Monday, 31 October 2011

Bakerisms - On Bustitution

This from Our Norm as retold by The Argus...

The Lewes MP told a national newspaper his delay was increased by the fact that the rail replacement bus service needed replacing.

Quite so minister, quite so.

Railway Garden Competition - York

This from The Albatross...

This magnificent display of a beautiful rockery garden in full flourish on York Platform 11 – untouched my human hands since thousands of pounds was invested in replacing the hated, and simple to maintain, tarmac with the finest B & Q (other DIY stores are available) block paving.

I do hope our visually impaired passengers never have the misfortune to catch a train from the Platform 11 botanical retreat !

Rattle, rattle, jewelry, jewelry... is sadly no more!

Rest in peace, Sir Jimmy.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

ATOC unveils new map of... Less Britain!

This from a Mr Station Throat...

ATOC may be accused of being London centric but their latest oeuvre, a splendid glossy browbeater called "Keeping Britain Moving", is really going some!

On the front cover the Cumbrian Coast is no more, Suffolk is now part of the Thames, whilst Cornwall has sunk without trace (did the seawall at Dawlish finally give way?).

And the poor old Isle of Wight does not even exist!

It's all there to view on ATOC's website, or at least the bits that remain are.

UPDATE: This from Terminus...

This light piece of reading does bear scrutiny, page 4 for example trumpets the delivery of Wifi on Cross Country Trains!

Elsewhere mention is made of XC's new services to Glasgow, neglecting perhaps to mention that these are not additional but merely replace those withdrawn by East Coast.

Another great effort from Messrs Bowtie, Bow-tie and Glasses?

Virgin gets eight month extension

As predicted by Sid Spiv, the DfT's Director of Leaks, Virgin has been awarded an eight month extension to its West Coast franchise.

This from the DfT:

West Coast passengers in line for 28,000 extra seats as franchise extension signed

Passengers using the busy West Coast Main Line are set to benefit from extra carriages and more seats from April next year Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has announced, after the Government signed an extension to Virgin Trains' existing contract to operate services on the line.

Services on the line - which stretches from London to Glasgow serving Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and North Wales - will now be run by Virgin Trains until December 2012. Over the course of the extension three new 600-seat Pendolino trains will be added to the line. This is in addition to the new Pendolino which entered service in July this year. Also, 31 existing Pendolinos will be lengthened from 9 to 11 carriages, increasing the number of standard class seats on each train by almost 50%, from 320 to 470. In all, 106 new carriages are being introduced on the route making 28,000 extra seats available each day, an increase of 25%.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said:

"The West Coast Main Line is one of our busiest and most important rail arteries. Keeping the existing operator in place while these new trains and carriages are introduced should help ensure they are introduced smoothly onto the network so passengers reap the benefits as soon as possible.

"When this extension expires in December 2012, the Government will have completed a competition for a new operator to run services on the line under a new longer style of franchise which gives the operator more incentive to invest and more freedom to innovate and deliver for passengers.

"These extra seats are great news for passengers, but in the longer term, even with these improvements, the route is expected to be full by 2024. This is why we are considering proposals for a high speed rail line between London, the West Midlands, Manchester, Leeds and potentially beyond."

The Department announced its intention to seek an extension to Virgin Trains' existing contract in May 2011. At the same time the Department published details of how the new West Coast franchise that will take over in December 2012 will look, in the form of a draft Invitation To Tender. The new franchise will run from December 2012 to March 2026 with an option for the Department to extend up to 20 months.

The Government is currently considering responses to its consultation on proposals for a new high speed rail network and will announce its decision by the end of the year.

28,000 extra seats? A nice use of Tractor Stats.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Villiers vignettes - Raising the white flag

Good news from Cruella!

Judging by yesterday's written answer it looks as if Marsham Street has experienced a damascene conversion:

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport from which companies the London and South Eastern Railway and its predecessor franchisees have leased rolling stock; how many and what types of rolling stock have been leased; and what the costs of such leasing has been in each year since 1994.

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State Transport; Chipping Barnet)
Information on the numbers and different types of rolling stock leased by train companies, and from whom, is in the public domain. For example, the Rail Guide 2011 produced by Ian Allan Publishing.

Leasing costs are commercially sensitive. Inquiries on this subject should be directed to the rolling stock owners and train operators.

Eye congratulates officials for finally conceding that they know nothing about rolling stock.

