Monday, 10 January 2011

Mediaballs - ASLEF to disrupt Royal Wedding?

Lots of chatter today claiming that ASLEF members on LUL will withdraw their labour on the day Kate and Wills get wed.

Absolutely disgraceful!

Because it isn't true.

This from ASLEF's website:

ASLEF’s General Secretary Keith Norman said today that the question of possible industrial action on the day of the Royal Wedding has not even been discussed by the union’s executive.

The union’s London officer Steve Grant stressed that no ballot had been held and the union and the management were due to resume negotiations about compensation for all Bank Holiday working by London Underground tube drivers.

The story is premature to say the least,’ Keith added

Remember - never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Mediaballs - SWT an absolute shower?

This from The Times today...

With a bowler tip to our Independent Expert.

Fares Fair supporters part of the problem

So. The Campaign for Better Transport's 'Fares Fair' campaigners have been busy in Brighton today.

What jolly japes!

Over at the Fares Fair website is a statement of what the campaign hopes to achieve:

Fair Fares Now is calling for:

  • Affordable prices, including peak times and turn-up-and-go tickets
  • Reliable services that aren’t overcrowded
  • Straightforward tickets that make train travel simple
Fair enough.

So who has Stephen Joseph and co managed to sign up as supporters of this exciting new campaign?

Why it's the usual rent a crowd of Rail Future, Friends of the Earth, Sustrans (sic), Transport for All, the TUC and the RMT.

Could this be the same RMT that managed to secure an inflation busting 5.2% pay increase for its SWT members in October and which has just rejected the same pay offer for its Network Rail members?

It surely is!

That's the way to drive down rail fares !

UPDATE:This from The Velopodist...

I'm not quite sure who the masked person picking the pocket in your picture from Brighton station is meant to be.

But it looks a little as if he's a stockbroker or other wealthy person from the south-east picking the pocket of an ordinary taxpayer.

Which, appropriately, is precisely the situation that will obtain as long as 50 per cent of the cost of every rail journey comes from public subsidy, rather than passengers paying for their own trips.

But maybe that wasn't the message Stephen Joseph and friends wanted to convey.

UPDATE: This from Bob (no not that one)...

I take exception with your point that the RMT secured a 5.2% increase for us in SWT at the end of last year, this pay increase was agreed 2 years ago as part of a 2 year deal with the second payment being 1%+RPI or 1.5% whichever was the greatest.

Unluckily for SWT the RPI in August was 4.2% but it could easily have gone the other way.

There was then a ballot as to whether we should take a reduction in hours instead of the full amount, but this was rejected, (we still work 42 hours in the guard grade) as most of us had already realised that the cost of living was going to be dearer, and with the rise in prices, transport (yes some of us have to pay to get to work), and VAT (and don't get me started on that subject - some shops have increased prices by 20% instead of 2.5%), we have been proved right.

And finally NO I am not an activist just a normal elderly person trying to manage for his last year of working in the railway industry.

Pointless signs - LUL misses the point

This from @AMonkster, via Twitter...

A year ago this poster would have qualified as a "Pointless Sign"

Alas no more.

70012 - Crash, bang, wallop....

Good news from Freightliner!

Apparently when unloading Ugly Sister number 12 the lifting equipment failed and the locomotive dropped back into the ship's hold.

Perhaps this one should be named Freightliner Banana?

UPDATE: This from The Cynic...

I notice Eye's suggestion that 70012 should be named ‘Freightliner Banana’.

However, I would suggest that in order to keep with the naming convention of the only named class member so far (70001 ‘PowerHaul’) perhaps ‘PowerFall’ would be more suitable?

FOI - Sauce for the goose but not for the gander!

This from the Press Gazette...

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has asked why Network Rail and nationalised bank Northern Rock aren’t among the new bodies set to be covered by an extended Freedom of Information Act.

An excellent idea and one that apparently finds favour with the Department.

Making Network Rail subject to FOI requests would not only make the infrastructure controller more transparent but would also deliver significant benefits to passengers.

Not least by breaking ATOC's monopoly on the provision of real time information, allowing independent re-publishers to provide rail users with free updates on how their trains are running.

ATOC currently charges developers for access to real time running information (the data for which is freely supplied by Network Rail) ensuring that disrupted passengers have to pay to be told that their train is not running the advertised service!

Whilst ATOC is busy 'monetising' its members failures a different approach has been adopted by Transport for London.

TfL offers Tube running data to the developer community at no charge, resulting in a range of free passenger information applications being made available across both handheld devices & the web.

Of course whilst the Government makes soothing noises about public scrutiny of Network Rail our very own Petrol-head Hammond appears to consider himself above such tedious legal requirements.

Eye understands that Control-freak Phil has been sitting on a number of FOI requests well beyond the statutory 20 working days.

How embarressing to have the Information Commissioner knocking on your door as you lambast others for a lack of transparency and accountability.

UPDATE: This from A Retired IT Person...

Why would the independent re-publishers provide anyone with free updates?

They might if they could monetarise the service another way.

Surely you're not confusing Freedom of Information with Free Information?

NR freely supply the data to ATOC, but ATOC and/or the TOCs pay for NR's train systems as part of the Computer Service Agreement.

Within that bundle, certain bits may even be branded as supplied free, but it's in the context of a large payment.