Monday, 12 July 2010

Railway Garden Competition - Solihull

With a bowler tip to @BorisWatch, via Twitter

Villiers vignettes....

An occasional series celebrating the relationship of the Minister of State for Transport with her Department...

This answer given by Theresa Villiers on Wednesday the 7th July, (with a bowler tip to Flat Cap and Whippet):

Sadiq Khan:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what new rolling stock orders have been placed for each rail franchise since 2007. [4042]

Mrs Villiers: Rolling stock orders for franchised operators since 2007 are as shown in the following table.

Franchise Order date Type Vehicles


May 2007



London Midland

August 2007



London Midland

December 2007



Chiltern Railway

January 2008




March 2008



Virgin West Coast

September 2008



And where are the Greater Anglia 379s that were ordered on 2nd April 2009?

This isn't the first time that the Minister has misled the House.

A previous statement on HLOS rolling stock given by Villiers contained double counting!

When prompted by Captain Deltic a Special Advisor (SpAd) said she would raise it with the officials concerned.

Good to see that the Coalition promise to reduce the power of SpAds over Civil Servants has already been delivered on!

UPDATE: This from the Major...

Sadiq Khan is obviously enjoying his time in opposition.

As Shadow Secretary of State he gets to ask questions of the new Government in the full knowledge that the answers given will be crafted by the same lacklustre officials who previously made him appear a laughing stock at the Despatch Box.

Evidently the Department's officials have learned nothing from Foster's excoriating review of their communications skills.

UPDATE: This from The Hatter...

According to Theresa's answer new rolling stock has been ordered for the Virgin West Coast franchise.

Sadly this also is not strictly true.

The new Pendolini were procured by Virgin Rail Projects (
prop. Beardie, but an entirely seperate company to Virgin Trains) for the West Coast franchise.

These much needed, overcrowding busting, trains are due to be delivered from July 2011.

Sadly, owing to
Officials on the line and the wrong type of Civil Servant, they will not actually carry any passengers on the West Coast Main Line until 1st April 2012 when the new franchisee - not necessarily Virgin Trains (prop Beardie) - is due to takeover.

Happily this tax payer funded rolling stock will sit comfortably in sidings for many months, without turning a wheel in revenue earning service, because Sir Humphrey says so.

Welcome to Fred Karno’s railway.

Stockade station - HMP Walton

This from a Mr Mallins...

Welcome to Walton.

The closing of the station to facilitate ticket barriers, on both sides in this case, is an horrendous sight.

Looks just like a prison.

UPDATE: This from King Henry...

What I don't understand about horrors like the barricades at Walton is that the project must have involved dozens of people and a budget decision.

And yet not one single manager had the sense to say, "stop, this is utterly incompatible with our efforts to welcome passengers".

Railway Garden Competition - Basingstoke

This from the Ninja...

Day of the Triffids recreated in the old bay at Basingstoke.

Bearing in mind the void into which the unaware might drop, this is perhaps one location where platform fencing would offer a real safety benefit...

Pointless signs - Willesden Junction

With added spelling mistaked...

With a bowler tip to a Mr Cox