Thursday, 23 December 2010

Hitachiballs - Japanese crackers

This from Invicta...

Alistair Dormer, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, in today's Northern Echo, said that the manufacturer had nearly five decades’ experience in building high-speed trains in Japan, where some areas regularly saw severe weather during the winter.

He said: “The Hitachi Class 395, which runs between London St Pancras and the Kent coast, has performed exceptionally well in all weather conditions, on all routes, while other trains have been unable to operate. We have not let passengers down and have continued to deliver a reliable service.

Hmm. Even though only 22 of of the 29 class 395s are diagrammed for weekday service, Ashford Depot has struggled to get a full allocation out, sometimes with at least one cancellation in the morning due to lack of available stock.

And between the peaks 10 of the Class 395s sit around at various locations having a breather...

So getting 40% of your fleet to work all day can't be all that demanding.

Meanwhile, how have the "other trains" managed? Those that according to Mr Dormer "have been unable to operate".

Well, on 22 December SouthEastern's hard working engineers put out 99 out of 112 Class 375 units - that's 88% availability compared with the usual 91%. The shortfall was largely down to units stuck in the snow...

That compares with 76% for the Class 395 fleet on a good day.

Pointless signs - Sealink

Lookalike - Scraping the barrel

This from several Liberal Democrat MPs...

We wonder if Eye readers have noticed the following remarkable similarity?

No. No. And just no!

Pointless signs - Stoke on Trent

ATOC car crash on Radio 4

This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

I suspect many of your readers will have delighted in this morning's media performance by ATOC on the Today programme (2.10 in).

Certainly it is the talk of my former colleagues in Marsham Street.

In the new spirit of constructive dialogue between the Department and the train operators I have been asked to discreetly convey the views of senior officials as to how ATOC might have improved its on-air performance.

With ATOC's core message in mind perhaps it would have been best for all concerned if their own Corporate Affairs Director had not 'got through'.

UPDATE: This from SN Barnes...

With their obvious attention to detail in delivery of rail information it took until the early hours of Thursday morning for ATOC's National Rail site to wake up to the fact that they should be including London Midland services on their Journey Planning database ... whilst London Midland had spent previous 24 hours having to tell punters that NRES had yet to correct their system.

Is this what is meant by 24 hour (and 7 day?) railway - the time it takes to convey information to the passengers?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Loughton...

The Humphrey Beeching story is nonsense - the ATOC guy was given the standard Humphrys beating.

So what?

The DfT today are far more interested in Norman Baker's indiscretions, telling the Telegraph that Villiers gets LibDem policy while Hammond is oddly immune.

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler observes...

Does anyone really care whether 'Villiers gets LibDem policy' if the Sectretary of State remains immune?

If either DafT and/or the LibDems think this is important then they seriously need to retune their political antennae.

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

The Fact Compiler is quite wrong.

The views of the Minister of State for Transport are extremely important to my erstwhile colleagues in the Department.

Why at least once a month she has a one-to-one, lasting almost twenty minutes, with the Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary's Permanent Secretary.

UPDATE: This from Leo Pink...

I fear Mr Loughton may be talking nonsense.

Humphrys could have been pinned back with a few well chosen statistics backing up Robin Gisby's interview of yesterday.

For example, how many trains ran compared with the normal service, how many hundreds of thousands of commuters were got to and from work, etc.

If ATOC could not put someone up with the knowledge and media training to survive the inquisitors of the Today programme then it should have declined the invitation rather than make things worse.

It was hiding behind the sofa embarrassing and an insult to the efforts of railwaymen and women who have battled to keep the railway running.