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

While delighted by this endorsement by DfT of our annual reference book, could I emphasise that Modern Railways will not accept responsibility for any errors in references to rolling stock made by Transport Ministers in Parliamentary Statements and written answers.

Villiers vignettes - Bite sized chunks edition

Virgin reveals future performance plans

Has Virgin climbed into bed with Mystic Meg?

So it would appear from this poster which cannily reveals how well Virgin will perform next month!

Sadly, despite the benefits of such foresight, next month's performance will still be worse than in November 2010!

UPDATE: This from Virgin Trains...

Hands up, we made a mistake!

The performance poster for the four weeks ending 15th October does contain a misprint, and reference to November in the bar chart should read October.

This has now been corrected and updated posters will be despatched to stations.

UPDATE: This from Mr Tuppence Worth...

I don't know much about these things but what I do know is that a year comprises only 13 4-week periods yet despite the correction of November 2011 to October 2011 there will still be 14 bars for the year.

Still confused.

UPDATE: This from Our International Correspondent...

Actually, counting across from November 2010, the red bar for November is where December 2011 should go.

Thus they are still forecasting November's results, in the slot where December's should go, so two of the other grey bars, or one grey one and the red one are, er, bollox.

I must get out more.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rail Barbie new role revealed - Exclusive

This from the Beeb...

US toy maker Mattel has announced a deal to buy HIT Entertainment, owner of Thomas the Tank Engine and other popular children's brands.

The maker of the Barbie doll, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price toys is buying HIT in a $680m (£420m) cash deal.

Looks like Rail Barbie has got the Fat Controller's job...

UPDATE: This from a Coward...

So that'll be James, Gordon and Henry the... Grey Engines.

Pointless signs - Highbury and Islington

Friday, 21 October 2011

Pointless signs - Euston

This from Marshy...

Sadly a disappointing entry, as it contains some genuinely useful, although slightly worrying, information.

Happily, it has a humorous aspect.

Eye hopes the 'missing' signal safely reverts soonest.

Greening appoints Special Advisers

Guido reporting the following have been appointed as Justine Greening's Special Advisers...

Graham Hook as policy SpAd, he’s the former CCHQ briefer for Question Time. Victoria Crawford from the CCHQ press office will handle the media.

More here.

Pointless signs - Coventry

This from a Mr Contra-Flow...

Greetings from Coventry where our friends at CrossCountry are clearly a little challenged by their Gregorian vs Julian calendars.

"Sunday 31st October" is just so last year!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Holt to leave Directly Operated Railways

This from Rail Barbie...

I wanted to write and let you know personally that I will be stepping down from my position as both Chairman of Directly Operated Railways (DOR) and East Coast Main Line Company (East Coast), at the expiry of my contract term at the end of the year. I shall be taking up a new senior industry role at the beginning of January 2012.

I’ve immensely enjoyed being at the helm of East Coast, it’s a really good business and I’m genuinely sorry to be leaving. We’ve achieved a huge amount in the last two years and we’re just starting to see the benefits of the Company ‘turnaround’. The business still has a number of challenges to overcome – but I’m absolutely convinced we made the right base choices and have established a strong new foundation for our successes to be sustainable. The franchise extension until the end of 2013 will see this task largely completed – with Britain’s flagship train company in much better shape than when we started. I couldn’t have achieved this level of progress without the very strong support from the staff of East Coast, the board, and in particular Karen Boswell, East Coast’s Managing Director.

And so, I’m genuinely regretful of the fact that I won’t now be around to ‘finish the job’. The introduction of a major new timetable and the launch of a new complimentary catering offer in First Class in May 2011, have both been strategically significant and delivered positive results. Passenger numbers have increased by 3 per cent in the last year (2010/11), and East Coast is now one of the best financial performers in the rail industry.

I want to personally thank all our customers and stakeholders for travelling with us, but particularly for your engagement over the last couple of years. I can assure you that your feedback has been pivotal in helping us to drive our determination to, ‘get it right’. I know Karen and her team are passionate about carrying on the good work – and will welcome a continuance of the dialogue in the future.

Following my departure, Michael Holden will become Chairman of East Coast and Doug Sutherland Non Executive Chairman of Directly Operated Railways. Michael and Doug will fulfil these roles on an interim basis until discussions with the Department for Transport on filling these roles permanently are concluded.

