Thursday, 1 July 2010

Rich man declines bonus - Shocker

This from the Gruaniad...

Peter Hendy, TfL's most senior official as London transport commissioner, has declined a bonus of £132,409 in addition to his salary of £330,198.

In an implied dig at his Network Rail peers, who said a performance-related pay scheme delivered better results for taxpayers, Hendy said TfL received public funds and had to "set an example".

Good effort.

'Nuff said.

ORR looks at East Coast timetable again

The Office of Rail Regulation today confirmed that it would "consider any alternative uses" for the London - Lincoln paths granted to East Coast.

Previously the state owned operator had said that they would operate seven return services a day between Lincoln and London. However, modelling work suggested that this service pattern would lose approximately £9m a year.

In its place East Coast proposed running just one daily return service from London to Lincoln and four shuttle services from London to Newark.

Other operators had protested that East Coast's revised proposals did not make best use of scarce resources on the ECML.

In a letter sent today to stakeholders Brian Kogan of ORR said:

As most of you will be aware, East Coast has recently announced that it no longer plans to operate seven weekday services each way between Lincoln and London. Instead it wishes to operate just one service each way, with a further four services each way operating between Newark and London. It has indicated that it intends to submit a track access application to amend its rights.

We have received representations from other operators pointing out that this is the second significant change to the destinations served since NXEC Trains Limited (National Express East Coast) submitted its original application for track access rights in June 2008, and suggesting that East Coast’s revised proposals do not make best use of the capacity available on the East Coast Main Line (ECML), and therefore that we should evaluate alternative proposals.

In November 2009 we agreed to East Coast’s request for a change of destination from Leeds to York. The reasons were set out in a letter to the industry dated 25 November 2009. But circumstances are now somewhat different:

  • a key reason for agreeing to the original change was that, taking account of performance and journey time issues, it would be better if the new services continued beyond Doncaster to York rather than Leeds. No such argument applies in respect of the proposed change; and
  • the service to be provided by East Coast to a new destination is significantly reduced.
For this reason we think we must consider any alternative uses for the capacity that other operators may put to us when we decide whether to approve East Coast’s new proposals.

However, we are not proposing a further major change to the timetable. Considerable time and effort has already been expended by Network Rail, train operators, funders and other stakeholders on the development of the standard pattern timetable, for implementation in May 2011, and it is not our intention that Network Rail should have to undertake significant further timetable development work. In particular, the broad pattern of the timetable should be as currently developed, and capacity must remain available within the standard pattern timetable for freight operators to run both Class 4 and Class 6 freight trains on the ECML.

We wish to make it clear that when evaluating any realistic alternative uses of the capacity available, we will not evaluate them solely against East Coast’s revised Lincoln/Newark proposals, but instead will do so against the amended SLC2 as a package, of which the Lincoln/Newark proposals form a part.

The ORR has asked for proposed alternatives to be submitted by no latter than 16 July 2010.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Swift...

I have a radical proposal to dovetail in with the ECML KX- Newark shuttle, it will be easy to implement as passenger flows will not be significant.

1. When the shuttles arrive at Newark, get all the passengers off and place them on a Newark to Retford shuttle.

2. When the Newark to Retford shuttle arrives at Retford, get all the passengers off and place them on a Retford to Doncaster shuttle.

3. When the Retford to Doncaster shuttle arrives at Doncaster get all the passengers off and place them on a service to York.

And what’s more – read this in reverse for a solution to the UP direction services, plus the added bonus of changing trains will be the opportunity to view the flourishing Railway Garden at Retford.

Hey Presto – we have extra York to London paths!

I must get this off to the ORR straightaway.

Phwoar - What a stunner!!!

This from Glenda Flagg...

Hats off to Rail Professional - it knows how to get the fellas pulses a racing.

Sticking Rail Barbie on the cover, a winking and a pouting through her long blond tresses with that come hither look.

Hither or thither, Glenda doesn't care!

Rail Barbie is welcome to ride our train anytime!! (shurely run our failing franchises anytime? Ed)

Move over Mr Coucher man, there's only one candidate for the Network Rail top job and it ain't Ice Lady Vickie!!! Geddit!?!!? (You're fired. Ed)

UPDATE: This from Fiscal Rectitude...

I note from the list of quangocrat salaries published today that Elaine Holt is paid between £180k and £184.999 a year to chair Directly Operated Railways.

As DOR only runs the East Coast franchise (which has its own MD) I am struggling to see what Rail Barbie actually does to earn this not inconsiderable sum.

Which ever way you look at it the East Coast/DOR management structure seems remarkably top heavy.

Do we really have to wait for the McNulty review before making the obvious saving?

Sparks effect at risk of fizzling out?

This insightful contribution from Thomas Docherty MP (Dunfermline and West Fife, Labour) in yesterday's Commons Energy Efficiency debate:

One thing that brings a wry smile to my face is hon. Members talking of the need for more railways and electric cars.

Those are admirable suggestions, and I support them, but it is never explained where we will get the energy to power those new electric trains and cars.

If we compare our consumption statistics with our supply statistics, the result is worrying. At its peak in 1998, the nuclear industry provided approximately 90,000 GWh. In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, that had fallen to 48,000 GWh, although it has risen again slightly since then. At the same time, many of our coal-powered stations are coming to the end of their lives.

By the end of the coming decade, all our Magnox nuclear power stations will have closed, as will almost all of the advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear power stations and many of our coal-powered stations-either because of new European regulations on carbon emissions, which both sides of the House would support, or because they have simply come to the end of their lives.

I suggest that we need to understand that, although the aim of being more efficient in our energy consumption is laudable, we face a massive energy gap that needs to be addressed.

Eye fears that the greatest threat to further electrification may not be a shortage of money, but a lack of juice.

Railway Garden Competition - Windsor Central

Rail Professional - making MPs accessible

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
Voters of Lincoln keen to talk to their new MP can now reach him night or day courtesy of Rail Professional magazine!

The very latest edition boasts a startlingly benign hagiography of Elaine Holt (44, married, one cat, a rabbit and 'model looks' we learn, helpfully) by Alan Salter (who he? – Ed).

To support the puff piece the mag's cover has a splendidly posed photo of the Directly Operated Railways supremo, smiling coquettishly into the lens through tumbling tresses, with her desk carefully decorated with appropriate 'props'.

And what carefully chosen props they are – a mug with “I love chocolate” patterns on it provides the necessary feminine touch and by way of counterpoint, a strategically placed document about the new ECML catering arrangements reminds us that the abolition of almost all traditional dining has been successful in reducing On Board Service costs.

So far so good.

However, Rail Amateur readers cannot live by bread alone – there must be circuses too.

Clearly changes to the SLC2 timetable are much occupying Elaine's mind at the moment and so, of course, there is a file upon her desk entitled 'Lincoln MPs'.

Close study reveals it to contain the profile of one Karl McCartney, Lincoln's newly elected Tory MP.

It tells us that “Lincoln Station is in his constituency and he has campaigned for the introduction of East Coast Lincoln services”.

But photo sessions with the great and good can be chaotic affairs and in the rush to get the lights working and for the subject to refresh lippie and eyeliner, there is always the risk that something will be missed.

And so it came to pass.

Added to McCartney's profile, in an unknown hand, is the MP’s mobile number.

Anyone wishing to discuss with Karl the one up and one down direct train that constitutes the tattered remains of the promise to give Lincoln a direct service now know where to reach him.

Just say Rail Professional gave you the number...