Monday, 5 July 2010

Ding dong the train is dead!

***Foster review of IEP expected 07:00 Tuesday morning***

More tomorrow...

UPDATE: This from Reuters...

A decision on whether to proceed with a programme to replace the Intercity Express trains will be taken alongside a wider review of government spending in October, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

No shit Sherlock.

UPDATE: Foster report here...

And just a flavour to wet your appetite:

The Department for Transport’s strategic positions have appeared to some in the industry as susceptible to change and unpredictable. Questions are asked about the coherence of IEP, extended electrification, high speed rail and overall strategy.

The real issue here, I believe, is that there has been insufficient communication between the Department and the industry, including communication about IEP, and this has opened the way for significant negativity to develop. This is a key area for attention and further improvement.

This problem, particularly with IEP, appears to have been amplified by DfT’s procurement approach, which has placed heavy emphasis on commercial confidentiality and thus relied on independent advisers and consultants rather than industry expertise. This has engendered a sense of disengagement and disenchantment which I believe could and should largely have been avoided. I also ask a number of questions about arrangements for managing the costs and coherence of independent advice within the Department.

Smooth words fail to mask damning conclusions.

UPDATE: This from the Shunter...

Erm, so the review concludes by suggesting a further review?

I propose that Captain Deltic should be remitted to do it, but by Friday lunchtime, if he needs that long...

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Whilst Sir Andrew has taken a notably gentle tone, I found this variant of the motorist seeking directions in Ireland, diverting.

"I must record here that if I had a reasonably blank sheet of paper I would not manage the programme like this"

As for the suggestion made by The Shunter -
please accept my apologies, but owing to pressures of work the earliest I could do this is next Wednesday.

UPDATE: This from the Torygraph...

The announcement by Mr Hammond could also jeopardise as many as 12,500 jobs which the previous Government said would have been created or safeguarded by the project.

Indeed - in Japan.

UPDATE: This from @sharpsharp, via Twitter...

From p22:

Depending on the exact mixture of newly acquired, re-engineered and cascaded rolling stock, and the technical approach to the provision of services beyond the present electrified network, it seems likely that more than half of the benefit on the East Coast route, and probably around three quarters of it on the Great Western routes, could be captured for between 40% and 60% of the cost.

Eye congratulates the Department for Transport on its masterful understanding of Value for Money procurement.

Pointless Garden Competition - Conflation edition

This from Cheers Joe...

I notice that the themes of your blog have met head on at Limehouse.

I do not know whether that station also has pointless announcements.

However, I am always reassured by the announcements at SouthEastern stations that warn one to take care on the platforms "due to an incident of weather".

Pointless signs - A 2002 vision of the future

LUL - In the Brown stuff...

Telegrammed by Spinning Charles Yerkes
The pink ‘un had an interview on Friday with London Underground MD Mike Brown.

Brown, recently restored to us from his sabbatical at Heathrow, throws full light on the fall out from the collapse of Tube Lines.

  • Northern line resignalling delayed until after the Olympics
  • Piccadilly line upgrade postponed sine die, with further development work required on the signalling interface between the Picc and District in west London where they share right of way but not Infracos.
  • The interface between the Met line and the Jubilee line – another rubbing point between Metronet (dead) and Tubelines (almost deceased) – is cited as a project where things could have gone better.
  • The £1 billion resignalling of the Sub-Surface lines is being rescoped and relet next year, much to the dismay of Invensys (formerly Westinghouse) who had been a shoe-in under the Metrodebt tied supply chain but must now compete in open contest. Completion is not expected until 2018, until when the new S Train fleet will potter around under the old electro-mechanical arrangements, with train stops, and not get anywhere near the 50% increase in capacity promised.
  • Jubilee line resignalling, due for completion this autumn, won’t be. “We have not yet got into the detail of where we are on the programme and where its delivery schedule should get it,” Mr Brown told FT hack Robert Wright.
Beg pardon?

TfL agreed to buy Tube Lines in early May.

In two months, with full access to everything Bechtel and Amey ferrovial were doing, is it such a shag up that LUL still can’t discover an end date? (Yes. Ed)

Dame Shiti Vadera is 48 (ish, according to wikipedia) and Gordoom Brown is missing.

Pointless signs - the audio version

This from a Mr Malins...

There are as many, probably a lot more, pointless announcements as there are pointless signs.

At Bridgend there is an automated one running on the footbridge with the same message, but interestingly only in English.

Surely they could have added Welsh for good measure, and this one runs all night, even when there is no traffic.

Maybe it's for the Clubbers coming back from Swansea, who are in no condition to take it in anyway.

Back to the future - NR adopts double arrow

It appears that Network Rail's Midlands Region can read the runes!

The arrows of indecision clearly looks a safer bet than doomed NR's back of a fag packet logo...

UPDATE: This from Our International Correspondent (and others)...

The Met Rly/GCR boundary sign at Mantles Wood is very smart, and even the proportions and perspective on the "BR" double arrow are right, so unlike Banbury and other piss poor examples see Eye Passim.

But why is this sign so nice, when usually for NR any old thing will do?

Because, to judge from the typeface and colours, it isn't an NR sign. It's a TfL production.

The opposing sign which would be the responsibility of NR - "You Are Now Leaving Coucherland - Use the SPT to ask a Grown Up before passing this point" - is probably not nearly as smart, if it exists at all.

First Network Rail?

The Independent on Sunday will have caused many a ruined breakfast with its list of industry figures keen to take on Iain Coucher's job.

According to the Sindie the great Dr Mike 'Death' Mitchell "is understood to have privately expressed an interest in the role."

No doubt this joyful news will have been welcomed by the nation's interior designers, whose skills will now be in great demand to remove embedded cornflakes sprayed into soft furnishings.

Once recovered from the Heimlich Maneuver industry bigwigs will also have been comforted to read that two further First alumni - Nicola 'Not So' Shaw and Andrew 'I Closed the Skies' Haines - are also rumoured to be in the frame.

Perhaps there is a chapter on career progression in Sir Moir's Lovely Book?

Fortunately, before any further damage was done to the nation's stock of rail executives, the Sindie piece made clear that NR has hired headhunters, Egon Zehnder, with a brief to seek candidates with experience running international companies.

The resulting sighs of relief issuing from across industry breakfast tables are apparently audible in deep space.

Pointless signs - York