- ENDS -

Concern over Greater Anglia announcement

So congratulations to Abellio for winning the Greater Anglia franchise.

Meanwhile Eye understands that there is growing concern within the Department about how the news reached the market.

Sid Spiv, Director of Leaks at the DfT, said "My team has worked extremely hard to ensure that the winner of this franchise was well known before we had to go through all that boring, old, official announcement stuff. Even the Guardian had it two weeks ago for God's sake. Therefore, I find it completely unacceptable that scarce government resources were wasted on making a formal announcement this morning. Mark my words, heads will not roll for this."

A clearly angry Mr Spiv ended by saying "Did I mention that Virgin will get their franchise extension?"

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

DfT Special Advisers - All Change

This from Guido...

Policy wonk Sian Jones has gone with Hammond, and there was talk of Paul Stephenson, Hammond’s media SpAd going across too, but he has gone back to is old opposition boss – Andrew Lansley.

And according to Guido - "Justine Greening at Transport is hiring…"

Pointless signs - Leeds City Station

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: DfT welcomes Greening

Eye hears good things about our new Secretary of State for Transport.

The most frequently used terms are "impressive", "very bright", "on top of her brief" and "showed original thinking".

We shall see.

Meanwhile, Whitehall has been bending over backwards to welcome the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP into the fold.

According to @PaulWaugh:

No doubt this novel way of marking a colleagues 'entrance' was suggested to iDave by his near Cotswold neighbour Rebecca?

No matter.

Not to be outdone the Department for Transport laid on its own unique style of welcome for Greening, as these EXCLUSIVE Eye pictures reveal:

Once inside Great Minster House Justine was afforded a personal audience with the DfT's most senior Mandarin...

Resistance is Futile!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sailing by...

This from Robert Wright of the FT...

As many of you will already be aware and as others will be delighted and relieved to learn, I'm starting a new job.

Instead of covering transport in general for the FT in future, I've been appointed to a new job focusing on shipping and logistics.

My replacement, whom some of you will already have met or spoken to, is Mark Odell.

For those of you who have been helpful to me over the last eight years, I'm very grateful. Please continue to give Mark the same assistance.

For the rest of you, please help Mark in all the ways you didn't help me.

My new job will keep me involved in covering freight transport issues and consequently I will still be covering the freight or logistics arms of some of your operations. Mark will cover all forms of passenger transport all over the world, except aviation.

I will continue to write my Rail Professional column, which may keep me in touch with some of you occasionally. I'm also still open to chairing conferences and so on (within the FT's rules on these matters).

To those of you with whom I'll no longer be in regular contact, it's been mostly a pleasure and farewell.

So farewell to Robert from the railway, unless you are a freighty of course, and welcome to Mark.

Meanwhile, in happier news perhaps we can also wave goodbye to the preposterous soi disant 'veteran observer', Brennan-Brown, whose words of wisdom (sic) regularly peppered FT articles in the past?

Eye firmly hopes so!

UPDATE: This from a Mr Brennan-Brown...

Please stop referring to me as the "soi disant veteran observer"!

I have emailed you repeatedly about this, pointing out that it is neither funny nor...
(sadly, owing to pressure of space, Eye is unable to publish the rest of this email from the soi disant 'veteran observer'. Ed).

UPDATE: This from John...

Your comment that, with the departure of Robert Wright from the FT, Rupert BB may also disappear, seems to be unfounded.

Not 24 hours later an article appeared from newcomer Mark Odell quoting one "Rupert Brennan-Brown, a long-time industry observer".

So its business as usual at the FT!

Lookalike - Annoying men on the Tube

An amusing tale from the Daily Mail...

In a deliciously naff attempt to pretend that he is a common-man the Prime Minister has travelled on the Underground (just the once you understand).

And as if determined to prove that it was a completely alien experience iDave actually spoke, uninvited, to other passengers!

Sadly for the Downing Street spinners the loony eyed PM nearly had his collar felt by the BTP: "
when the baffled woman had to ask her husband who the strange man was enquiring about their child".


Perhaps iDave should have learnt from his role model Mr Tony that these things can go badly wrong...

Message to Downing Street spinners: Get your man to fix the Tube, rather than pose on it.

Lookalike - Electric Mayhem?

Ticket office closures is first test for Greening

Good news for those concerned about proposals to reduce booking office hours and station staffing!

This from the constituency website of the new Transport Secretary...

