Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Petrol-head Rail Expenditure Handicap - Latest Prices

Eye's Course Correspondent reports the going for tomorrow's big event as 'Rough to dodgy'.

Runners and riders
Cockney Link - 4/7 (Fav)
Western Voltage - 3-1 (may be pulled up short)
Juniper's Revenge 5-1
Northern Capacity 100-1 (outsider)
HLOS Commitment 75-1
Kipling's Folly 3-1
Tutu X 3-1
Permatan Fleet 34-1
Sheffield Juice - Scratched

There may yet be a late showing for Legal Eagle at 1-2 on...

Trainy speakibold - Villiers vignetitude

This written answer given by Cruella on the 23 November...

Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints he received on the way in which (a) East Coast Mainline, (b) Grand Central, (c) Northern Rail, and (d) Transpennine Express communicate with their customers in the latest period for which figures are available.

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)
For the most recent quarterly period the Department for Transport has received six complaints concerning East Coast Mainline, nil for Grand Central, five for Northern Rail and one for Transpennine Express, about the way in which the operators commutate with their customers

Commutate? Commutate!

Prof Unwin comments: Deep joy as Villipede commutate so chloroform. Trebley and Jammy Dodgybic all round.

601 days since the last new train order

This from Captain Deltic...

So busy proof reading Rail Business Intelligence that I overlooked that yesterday was the 600th day without a new train order. (Eye doesn't normally allow such blatant plugs, but just this once. Ed)

But luckily I remembered just now as I was assembling the trophies for this Friday's Golden Spanner Awa... (Oi! I've warned you Deltic, you're barred! Ed)

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

Is it not odd that those local representatives pressing for more capacity haven't latched onto the good Captain's latest ticking time bomb and used it to their own ends?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Perhaps tomorrow's announcement by the Secretary of State will address this problem?

Oh no, now I remember.

Mr Hammond is due to announce the wrong train that nobody actually wants.

Apart that is from Mr Kipling, obviously.

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

But any order won't count until the contract has been signed, not to mention the protests from other manufacturers being heard in court.

So, no change tomorrow, I suspect.

ATOC fares spin unspun - again?

Last year ATOC decided that it would only announce a headline figure for the January 2010 fares increases.

Regular readers may recollect that this transparent approach went down well with hacks... in the manner of the Titanic.

Clearly unabashed ATOC has adopted exactly the same policy this year,

So how did it go?

Daily Telegraph: Corporate spinners at the Association of Train Operating Companies have adopted a strategy which is, to put it mildly, economical with the truth.

Financial Times
: The Association of Train Operating Companies has declined to give a detailed breakdown of figures for different operators since 2008, and so the figure is likely to mask considerable local variations in fare increases.

Daily Mail: Labour MP Louise Ellman, who chairs the parliamentary transport select committee, criticised the companies’ ‘failure to disclose’ the true increases.

Evening Standard: Rail bosses were today accused of deliberately trying to hide fare increases of more than 10 per cent.

The Scotsman
: News of the increases yesterday was accompanied by anger from rail watchdogs that passengers will be unable to find out how much individual tickets will rise until at least Sunday.

Channel 4 News
: [ATOC]... gave no details of what the rise would be for each individual train company, nor did it break down the figures into regulated fares - which include season tickets and account for around 40 per cent of all fares - and unregulated fares.

Yorkshire Post: The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) attempted to put a gloss on the figures by confining itself to an announcement that average fares would rise 6.2 per cent

Metro: The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) failed to break down the figures into regulated fares - which include season tickets and account for around 40% of all fares - and unregulated fares, and gave no details of what the rise would be for each individual train company.

ITN: Atoc's lack of information was criticised by the RMT and by rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus which said passengers "deserved to know how much they will have to bear in January".

So that went well then!

Of course Eye feels for individual TOC press officers who felt the full fury of annoyed hacks.

No matter.

Presumably ATOC hopes it will have the media hordes fully trained by next year.

Any bets on third time lucky?

UPDATE: This from a Hacked-off Hack...

Once again I'm astonished at ATOC's cowardice.

They say the present government is sticking to the previous administration's policy to cut the public sector's contribution to running the railways. But that's straightforwardly untrue.

In the CSR, the government announced average fare increases would be RPI + 3 per cent for three years from next year. That's a much more aggressive effort to claw back money from farepayers than was scheduled under Labour.

The policy isn't necessarily wrong - but why do ATOC have to mislead on the government's behalf?

UPDATE: This from Our International Correspondent

None of the transport hacks have understood.

The fares increase is essential to pay for improvements to train services...

Mostly those of Irish Rail.

UPDATE: This from Lobby Fodder...

Philip Hammond, at the Transport Select Committee, has just said that he would like ATOC to be more 'transparent' with fares announcements.

Bernard Street. This is Bernard Street. All change!