I know about railway history".

Showing his exhaustive knowledge Petrol-head then went into a rant demanding to know why trains received priority over cars at level crossings, even when it's just "a two coach train".

Sadly the FT is unclear whether cricket mad Wolmar managed to connect with the Sectretary of State when he bowled the book onto his desk...

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

Why does the Financial Times send people who know nothing about Transport in general and railway policy in particular to interview Transport Secretary Philip Hammond?

Does it matter that they confuse Thameslink with the residual orders of the HLOS 1300 extra vehicles?

Does it matter that that apparently don't know about the Foster Review let alone McNulty?

Well, yes, if you are a multinational bidding for railway business in the UK and your main board in Paris, Berlin or Montreal rely on the FT for their over-view.

Has Hammond really ''frozen an order for hundreds of carriages destined for Thameslink"?

If he has the FT has a genuine scoop. Or has he just frozen two minor contracts in the HLOS capacity requirement?

Still, when it comes to finance, the FT shows all its traditional expertise and insight.

A commitment to 33% cuts would mean 'shaving £5bn from the department's annual budget of just under £16bn'. No shit Sherlock! Nobel prizes for economics have been awarded for less penetrating analysis

Where is FT Transport Correspondent Robert Wright and his faithful 'railway veteran' companion when we need him?

BMA quackers

This from the Observer:

Doctors are calling for an alcohol ban on all public transport, including intercity trains and cross-Channel ferries, in an attempt to stop drunks annoying fellow passengers.

Eye calls for a similar ban on Doctors, for the same reason.