Justine Greening said:

"These Government-backed plans will seriously inconvenience thousands of Londoners who use these stations every day. To slash opening times by over 200 hours is staggering- and that's just in London .

"Worse still, the serious cuts in weekend and evening services raise real concerns over passenger safety. Rail passengers already face delays and over-crowding, and now the Government is making it harder for them to simply buy a ticket.


Although these wise words were uttered whilst in opposition, it is surely inconceivable that the MP for Putney will change her tune just because she has moved to Marsham Street?

Labour reshuffles Transport team

Amidst all the excitement of Friday's Foxtrot the following from the Labour party may have gone un-noticed:

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP has reorganised the responsibilities of Labour’s front-bench transport team in line with the priorities that emerged from the first year of the party’s policy review.

The shake-up has also enabled a move away from a strict mirroring of the government’s division of Ministerial responsibilities and instead seen the creation of three new cross-cutting briefs covering international, national and regional/local transport.

Ed Miliband MP’s recent reshuffle of Labour’s front-bench saw Lilian Greenwood MP join the transport team as Shadow Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Regional and Local Transport. She joins Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Shadow Minister of State for International Transport and London; John Woodcock MP, Shadow Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Transport; and Pat Glass MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Maria Eagle, with responsibility for young people’s transport.

In addition to these cross-cutting briefs, each member of the frontbench team will take responsibility for the areas of Labour’s transport policy review that have been identified as priorities for the coming year.

Demonstrating the importance that Labour is attaching to the issue, Maria Eagle MP will lead a review into reform of the rail industry. The review will look at all options for reform, with its starting point being that tackling the fragmented structure of the industry is vital to deliver better affordability for both tax-payers and fare-payers. Labour’s policy review has supported the devolution of rail services and the review will look at how best to achieve this, while identifying the right future delivery model for inter-city services.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP will lead a review looking at how we can best deliver the aviation capacity needed for economic competitiveness, while reducing emissions and increasing sustainability. While a third runway at Heathrow has been ruled out by the government, there is a growing consensus that British business is suffering from the decision not to permit aviation growth in the South East. This review will look at how best this can be achieved.

John Woodcock MP will lead a review looking at how transport infrastructure and procurement could contribute to growth and jobs through longer term planning. The review will also look at how investment in different modes, such as road and rail, could be better integrated and jointly planned. In addition, John Woodcock MP will lead a review into how surface transport’s contribution to climate change should be tackled. It will look at what the different roles of government and industry should be.

Lilian Greenwood MP will lead a review into how best to further devolve transport decision making and funding, including local roads and rail services. The review will look at the powers and responsibilities of Integrated Transport Authorities and how these could be extended and rolled out across other parts of England. The review will also seek to identify how best to deliver a reversal of bus deregulation and ensure local communities can deliver bus services in a more effective way that puts passengers first.

Finally, Pat Glass MP will continue the work that has been done over the past year in Labour’s parallel Young People’s Transport Policy Review. In particular, she will lead a review into affordability and accessibility of transport for young people and how to deliver a concessionary fares scheme for 16-18 year olds in education and training.

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP said: Labour has set a new direction for its future transport policy: putting communities in charge, tackling irresponsibility at the top, backing British manufacturing, jobs and growth and making the affordability of transport our number one priority. It’s great to have such a strong parliamentary team to hold this Tory-led government to account and, just as importantly, do the hard work needed to enable us to deliver on our new transport priorities in the future.

So now you know.

UPDATE: This from Banker76...

Two interesting things tucked away here: one the recognition that the railway industry is too fragmented. Two the recognition that bus deregulation has not worked.

Of course, they only had 13 years to do something about both issues when in power, so don’t hold your breath.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Change and decay in all around I see...

With a bowler tip to @respros...

Dear God - it is much, much, much worse than we all thought!

Uber-railway modeller Hornby, normally purveyors of agreeable Kettles and the like, has revealed a disturbing ability to reflect today's zeitgeist, in plastic.


Eye gives you
R9646 - the 'Derelict Farmhouse':

Doomed, I tell you. We are all doomed!

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

I don' think so, surely it's the Regional Eurostar depot in Manchester?

UPDATE: This from the Pictographer Royal...

Will Hornby turn their attention to the modern High Street next and produce models of a row of charity shops and boarded up pubs?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Justine Greening new Transport Secretary

Eye welcomes Justine Greening, our new Transport Secretary.

