Tuesday, 2 November 2010

DB slashes a quarter of rail services

This from Wrexham and Shropshire, via RailUKForums...

Press Release

2 November 2010

Wrexham and Shropshire : Changes to Train Services

With effect from Sunday 12th December, Wrexham & Shropshire will be making changes to its timetable. Two off peak services each way will be combined and the company will move from four to three services direct to London Marylebone.

After analysing customer travel patterns, Wrexham & Shropshire have determined that several off peak services are too lightly-used to run profitably. The decision has been taken to combine the two least used weekday off peak services and run one less service in each direction per day. Saturday will similarly be reduced from four to three trains in each direction.

Wrexham & Shropshire is an innovative local train operator receiving no subsidy from the Government. The provision of services and profitability of the company is based directly on fares received by passengers.

Andy Hamilton, Managing Director at Wrexham & Shropshire, said: “Our unique position as a local train operator working without subsidy means that our viability is directly affected by passenger numbers. We have several trains that are not being used sufficiently to justify continuing to run them.

“We are passionately committed to the Wrexham & Shropshire business running a direct service from Wrexham to London Marylebone. The change will not affect travel for over 70% of our passengers and will allow us to focus our resources on growing our business where demand is greatest. We know that some customers will be inconvenienced, and for that we apologise.

“Our people take immense pride in the customer service that they deliver and they will continue to provide the award winning travel experience that has seen us achieve 99% customer satisfaction; the highest ever for any train company in this country.”

The changes are as follows

Wrexham to London Marylebone
The 11.27 and 15.25 trains will be replaced by a service at 13.28 arriving in London at 17.30.

London Marylebone to Wrexham
The 07.20 and 11.20 trains will be replaced by a service at 09.20 arriving in Wrexham at 13.20.

Passengers with concerns or additional queries should contact the customer service team on 0845 260 5200.


Election fever getting to Wolmar?

This from a Dr Frank N Furter...

According to the self styled 'leading transport commentator' in his blogpost dated 1st November:

'There are, apparently, three people on the short list to replace Iain Coucher as chief executive of Network Rail'.

But Network Rail announced that David Higgins had been appointed as Mr Coucher's replacement on the 28th September.

Perhaps all that historical research is confusing the railway's very own Grand Old Man of Letters?

Or is the excitement of the Democrats imminent election meltdown getting to Comrade Wolmar, who at this very moment is in the good old US of A researching his latest opus

Surely he meant to write 'there were'?

Let's do the time warp again.

UPDATE: This from The Major...

Never mind the mitherings over the timings of Christian's on-line version of his RAIL Magazine column.

What on earth is he doing in the First Class lounge at Newark Airport stuffing himself with free Virgin food and wine? Is he planning to defect to the Tories?

Will he be trading his bicycle for a Bentley?

Tories forced to clear up the mess they made

From Thursday we can expect to hear a series of announcements outlining how much railway the country can afford.

Amusing of course that it is a Tory Government that is being forced to make these difficult decisions.

Perhaps if they had listened in the first place then we wouldn't be in this mess?

Here a siren voice from August 1993:

"I get the feeling from talking to Government ministers that they see the post-privatisation British Rail as the same public service we have today, but with a Marks & Spencers private enterprise gloss.

"They seem to forget that private enterprise also gave us Maxwell, Barlow Clowes, BCCI et al.

"The scope for making a lot of money out of running railways, to the ultimate disbenefit of the traveller, is I suspect, considerable."

How prescient of Captain Deltic, for it was he.

Meanwhile, as the axe comes down, don't forget who got us into this mess.

Hitachi recruits for new factory - Exclusive

Eye can reveal that Hitachi has already begun recruiting for its new IEP factory!

This exclusive video, smuggled out of the new Newton Aycliffe facility, shows supervisors being trained.

Look - wobble free!

Today Railway Mag, tomorrow the World!

Much hilarity in the publishing world as Mortons struggles to position its purchase of Railway Magazine.

These bullish words from the Brand Manager Heritage & Lifestyle, contained in an email trumpeting the acquisition:

Mortons Media Group is delighted to announce their purchase of The Railway Magazine, making them the UK’s largest railway publisher.

A bold claim indeed!

But does it stack up to ABC verification?

Railway Magazine – 34k - ABC verified.
Rail Express - Not ABC verified
Heritage Railway - Not ABC verified

Oh dear. Is someone
perhaps talking cojones?

Dispensing with Ian Allan, who also don't go in for ABC verification, who else might want to lay claim to being the UK's largest railway publisher?

Well, as any fule kno, the best selling railway publications are the modelling titles (see Eye passim).

The market leader is Railway Modeller, published by Peco, which has an ABC audited circulation of 44k, ten thousand above that for Railway Mag.

Next in line is Model Rail which has an ABC verified readership of 28k.

Of course if you added Model Rail's readership figure to that of its sister rail titles - RAIL (25k) and Steam Railway (33k) - then Bauer has a combined rail related readership of well over 86,000.

Eye fears that plucky little Rail Express and Heritage Railway would struggle to lay claim to the
53,000 readers needed to topple Bauer from pole position.

No doubt the new owners of the Railway Mag will take this challenge squarely on the chin and soon shell out for ABC audits on both Rail Express and Heritage Railway.

Alternatively, in these austere times, Eye wonders what the future may hold for
such minnows now that the RM shark has entered Morton's pool?

Villiers vignettes - fares increase explained

These sagely words from the Saviour of the Jammy Dodger spoken in the House on the 28th October:

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)
I am well aware of the concerns of users of the Southeastern franchise who have been asked to pay RPI plus three over the past few years. That was linked to investment in rolling stock, and the rest of the country will move on to RPI plus three to even out the perceived inequality from the year after next.

So now you know - the fares increase is to "even out perceived inequality".

Presumably Cruella is also determined to use these inflation busting fares increases to remove a further inequality by ensuring that the rest of the nation also benefits from "investment in rolling stock"?

Don't hold your breath.

With contributions such as this Eye now understands why the 'War On Toner' announcement was left to Theresa May...