And waves farewell to Philip Hammond who moves to Defence after 18 months at Marsham Street.

This biog of the new SofS from


Justine Greening was re-elected MP for Putney in May 2010 with a majority of 10,053 votes.

She was elected as the Member of Parliament for Putney in May 2005. In December 2005, she was appointed as a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, with responsibility for youth.

In July 2007, Justine was appointed as a Shadow Minister for the Treasury. In January 2009, Justine was appointed Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government by David Cameron. She was appointed economic secretary in the Treasury after the formation of the coalition.

More here...

Let battle commence!

Hammond goes to Defence?

***Twitter suggesting Hammond to Defence if Liam Fox resigns***

More to follow...

Fox resigned...

Sky suggesting Hammond has Defence...

Hammond to Defence.

New SofS for Transport Justine Greening!


Justine's Experience:

Justine was elected as the Member of Parliament for Putney in May 2005. She has been a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee; in 2007 Justine became a Shadow Treasury Minister, and in 2009 moved to the Communities and Local Government Team and became Shadow Minister for London.

Since the Election in May 2010, Justine has held the position of Economic Secretary to the Treasury within the Coalition Government.

More to follow...

Pointless signs - Charing Cross

This from The Perky Copulator...

"General information - Welcome to London".

Sheer genius.

But at least the ownership of the station is nice and clear.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lookalike - The Beano?

Whelan elected to lead ASLEF

This via ASLEF...

Mick Whelan has been elected as the new General Secretary of ASLEF.

Mick, the organiser for District 6, won a very close election, receiving 3,683 votes, with National Organiser Simon Weller getting 3,458.

Mick succeeds Keith Norman, who has been in post since May 2004.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Villiers vignettes - Sorry the hardest word?

Something to warm the heart of Captain Deltic!

This from Cruella...

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation); Chipping Barnet, Conservative)
I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 58263 on 20 June 2011, Hansard, column 20W, about rolling stock.

The variable track access charges that were contained in the table were incorrect.

The corrected table is reproduced below.


Maintenance Fuel Variable Track Access Charge

When under diesel power 2.74 1.72 0.63
When under electric power 1.78 1.34 ((1)) -
Electric 1.78 1.32 0.57
((1) )Indicates brace.

No shit Sherlock.
Isn't it time that someone in the Department actually fessed up to dissimulation?

TSC gets to the nub of the problem?

This from the Transport Select Committee...

Oral evidence – work of the department for transport

The Transport Committee will be taking oral evidence from the Secretary of State for Transport and the Permanent Secretary on the work of the Department for Transport.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Room 8, House of Commons, 3.30 pm

Department for Transport

  • Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport
  • Lin Homer, Permanent Secretary
Eye wonders if the TSC will find an answer to the question so many in the industry ask:

"Exactly what value does the DfT add?"

DafT shafts Railfreight with longer lorries

This from Rubber Duck...

Ah, breaker one nine this here’s Mike 'Bandit' Penning, Minister for Roads, on a 10-17.

Have all my trucker good buddies got their ears on?

Standby by for a 10-33!

We've got those longer rigs I been promising you. Sure wish we'd had these Widowmakers when I was driving a truck!

Those pesky rail freight folks have been tellin’ me it’s gonna be a knockin’ a two thirds of their business outta the front door.

But I ain't got no ears for railroad folk, I leave that to wooly bear Cruella de Villiers - that's some neat handle.

So you better haul your sorry arse outa my way, I'm going to put the hammer down and set the pedal to me metal!

Mercy snakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy… 1800 trucks in all, all a rollin' across the UK.

What's that you say? My good buddy Pushbike King has changed his handle to Squashed Cyclist?

Oh! Can someone call a meat wagon...

Transport Select Committee for sale?

Oh dear!

Has the Transport Select Committee started offering product placement to generate a couple of extra bob?

The emailed press release below has been overbranded with the logo of motor insurance company Young Marmalade .

No doubt the ROSCOs are planning a similar survey with the TSC to show what great value TOCs consider train leases to be?

German cracks a joke - shocker!

Who says our Teutonic friends don't have a sense of humour?

This from DB's October Press & Trade Newsletter...

British Military train 1945-1990 Tribute on 12 May 2012

21 years ago the curtain came down on one of the most difficult and yet smoothly and consistently delivered trains in the history of European railways.

The British Military Train was born in the wreckage of defeated and broken Germany, and spent its life on the front line of the Cold War. It was operated in a unique and highly politicised partnership between British Army railway operators and the two state railways of the divided Germany. There had been nothing like it before, and it is unthinkable that we will ever see the like of it again. It ran without fuss, with a very British understatement of the political minefield surrounding it.

On 12 May 2012 we acknowledge and celebrate the calm professionalism of railway people, civilian and military, British and German, who did the job, day in day out, without triggering a Third World War.

Amen to that!

Further details about the tribute to the British Military Train can be obtained by emailing:

Monday, 10 October 2011

Eurostar NoL - a gift that keeps on giving

This from today's Independent...

The Department for Transport spent "between £300,000 and £400,000 last year" on mothballed facilities for the aborted Regional Eurostar project that would have provided a direct link between provincial cities and the Continent.

An industry 'cost' that evidently slipped below McNulty's radar.

Perhaps just as well that his Value for Money study didn't delve too deeply into our very own Department for Transfer.

IEP - The saga drags on

This from Howard Wade...

A good question from the Railway Lord.

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fewer bi-mode trains would be required to be built if the services between Paddington and Newbury and Paddington and Oxford were covered by electrical multiple unit trains and all services to the West of England via Newbury, beyond Oxford and those via Cheltenham continued to be life extended High Speed trains.

Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
It is currently envisaged that rolling stock will be deployed as follows:

  • a mixture of electric Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and electric multiple unit trains for services between Paddington and Newbury and Paddington and Oxford;
  • new IEP bi-mode trains for services beyond Oxford, and those running via Cheltenham;
  • and life-extended vehicles from the current high speed train fleet for services to the West of England, via Newbury.
But as for the answer, My Lord Attlee seems to be a chip off the old block.

As Douglas Jay once remarked of his father: 'His capacity for saying nothing was absolutely pre-eminent'.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Secret of Albino's 'winning' GA bid explained!

Much chitter-chatter in the industry over who might have won the Greater Anglia franchise.

Despite the announcement not being due for another two weeks The Grauniad felt confident enough on Tuesday to predict:

Continental Europe's grip on the UK rail industry is likely to extend to the Greater Anglia rail franchise after the Dutch national rail operator emerged as the frontrunner for one of the routes connecting to the 2012 Olympics.

Good news indeed for Abellio!

However, Eye has been struggling to understand how the DfT, normally so careful about water-tight franchise bid processes, had allowed market sensitive information to apparently seep out from Marsham Street.

Happily, Eye can exclusively reveal that this was not the case!

As became clear today via the

Dutch National Railways is introducing emergency plastic bags for passengers to urinate in as part of its first-aid provision on some commuter trains.

Spokesman Jeroen von Geusau told the BBC "When you have to wait three or four hours on a train, then it is quite logical you have some people aboard who need to go to a restroom," he said.

Given recent performance on the Anglia Route only a sadist would think of awarding the franchise to another bidder.

Pointless signs - Doncaster

For younger readers BRUTE stood for British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment which were used to move parcels or mail around stations, when such things were carried by rail.

UPDATE: This from Gordon...

And just visible in the top left-hand corner is the pulley for the draw bridge that was lowered to span the gap between the parcels office and the platform!

Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle - Transport

***Twitter suggesting Maria the Eagle to remain at Transport***

More to follow, although if it is true probably not...

Railtrack - Happy 10th Unbirthday

Telegrammed by Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...
How ironic that the 10th anniversary of one ill thought-out act of Government aggression should overshadow another.

Ten years ago today the government pressured Railtrack into assisted suicide.

Lest we forget, here are some of the players as Whitehall farce turned to Jacobean revenge tragedy:

Stephen Byers, John Robinson, Shriti Vadera, Steve Marshall, Sir Alastair Morton, Dan Corry, Andrew Adonis, David Rowlands, Sir Richard Mottram and not forgetting the cameo appearance in the final scene Tom Winsor.

What a stellar cast! And how mundane today's railway seems without them.

UPDATE: This from Banker76...

Absolutely spot on!

Today’s railway is mundane by comparison. No Southall. No Ladbroke Grove. No Hatfield. No bu88ering up the WCML modernisation (and Leeds station rebuilding).

How tame it all is...

UPDATE: This from Theydon Bois...

Here in Edinburgh we continue to bu88er up an otherwise perfectly good tram scheme to an extent rarely seen before in project management (excluding the the building of the Scottish Parliament, obviously).

Okay - it's not really Railtrack or the railway's fault, but still pretty impressive.

Oh, yes, and while I'm at it, I was very disappointed at the closure of the 'Who should chair NR?' vote.

I only got 'round to voting three times when it suddenly ended, leaving me with no social life at all.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Shoveller moves back to his routes

So. Multimillionaire Sir Brian Souter has decided to shuffle his pack.

The former Perth clippy has chosen a former Guildford guard to run one of the UK's highest profile franchises during HMQ's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.


Tim Shoveller, currently MD of sister franchise EMT, will take up the reins at SWT on the 2nd January 2012 - evidently Stagecoach know how to party.

Meanwhile, in an elegant piece of succession planning, David Horne, EMT's Commercial Director, steps up to the MD's role.

The Former Clippy said:

I am delighted Tim and David will be leading the teams at South West Trains and East Midlands Trains. They are both amongst the very best managers in the UK rail industry and these appointments show the depth of management talent we have right across our businesses.

Eye cannot resist: Ooh! Mr Horne. Bona!

UPDATE: This from Sinoda...

Reference Eye's quip "Ooh Mr. Horne - Bona"!

Something tells me that despite Julian and Sandy being great big butch 'omies, 'the former Perth clippy' might not have been a fan.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Derbygate - DafT waves the white flag?

Exciting news for fans of Open Government!

Here the details from the August edition of the Department for Transport's Structural Reform Plan Monthly Implementation Update.

But what's this?

Despite the Department for Transfer giving a date for completing commercial arrangements on the IEP fleet, not a word on achieving the same for Thameslink!

As items 2.3 (II) and 2.3 (IV) appear to have been redacted perhaps the date for commercially closing the export of thousands of British jobs is now officially an Euro-state secret?

Either that or Paper-knife has finally acknowledged that there is no point giving a date for something that guarantees electoral suicide.

Stand by your beds! NR appoints CO to CR

The new improved Network Rail appears to be enthusiastically embracing the railway traditions of the past!

A past that stretches back to the earliest days of the railway when military men, used to commanding complex real-time organisations, were considered perfect for senior posts on an equally complex railway.

Within living memory Bill Slim, fresh from his triumphs in Burma was a founder member of the Railway Executive in 1948 and General Sir Brian Roberston GBE, KCMG, KCVO, DSO, MC was appointed Chairman of the British Transport commission in 1953.

More recently of course the Railway Forum, which represented the then newly privatised industry, was led from the front by Major General Adrian Lyons CBE during the challenges of Great Heck and Hatfield.

Therefore, Eye notes with approval that NR's newly appointed Programme Director for Crossrail is one Jorge Mendonca, late Commanding Officer of The Queen's Lancashire Regiment, who was awarded both the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

With Crossrail being overseen by the excitable Mayor of London it is good to see that Network Rail will treat the project with a firm military hand.

Meanwhile Eye respectfully suggests that the correct mindset for the new task could be the unofficial motto of the Royal Tank Regiment, in which that greatest of all BR Chairman Sir Robert Reid served:

'From mud, through blood to the green fields beyond!'

UPDATE: This from Ivor the Engine, Banker76 and others...

Might we remind Eye...

UPDATE: This from The Major, in curmudgeonly mode...

At risk of sounding pedantic Col Jorge commanded the 1st Battalion of the QLR rather than the whole regiment.

And when it comes to mottoes, I respectively suggest that a better one for NR is:

'Per Ardua Ad £sd'...

Another UK success story sold overseas

Air traffic controllers in the East Midlands are on a state of high alert following reports that a large number of wheel barrows are circling Derby.

Apparently the wheel barrows, which observers say are plated in gold, are converging on the Pride Park area of the city, near to the offices of Interfleet Technology.

Interfleet was created in 1994 following the management buy-out of BR's former InterCity Fleet Engineering.

This from Canadian Company SNC-Lavalin...

SNC-Lavalin (TSX: SNC) is pleased to announce that it has acquired Interfleet Technology, an international rail technology consultancy group headquartered in Derby, United Kingdom.

Interfleet specializes in rolling stock, railway systems, and strategic railway management and is well-known for its detailed understanding of both national rail systems and international best-practice.

A source close to Interfleet said "Whoopee!"